Friday, January 30, 2009

Week 12 tummy

It's not all that impressive, I realize.

But it is a lot bigger than it used to be. Plus my baby is only somewhere between the size of a lime and a lemon.

Apparently at 12 weeks, it should be a lime. I'm making up the lemon part. I'm not sure what they're going to give me next.

If you've never read a baby book or looked at one of those sites, you do not know that as soon as it's bigger than a pin prick, or an angel kiss, or whatever it starts out as, they start comparing it to fruit. I think the first one might have been raisin or cranberry.

I've signed up for these weekly email updates. They're informative, and the fruit amuses me.

"This week, your little darling is the size of a grape!"

"This week, your baby is the size of a prune (although decidedly less wrinkled)!"

I'm not kidding you. I'm quoting almost verbatim, especially the cheesy "less wrinkled!" part. Last week it was a kumquat. This week a lime.

I must admit to curiosity about the fruit of choice and just how big they go. I'm going to doubt it's ever a weird, exotic one like chirimoya, or an awkward shape like starfruit.

But back to my little lime.

The sonogram person yesterday said it was measuring almost a full week bigger than 12 weeks. They said this is fine, in that you don't really know when you conceived, they just go by your last period.

I pointed at Nick. "Do you think it could have anything to do with my husband's size?"

They stifled laughter and replied that yes, genetics can play a role.

I didn't mean it jokingly.

One of my huge concerns is that this baby is going to turn out to be half as big as me. In fact, size concerns are as follows:

That by month seven he or she (and if it's that enormous, I am hoping for a he) will have squished my lungs, heart, and in fact all my organs up into my throat trying to get comfy. And remember the part in Alien just before the alien bursts out of that guy's stomach? That will be me. And! And by the time my kid is fully cooked, he's not going to wait to be delivered, he's just going to reach a huge hand through my hoo-ha and pull himself out.

And then he'll demand a roast beef sandwich.

You know I'm not kidding.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The battle of the beard. Or, Chedo redux.

I am not entirely sure why he's posing like this. Really, I just wanted to document the beard.The beard, it kind of snuck up on me. I think it makes Nick look like a big scary man who sleeps under a bridge.
Don't be deceived by the disarming smile.

I've taken to calling him Chedo.

I married a clean-shaven man. It is a look I love. I think this is why I wound up on so many dates with uptight conservative men and Republicans in general.

Because although I wanted someone with a liberal outlook, I like the freshly scrubbed, unimaginative, khakis and button down or super conservative suit and tie, I-live-in-Virginia-and-vote-Red-look. I love men who have to wear suits to work.

Sad, but true.

And then, then I met Nick, who looks all conservative (with maybe one grand and glittery exception) on the outside but is extremely liberal.

Nick often doesn't shave on weekends, but by Monday morning he's all shiny and bald-faced again. But there was that long weekend where we had MLK Day off, and then the inauguration. Nick worked both days, but from home. I was in the city with friends Monday and Tuesday, so by the time I saw him Tuesday night, he had all this beard business going on.

It's now been close to two weeks. He's really enjoying it. And he wants me to like it.

He comes home and says things like, "I ran into someone else in my building who thinks I look really distinguished."

I roll my eyes. "OK, Chedo."

And you know, sometimes I try to be manipulative, but I never pull it off. I'm too transparent. We were driving in to work, stopped at a light, and Nick caught me examining his beard critically.

"You'll grow to love it."

"You know, I bet if Chedo Lino's wife really wanted him to shave his beard, he would."

"Lisa. Chedo Lino is not only not an actual person, but he's not even correct song lyrics."

The beard, so far, it stays.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I am just about over Edward Cullen

Even if he does sparkle like a million rainbows in the sunshine, which I kind of love.

As you know, I was thoroughly and deeply invested in the teenage vampire angst. I loved Edward and his repeatedly-adjectivized alabaster skin and topaz eyes. I loved how in love he and Bella were.

I mean, they still are. I just finished book three.

But the truth is, somewhere in the third book, I found myself rooting for Jacob. I got all, oh, Edward is just so fucking complicated.

I'm sick of his eternal internal struggle. I'm tired of his preoccupation with saving Bella's soul. I'm all kinds of weary of his insistence on marrying her right out of high school before he's willing to vampire her. And his struggle against the sex.

Whereas Jacob I find so refreshing. He's all sunshiney and positive and sweet and loving. And, and! He's 108 degrees! How deliciously warm would that be?

I haven't seen the movie, and so the characters in my head are still as I visualize them. And I now realize I'm imposing my own dating experience on the characters in these books, and that kind of mortifies me. But I cannot seem to figure out how not to.

Jacob, in my mind, he is this guy I briefly dated a couple years ago. Latino, whereas Jacob is Native American, but enormous, muscular, brown, and gorgeous. Super smart, and a really nice person. And man, hot. Just hot.

A sucky person for me to date, which I could blame on his ex-wife, or his unstable childhood. Both of which, of course, I would've thrown myself into making up for, because this was before I came to the realization that that strategy is pure stupid.

But I'm pretty sure that for his ex-wife, he was adoring and devoted and worshipful, in the same way Jacob is with Bella. He loved her so much. And his ex-wife, she made it very clear that she was settling when she married him, and eventually she cheated on him and divorced him.

So by the time we met, he was thoroughly untrusting (non-trusting? trustless?), and was doing a lot of playing and a lot of not-committing. Which just didn't work for me. But I still think he's a good person.

Come to think of it, he'd make an excellent werewolf, I'm quite sure.

Edward, on the other hand, Edward is all the enormously complicated, control freak, uptight men I have ever dated, but one in particular, rolled into one. I understand the magnetic pull. I get the visceral reaction and the body sparkles. I know the breathless red-hots can't-live-without feeling.

But still, I've begun to find him exhausting and slightly tedious.

I want to be like, "Oh, Bella, you'll grow up and you'll tire of this. I know it feels all urgent now, but you're 18, ferchrissakes. And, even if you don't get sick of him, you should at least sleep with Jacob once - at least once! - before you commit yourself forever and ever to this one man and a life of eternal vampiredom."

So clearly, I am still way too invested.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The lovely and talented Lemmonex interviewed me a couple days ago. Because when I saw the interview game on her blog, it looked like fun. And so easy! I mean, all you had to type was, "interview me." Who could resist?

There are rules at the bottom if you'd like to be interviewed.

So, the questions.

1. OK, seriously...what do you miss most since learning you learned you are pregnant? Booze? Sushi? Brie? Be honest.

I miss different things in different moments - but when I miss them, I ache for them as I would for a glass of water while dying of thirst in the Gobi desert.

I miss sushi terribly. I would almost kill for a spicy tuna roll. The other night I was on the verge of tears when several of my dining companions had tuna sashimi and I had a tossed salad. I was crushed. It's not rational, but it's true.
There are other days where a glass of red wine seems like it could make my week. I could have a little tiny bit, I'm sure. But I don't want a wee bit. I want like five glasses. I don't want moderation right now.

And so I have none.

And I miss the crap out of smoked salmon. I don't want to heat it hot to make it safe before I eat it.

One thing I've not stopped is coffee. I have a cup every morning and it makes my day a hell of a lot better. This might not be the best rationale, nor is it PC, but I decided that if crack whores can carry babies anywhere near term, I ought to be able to have a fucking cup of coffee.


2. What do you like best about your relationship with Nick?

Best is hard. But somewhere in the best mix would be how easy, how even, and how drama-free our relationship is. I think he gets almost all the credit for this, particularly right now.

We have fights, and we exchange really harsh words sometimes. But there is no crazy up and down, no game playing, no bullshit. We always make it clear that we still love each other, no matter how maddening the other person might be at the time.

From the first moment, he was really straightforward about how much he wanted me in his life. And when I get all spun up in my own drama, he doesn't get caught up in it. And he only lets it get so far.

It's a completely different dynamic for me, and I so appreciate it.

3. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Personality-wise: I would be more even-keeled, less prone to depressive dips and existential crises.

Physically: I would not have asthma. It's currently completely under control. But I wish I never had to think about breathing.

4. The thing you are most looking forward to about motherhood?

I had to think hard. And then my answer made me feel like a bad person.

I'm probably most looking forward to reading to (and eventually with) and doing fun little projects with my kid. I'm excited about the talking - and listening to how he or she acquires language. But truthfully, I know there are a lot of years before that happens.

You see, I have never been a baby person. I like particular kids a lot, but babies are not so much my thing. Even the ones I love, I am always happy to hand back. And yes, I am dead sure I'll love the shit out of my own baby, and I know there are a lot of baby years ahead of me...

5. Licorice--red or black?
Black! Salty black licorice is one of my favorite things on this planet. And I think the last time I had great licorice was years ago, in Germany. They have these licorice cats, and cat paws (which somehow cracks me up, eating little kitty cat paws - aren't they cute?). Super yum.

If there is somewhere in DC to buy delicious licorice, I'd love to know.

If you’d like to play along, just follow these instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. Be sure you link back to the original post.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Monday, January 26, 2009

So, really, it turns out I'm a revolving door of pink is the new black

Today's topic is one that many people would not discuss in such a public forum. And I'd like to make it clear that I am writing about it precisely because I find it anxiety-inducing. Not because I take it lightly.


I spent a good chunk of the past month Googling Down syndrome. And other things I'd never heard of before, such as Trisomy 13 and 18. There is a lot of frightening information out there, and you can get yourself 54 kinds of worked up. Or more.

Because, I don't know if you know this - I didn't - but advanced maternal age begins after 35.

Advanced maternal age. It sounds old and scary. The image I get is of a grey haired, pursed-lipped, stern, non-child-friendly librarian. I don't know why.

I thought about my age as a factor in getting or not getting knocked up. But I didn't really think beyond that.

And then to my vast surprise, I got pregnant quite fast, and went in to the doctor. At which point I immediately learned a lot about my advanced maternal age. You are given all this information about different tests for different things that could be wrong.

Because of your advanced maternal age.

Nobody is pushing you to have these tests. But you're eligible for all of them. Because your eggs, they've been sitting around for a while. Which means there is a greater chance of a genetic abnormality. And they have had more time to accumulate more environmental damage and such.

Your odds of having a baby with Down syndrome, while 1 in 1,250 at age 25, increases to 1 in 100 by age 40.

Dramatic, no?

So, being me, and being slightly obsessive sometimes or usually, and being an enormous fretty-pants, I Googled relentlessly. The advanced maternal age. The statistics. Screening tests. The percentage of false positives. The percentage risk associated with different diagnostic tests.

And so on.

This, as you might imagine, became my topic of choice. You should feel lucky I was keeping this a secret for a while. Anxiety level? Very high.

As with most things, I churned myself into practical hysteria. I obsessed. Endlessly. And then I worked through it. It's not resolved, but I've fretted about this as much as I physically can. Somehow, I needed to go through that to come out the other side.

I can say this now.

You don't necessarily think about your behavior around things like this while you're doing it, because, well, you're just living forward. Being yourself.

And then, one day, you might be sharing all you've gleaned from exhaustive searches with a close friend. And something happens to make you realize that perhaps, just perhaps, you have gone over the top with all of it. As you are wont to do.

The moment of realization? When your husband gently puts his hand on the friend's arm, leans forward in a confidential manner, and says the following.

"Basically, Downs is the new rabies."

And the friend, she nods knowingly.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Listen, writing about this makes me feel less guilty about the spend spend spending. Which maybe makes this like a confession booth?

January has been a spendy month for me.

Partly this can be attributed to the winter grims. I hate the cold, I hate the dark, and I need a little something cute to perk me up. Or many little something cuteses.

For that reason, and that reason alone, I bought two dresses - one black and bias-cut and one brown and empire waisted - at Proper Topper earlier this month. Both on sale and both expansion-friendly. But neither cheap.

But utterly necessary. You understand.

Right after starting to post about the preg, I went on an online maternity spree. I ordered, at the suggestion of several readers, a bunch of maternity stuff from Target. All of it was cheap, and cute, and comfy-looking. And I ordered enough to qualify for the $50 free shipping! So really, I was saving with quantity!

However, while it technically counts as already shipped, in that USPS has received the request, it has an expected delivery date of January 29-March 6. What the fuck are they doing with it in the meantime? And what kind of that is a time span for shipping in the same goddamn country?

Anyway. The next day, Betty and I headed over to TJ Maxx, one of my favorite places on this earth. I bought a ton of cutie cute little (not so little) empire-waisty things - all, alas, for when it gets warmer, except for a pair of super comf black yoga pants.

When it gets warmer, though, I am going to be all empire waisted and cute. I've decided. And spent.

And then, then I got a sale email from REI. I typed in "maternity" and they had a couple Prana pants and tops that looked cute. So I Googled, found them cheaper at a place called Altrec (the sportier among us may know it already; I didn't) and promptly ordered. They should arrive in a couple weeks.

And then then (thenly!?) the beautiful and fabulous Tori swooped into town for the inauguration. In the cutest sweater ev-ver - dark blue with a red Chinese dragon on the side. She'd just ordered it from Bluefly. I promptly jumped online. Even though we were at a party and I had to borrow Sam's computer. Sometimes shopping desperation is like that.

It just arrived. Black with a blue dragon. I can wear it for like, 15 more minutes. But I love it so. Maybe it will change my life in those 15 minutes?

Not only that, but strolling around the next day we both bought Obama shirts. Cute, screen-printed ones that say, "Obama. That's my DJ!"

Also utterly necessary.

But now, I just have to sit on my hands the next time temptation strikes. Except that I need a new pair of jeans. And bigger warm pants.

Maybe those will be my only February purchases. Please hold me to it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The limits of one's patience

Nick has been extraordinarily patient with me and the pregnant whining and the trying to figure out what I might like to eat for dinner when things like chicken gross me out.

Not to mention with all the weight gain anxiety.

I know it's obsessive behavior, and I still don't weigh myself, but I do an ass check almost daily. First naked and then in clothes, to make sure I'm not exaggerating about how much it's growing.

I poke the extra flesh and I'm all, "Look! Ugh. Would you look at this?"

And he's all sweet and complimentary. And he says, completely convincingly, that he likes the extra curves. But I find it all kind of traumatizing.

So I realized yesterday that even his patience has limits. You see, we are having dinner tomorrow night with several of Nick's colleagues and their spouses.

And I don't really want to go, even though I like them all very much. I was trying to get out of it.

"Do you really want me to go?"

"Sweetie, you'll have fun."

"My brain stops working after eight. And then I have to go to sleep."

"Lis, they like you. They all have kids. They know what you're dealing with."

"I might hate the food."

"There'll be something you can eat."

And then I realize, fuck, I'm going to have to dress up. On jeans-on-Friday day. And beyond the no jeans, I hate dressing up when I feel relentlessly ugly in everything. Which is now the case. And is in fact the biggest issue in my out-for-dinner reluctance.

"And! Nick! And! What am I going to wear? I have to look nice. What do you propose I squeeze my fat ass into?"

"Honey, you can still squeeze your fat ass into lots of things."

Limit hit.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I cannot believe I am admitting this

After reading my post with all those extraordinary and delightful book recommendations, my friend Marta immediately handed me the first two books in that crack-like Twilight vampire series.

I read Twilight in a night, snuggled in bed with a pint of frozen yogurt. Both were delicious. I was almost equally invested in both. Almost.

I then went on to devour New Moon, which I liked less, but which I understand sets you up well for the third and fourth. Which I cannot wait to read.

And it bothers me. Because I think I should be smarter than this.

The Harry Potter books, they were so well written, and there were all these cool references to clever things. Rowling's character, place, and object names were excellent. Her imagination is fabulous. Her descriptions vivid.

And the Twilight books? Not so much.

The author, she is not a great writer. She's not overly creative. She repeats adjectives.

And yet, I love these books. And I have to face the fact that I'm all kinds of invested in teenage high school angst. Or rather, teenage high school vampire angst.

I will say that I got fairly annoyed in the second book with all the "I love you but I'm not worthy. I don't deserve you." "No, I love you and I'm the one who isn't worthy. I don't deserve you more."

Stupid. But didn't stop me. Even through this, I can't wait to read the next one.

And I am all, oh, dude, just vampire her already! And then you can get it on. Because you cannot make me believe that you are seriously going to go through all four or five or whatever of these fucking books with nothing but declarations of intense, angsty love, and constant internal struggle and occasional passionate kisses and holding of ice cold hands?

And then I think, seriously, Lis? This is the part you're finding unrealistic about these little tales?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And the cold does worse things to some of us than others

I was on the Mall for the swearing in. Because while I am a delicate flower, and loathe the cold more than just about anything, I couldn't bear the idea of not being in the middle of things.

There's no need to go through any of it with you; you saw it first-hand or on TV, and if the latter, had a much more comprehensive view than I did.

So, let's be clear. I am so glad I went. It was exciting. It was incredible to witness, and it felt amazing to be in a crowd so jubilant, so positive. I have no regrets about going.

Also, I got so cold I couldn't wait to leave.

To prepare for the hours in the freezy freezingness, I started with an undershirt. Then a long sleeve shirt, a wool turtleneck, and a fleece jacket. I then wrapped a thick, thick wool scarf around my neck, and then squeezed into my heaviest coat and warmest hat.

I could barely get into the coat, I had so many layers underneath. My arms stuck out a little on the sides.

My weak point was my feet. I had knee-high wool socks and my Dansko clogs - good for all the walking, but no match for hours of standing on the brutally cold ground.

One of the things I learned about myself today is that much like opera, I like outdoor winter events - even momentous, once-in-a-lifetime ones - better in theory than in practice.

At a certain point, I stopped being able to feel my feet. And that point was a good half hour before the swearing in began. And a good couple hours before we got back to my friend's house. And once I reached that point, my feet were almost all I could think of.

My feet, my fucking freezing feet. I bet I have frostbite. How long before there's permanent damage?

I started thinking about that depressing Jack London story, To Build a Fire. The cold creeps up, and you can't get your fire started, and then you fall asleep and die. Your dog even leaves you, if I recall correctly.

So anyway. We walked and walked, stood and stood, and cheered and clapped, and then walked and walked. And after a brief stop at my friend's house to warm up, I headed back into the cold to metro out to Virginia.

As soon as I got home, I stuck my feet as close to the fire as possible. Once I get all bone cold, it takes hours to get unfrozen.

Nick said my feet got so cold because all my blood was rushing to my core to keep it warm. He said my feet were probably extra cold because all your blood leaves your extremities.

He said that when his feet get really cold, he pees a lot.

"You mean," I said, "you just stand there and pee all over them to warm them up?"

This was a strategy that had never occurred to me. Messy, but probably effective. . .

He didn't even respond, just gave me that head cocked, oh no, sweetheart, no, you feeble thing, kind of look.

I wonder if your brain counts as an extremity?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Big Ole Chedo Lino

So you know how you can hear the lyrics of a song wrong?

And then, even after you know the right lyrics, even after learning that your version is completely inane, you still have a hard time letting go of it? That's just how it is, and that's that?

Or maybe this doesn't happen to you.

See, last night Nick said I'd ruined this one particular song for him for good. This song by the Steve Miller Band, called Jet Air Liner. Big old jet airliner, don't carry me too far away. Big old jet airliner, 'cause it's here that I've got to stay.

Or, in my world, the Big Ole Chedo Lino song.

You know, Big Ole Chedo Lino, don't carry me too far away. Big Ole Chedo Lino...

It's a song I think I heard for the first time in high school. And probably didn't learn the correct lyrics until at least a decade later. It was most likely Maude who corrected me, since there are so few people I sing with.

Chedo Lino, in my mind, was roughly the size of Paul Bunyan. Enormous. Not dangerous, just enormous. Fully capable of carrying you too far away. He'd probably carry you back to Bemidji, in fact.

See, I grew up spending my summers in Minnesota and North Dakota. Driving past gigantor Paul Bunyan and his trusty Babe the Blue Ox. Chedo Lino, for me, he wasn't such a stretch.

I'm not saying I'm propagating this version. It's more that it's very hard to let go.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The kind of moments that make me believe that there must be a higher power in the universe

Tuesday night I got to Nick's office and he handed me a letter from England. It was from a friend who had come across some old photos and thought he might like them.

There were several of Nick. In one, he had on this form-fitting, sleeveless, spandex outfit. Which turned out to be a rowing uniform.

Apparently that they have to be tight tight tight and all one piece so that you don't have any extra fabric on which to catch your fingers or oar while you're racing.

Before I could make fun of the spandex, I was all, "You were so hot! You never told me you were so hot! And can you look like this again?"

This was, you see, about a decade and a number of pounds ago. It's not that he's not cute now, and it's not that I don't love him in his entirety. But, goodness.

So ten years ago, Nick packed up his life in Alabama and moved to England for a year. Officially it was to start a PhD program, but I frankly think that he really needed a radical life change and some distance from everything.

After a year he moved to DC and spent better part of the decade just waiting to meet me. Or something like that.

So the England.

While he was there he rowed, and he absolutely loved it. He formed incredibly strong friendships - friendships that last to this day. A number of his groomsmen flew from Europe for the weekend to be in our wedding.

But back to the picture. Or rather, the rowing uniform.

So as I was exclaiming about his hotness, and all fascinated by the outfit, he said, "You know, I still have it."

"Have what?"

"The uniform. I could put it on when we get home and fulfill your fantasy."

"Which fantasy would that be?"

"The one that involves the overweight middle-aged man in a unitard."

I love him so.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The spell check business

I'm sporadic about spell checking my posts and rarely do so with personal email. What's a typo or two among friends?

But at work, of course, I always do.

The thing about spell check, though, is that if it's a real word, it doesn't get caught.

And so you could edit something that said "program manger" rather than "program manager" - and if you weren't paying close attention, you'd miss it. Oops. Luckily, both caught by someone else and not egregious.

This, however, made me think about this old colleague of mine.

Who sent a client an email with the line, "I hope this does not cause you too much incontinence."

The reply? "It did not cause me any incontinence. It didn't inconvenience me, either."

Thank goodness for that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm not going so far as to say they paved paradise, but there is a point to be made

I'll move on to other, non-pregnant topics soon, I promise. Or at least intersperse these posts.

In case you are already all, golly geez heckfire! Is this all we're going to hear about for the next, well, ever?!

But look at this. Look how little my waist was, a scant few months ago. Look how lithe and happy I was! I took it for granted! I didn't even think I was that thin!

Clearly, it's like that Joni Mitchell song.

I know I'm barely preg, and I've gained maybe a pound or two, but man, my pants are tight. Not just in the stomach. But in the ass as well. My thighs are pulling the material so my pants do that weird whisker thing. This! This seems really unfair.

So I realized. It would be a lot more convenient if I could be pregnant in my ass rather than my stomach. That would feel all kinds of familiar to me.

Because I am one of these people who carries weight pretty much exclusively in her ass and thighs. I gain weight, it heads straight there. I'm used to having a butt. I've spent years dressing to flatter a little waist, not much in the breasticle area, and an ample ass and thighs. I'm good at that.

This dressing for more boobs and an ever-thickening stomach? While still trying to manage the ass business? When that's expanding as well?

What am I supposed to wear?


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The pregnant

First of all, and really mainly, thank you for all your lovely comments and congratulations! You all are just the best - so kind and thoughtful and enthusiastic.

I really was worried about posting about it, and I want to hug you all. You made me feel really good. Particularly in a period where I generally feel like crap pretty much all the time.

Plus it is such a fucking relief to be able to talk about it.

Nick is really excited. I'm excited. And terrified. And exhausted and bitchy. And a number of other things.

You'd think the knocked up would be an easier thing to post about than a lot of the other super-personal information that I share. But it was scary. Because I've been holding my breath, ready for it to just go away at any moment. And it still could.

I'm at nine weeks, which means four to go till thirteen, which is the end of the first trimester, and apparently when your risk of miscarriage drops significantly. But you just don't know.

And did you know that this whole business is 40 fucking weeks? More than nine months! More like ten! Did you know this? I did not.

I felt kind of tricked. A whole extra month. That's almost as long as an elephant - they're pregnant for 13 months, I think.

Honestly. But anyway.

I was trying very hard to wait until that point. And then, sometime last week, Nick got comfortable with the idea of talking about it. And the truth is, you really don't know what's going to happen. And it's just easier for me to live life out loud.

I hate keeping secrets. I mean, I can keep other people's to the grave. But my own exhaust me.

And this is something I think about in some way practically every single minute. Mostly because I'm so fucking tired. All. The. Time. And my pants don't fit. And I can't drink. And I get out of breath walking up one flight of stairs. And I briefly and irrationally loathe my husband for something completely ridiculous approximately once a day.

Like, suddenly I'm all, "Does he have to pour his tea that loudly? Dickhead."

Or something equally stupid. I'm not kidding.

It's even worse with strangers.

Anyway, I still have a fuckpile of work. January is shaping up to be craptacularly busy in the work department.

Clearly the preg-work combo is doing nothing for my epheral attempt at profanity reduction. It has kind of gone out the fucking window at this point.

The good news is, I just don't think it would bother me to have profane children.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Conveniently and hintfully illustrated little personal item

I just came across the documentation of the North Dakota sticky buns on the camera.

Also, I have some news. And I've been trying to figure out how to present it. Because it makes me incredibly happy and nervous all at the same time.

Maybe you'll just guess.

So the sticky buns. You open the oven and you get the smell of baking bread and butter and caramelized sugar all together and it is seriously amazing.
They come out at like a zillion degrees. And the pan is heavy. I think it's all the butter and pecans and sugar and just general million-calorie deliciousness. You have to flip them fast, so the caramel doesn't all run out. Nick offered his assistance in this area.
And here they are all hot and incredible. Like little pieces of caramelized crack.
And also? To use a phrase Betty dislikes more than "bun in the oven"?

I'm knocked up!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Practicality above all

I wore a nightgown under my dress to work yesterday.

See, I think I've left you with the impression that I am utterly impractical. And I am not. I realize that I sometimes look ridiculous. But there are often extremely practical reasons behind it.

And here's the thing. It seems to me that you are either a slip person or you aren't. I am in the latter category.

I own two slips, both from my mother, and both longer than most dresses or skirts I own. Plus, for the most part, I don't wear a lot of sheer stuff. So I feel very little need for them.

But I got this new black knit dress, which is really kind of fabulous. And it's just long enough that it grazed the top of my boots, so I don't have to wear tights with it.

But it turns out that while it's not sheer, on particularly dry days like yesterday, it's really clingy. Particularly, and oddly enough, in the crotchal area.

This didn't happen when I tried it on, but I was wearing tights and it was a really rainy day. It clung, but to other, more flattering places.

And the last thing I want to wear is a dress that features my hoo-ha. So I went casting about for slips.

Mine, as I mentioned earlier, are just too long.

The only suitable thing I could find was a nightgown. Which worked perfectly. And kind of amused me.

I commuted to work in my boots, which was fine for the six-block walk from Nick's office. But impossible for all the walking errands I had to do after work. For those, I needed my Dansko clogs, which I'd left at work the night before.

Now, here's the thing. Since I didn't have tights on, I had one of two options with the striped wool socks I was wearing. And these socks, they are great. They're Smartwool, comfy with really funly colored stripes. They are perfect under boots.

It turns out they look idiotic with clogs. But it was too cold for no socks.

My two options were as follows: Pull the socks halfway up my calves, as high as they will go. Pretend it's a look I am aiming for. Or - and this is the one I chose - fold them down to ankle height, thus minimizing the number of visible colors on the socks.

I probably don't need to tell you that I was already a vision in a turquoise wool coat with a slightly paler blue hat. They look fabulous together. They look less fabulous atop screaming white calves. And brown purple green orange stripey socks, tucked into black clogs - although they were significantly less visible outside in the dark.

Though I did catch several people looking down at my feet while stopped at streetcorners.

I wanted to lean over, wiggle my eyebrows, and say, "And I'm wearing a nightgown underneath all this fabulousness."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pinkstravaganza! Or, a girl after my own heart

My friend Marta - of the lesbian shoes, among other things - will occasionally accuse me of having influenced her daughter in utero.

Although I would like to take a moment here to say that I do have some practical shoes. In fact, we have the same pair of Dansko clogs. For some reason, though, mine are taken less seriously. Hers are lesbian shoes, while mine are "Lisa's bi-curious footwear."


We met while she was pregnant, and we worked for a terrible, vile, horrendous, make-Canada-smaller, harpy. You know how fast friendship bonds are formed in wartime? It was like that. The misery of working there drove us to consume many, many pounds of M&Ms.

So when Marta's daughter was born, there was no indication that she'd be any different from her mother. But as she aged, she showed a distinct preference for all things sparkly. And shiny. And high-heeled. And pink.

Marta blames me. And the M&Ms.

Whenever Marta wears anything remotely resembling heels, her daughter just gets all breathlessly happy. Marta is certain that, left to her own devices, she'd spend a week in my shoe closet. She wouldn't even need a babysitter.

What I am getting to here, though is this. I got a very preppy belt for Christmas from Nick's sister. It's pink with shells on it. It is nice, but the kind of thing I would never, ever wear.

And the only person in the world I know who loves pink more than I do is Marta's daughter. She put it on immediately. She loved it.

And the next day she arrived at the breakfast table dressed for school in an outfit she felt would best feature The New Belt. According to Marta, it wasn't worth an argument. She went to school in the clothing featured above.

I laughed so hard when I saw that picture. And then, then I thought back to a variety of things I've put together.

We're not so different, she and I.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The everlovin' Profanity Reduction Campaign

I am considering cleaning up my act, or rather my mouth, my potty potty mouth, just a tad.

While it's highly unlikely that the fuck word will ever leave my vocabulary entirely, I realized that it would behoove me not to fling profanities around as casually as I am wont to.

Along the lines of potties - and who knew these photos would be useful? - part of our tour of Ephesus, an amazingly preserved ancient Greek (then Roman) city in Turkey, included a Roman bath house.

One thing I learned was that faced with a Roman toilet, Nick cannot resist. He forced me into this photo. It is the kind of picture I hate.

He couldn't wait to pose for this one.
Anyway. The reduction of the filth.

Here's what prompted it. As many of you know, last month I wrote this fuming post about Comcast's terrible service and our ordeal trying to get cable back. I used variations on fuck a number of times in the post. It was, overall, a rather profane rant.

And as it came to pass, a very nice woman at Comcast headquarters read the post that very day and emailed me. She said, basically, that she wanted to apologize for what we'd been through, and to correct the situation.

She said, and I quote, "I’ll MAKE SURE the next appointment is handled better and to your satisfaction (no peeing involved, I promise)."

I'm not kidding about the "no peeing involved" part of the sentence.

Because, you know, there had been the part where I mentioned Nick's voiced fear that the next Comcast person would not only not help restore our cable, but would in fact urinate on his rug.

So. We got this email promising to make things right. And to take this higher up in the business, as part of a discussion on business practices. Which was awesome. And mortifying.

Because honestly? If I were writing a letter of complaint to a corporation? I would never, ever, use one profane word. Nor would I refer to an employee as a douchemonkey or fucktard or anything of the sort. And I wouldn't bring up any of the ridiculous statments my husband tends to make.

I may have a mouth like a sailor, but I'm not profligate with my epithets in just any situation.

And so I replied thanking her for contacting me, and saying that we had intended to write a letter of complaint, and I appreciated her writing first. I assured her that my letter would not have included any profanity or disparaging sobriquets.

Because, oh, cringe.

She was very good-natured about it, and said that while the situation was horrendous, my delivery was great and that I write well.

Which was nice to hear. But still. What if this post got printed out and passed around as an example of a complaint?


And so I am on this Profanity Reduction Campaign.

I'm looking for satisfying alternatives. The problem is that exclaiming "fuck!" or "cocksucker!" is just so satisfying sometimes. And I tend to write like I speak. Words like "everloving" just aren't as fun to say. But I am casting about for some good ones.

It's going to be a slow process.

Oh, and you know what was wrong? With the cable? Comcast had in their computer that we didn't actually get all the channels that we pay for. It took someone coming out to the house to physically look at our bill and call the office to go through, one by one, the channels we are supposed to get, to restore them.

This kind of situation really does make you want to say fuck fucking fuckity fuck a lot lot lot.

If one did that kind of thing any more.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Itty bitty tid-bits! With much exclamation!

One, thank you all for such fantastic suggestions book suggestions! I have the post printed out so I can highlight a whole bunch of them.

I knew that people who visit LG read really interesting books. There were so many authors and titles I'd never heard of, and which sound really intriguing.

Also, even though I was looking for recommendations, I loved when people suggested books that I had already read and adored. Connecting over books is a really interesting thing, and makes you feel, however erroneous this may be, like you have some little piece of your mind in common or something.

Yay! You all rock! And read! (Yes, I am a big dork.) I can back away from the remote!

Next, I have an appointment with my regular stylist tomorrow. Enough of you said to talk to him, to work things out, and I felt like that was only fair. As my friend Maude said, maybe he got bored of my hair as well, and he did give her a fantastic haircut.

Also, and perhaps a larger decision-driver, I had Betty chop off my hair at Christmas, because the scraggly ends were driving me so crazy. I could not stand them for one. More. Second. So I begged her to cut it, not to worry, that I knew I wasn't getting a professional cut. I just needed it off! Off!

I envisioned a trim, and she cut off a big hunk and said, "Is this too much?"

And once that's happened, you can only go forward. And it looks like I had my mom cut my hair. So I am going to skulk in and confess and ask him to fix it.

Whatever it looks like, which is kind of choppy and uneven, it feels soo much better. I pull it back so you can't really tell, and frankly, don't regret it one bit.

But you can hardly start off on that foot with a new stylist.

Lastly, I am trying to cut down on my profanity. And we have cable again. These are intertwined, but I think take a post of their own to explain.

Oh! And wait! Last last lastly! I'm glad I haven't entirely eradicated profanity, because can I just tell you how fucking cold my office is? Dickensian conditions! I'm considering lighting a candle to warm my hands. Argh!

And I am busy! Busy busy busy! Much typing and mousing to be done, which is very hard with numb little fingers! Plus the tip of my nose gets veryvery cold, which I veryvery much dislike!

And with the pulling back of the hair? Cold ears!

Great book suggestions! Soon-to-be-fixed hair! Chilly willy cold! And business! That's all I've got!

Aside from too many exclamation points!!!

Happy Tuesday! Better than Monday!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Odds are good that otherwise my brain will turn to goo and my TiVo hand will suffer permanent damage

This past weekend I found myself with very little energy, a strong dislike of the cold, and a P.D. James mystery, The Murder Room. It was a good combination, and while I don't often read mysteries, I love P.D. James.

But once I finished, I was casting about for a good book. My dad had lent me The White Tiger, and while I typically like Booker prize books, and tales about India, I am simply not currently in the mood for it.

It's winter. And it's cold. And so I spend a lot of my leisure time at home, not wanting to poke my cold little nose out the door. I cannot even tell you how much TV we've been watching.

I'm in serious danger of brain atrophy, sitting for hours on end - as I've been recently - slack-jawed in front of the television. Although Nick has a penchant for the History channel, I don't even watch anything edifying. I've been watching things like that housewife swap show.

I know I should be writing. I know I could learn to knit. Or cook. But honestly, I want a good book.

So please, I need your help. I don't just want any book - I want something really entertaining. It doesn't need to be amazing literature and I don't care if I learn anything. But I'd like it to be well-written, with a character I can invest in. If I don't care about at least one character, I've found I simply can't be bothered.

I'm also a fan of happy endings, no matter how improbable. But am willing to weep my way through books like The Lovely Bones or sob over The Time Traveler's Wife - tales that sucked me in from page one. I am not kidding when I say that I started crying on page one of Lovely Bones and by the time I finished I was near hysteria.

Sometimes it's like that, you know?

The last book I read that I couldn't bear to put down was Special Topics in Calamity Physics. If you've not read it, I highly recommend it.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Confessions of a mudpuppy

I had been contemplating bathing this morning anyway. Even before Nick said I had to.

As I stepped into the shower to perform my ablutions, I cheerfully announced that I hadn't washed my hair since Thursday night. The man I love, the man who showered twice yesterday, grimaced.

The truth is, I was dirty. I mean, I'd showered mid-day Friday after I worked out. But, lacking both the time and the inclination - my hair is so dry in the winter - I hadn't washed my hair. I'd only lifted weights, so I hadn't gotten that sweaty. Plus, once my hair got long enough to pull back, I discovered the joy and convenience of the low ponytail. Looks professional at work; hides its unwashed nature.

But beyond the knowledge that I'm helping out my dry skin and hair, I cannot precisely explain my occasional and utter delight at arriving at the point of filthiness. Not feculence or putrescence. Just a satisfying level of griminess.

It is rare that I can pull this off, and I revel in it.

One cannot manage it on a weekday, nor on a weekend with social obligations. You can really only do this when you're not leaving the house - and preferably not even removing the fleece jammies you got into Friday night. It has to be timed when not only do you not have to look nice, but you have no reason to have to be clean.

For me, I think, this is true decadence.

And the horrifying truth is, I could've gone a whole nother day, or at least waited till after I went running this afternoon. Definitely tonight, as Sunday is sheet-washing day, and nothing feels better than getting into clean sheets superclean.

But for the protestations of the man I like to call my husband, plus the fact that I need to venture out to Target, I most certainly would have waited.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Dragon tattoos, tarty boots, and sociological data

I will most likely never, ever get a tattoo, but I absolutely love temporary ones.

Although I must note that this picture was taken yesterday afternoon, and I'm still trying to scrub it off.

When faced with a choice, I will always pick the largest, sparkliest, most flamboyant. And I have to say, while a big dragon on my chest doesn't really fit my personality or my lifestyle, I kind of love it.

For New Year's Eve I wore a mini-skirt, tights, a very low V-neck sweater, and my tarty New Jersey boots. I got compliments from a couple of my guy friends, and said, "I figure now that I'm married I can dress as slutty as I want."

They agreed with Tori - my tarty boot enabler - in that my wardrobe doesn't actually seem to have changed, but if that's the story I want to sell...


But what I actually wanted to write about was something that surprised me and made me think.

I co-hosted a New Year's party with a group of friends. I've co-hosted this party a couple times before with some of the same people. The group shifts a bit year to year.

There's always an organizer's dinner beforehand. Nick had another event before the party, so Tori was my date.

Somewhere in the middle of things, someone responded to my complaint about being assigned to really late door duty with, "Well, yeah, but you have a husband."

And then, very briefly, conversation at the table turned to the fact that I was married. I was the only married person. At 39, in a group of nearly 20 men and women, ranging in age from probably late 20's to early 40's I was the only married one in the room.

And suddenly, after being single for so long, I felt aberrant.

After I got over that, though, I started thinking about how interesting this was, from a sociological perspective. Here was this room of incredibly smart, well-educated, attractive, interesting people. Most of whom live and work in DC - and have super-impressive jobs, for that matter - and all of whom are dating and presumably, would like to get married.

We're not getting married in our 20's, and we're barely getting married in our 30's. And I don't think this group is outside the norm in DC.

So is this, I wonder, pretty typical for urban populations at this point?

Or is DC unusual?