Saturday, November 29, 2008


Yesterday, I thought long and hard about the amount of leftovers that would result from cooking even a minimal Thanksgiving dinner, given that it would be eaten by one adult with a normal appetite, one adult with absolutely no appetite and a preschooler. And then I thought briefly about dealing with raw turkey, and once I was done controlling my heaving stomach, I decided we should go out. So we went to a movie yesterday afternoon and then out to a restaurant serving a very nice Thanksgiving dinner. We had fun and we were together as a family, which makes it a good holiday in my book. We still have an uncooked turkey breast in our refrigerator, but if worst comes to worst, we can put it in the freezer to wait for Christmas.

Sadly, the father of the friend who was going to spend the weekend wound up in the hospital yesterday, so while they spent the night last night, she had to leave today to drive back to Detroit. Sigh. The amount of time we got to spend together was lovely and I'm glad we had that much.

My benchmark for the worst Thanksgiving ever was the year I spent in England, where I had a normal full day of classes and then went home to a lonely plate of stirfry. Which I dropped on the kitchen floor, breaking one of my two plates. I couldn't even get together with any of my American friends because they were all various Thanksgiving dinners organized for them by the various advisors assigned to us by the university, but the person who was in charge of the Thanksgiving dinner I was getting wasn't able to do it on Thanksgiving year.

This year, while not necessarily our absolute best, wasn't nearly that bad. I missed our family and friends, but I'm grateful that we still have them, that my mother is relatively healthy and independent and that we'll be seeing them next month. I'm always grateful for my husband and daughter, and this year for my inch-long passenger making me so sick. I'm so, so grateful that with the number of jobs being lost, B will not be losing his, even if he has to go down a grade. I hope all of you were able to spend your holiday with people you love.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sick note

It should be abundantly clear by now that I've given up on NaBloPoMo. It's a shame since I've done so well the past two years, but my body just isn't cooperating.

I'm trying very hard not to be an annoying pregnant woman whining I'm siiiiiiick and I'm tiiiiiired, but I am, and that's about all I have to say these days. Or at least it would be if I could get enough energy in the evening to even contemplate typing. So until further notice, you can chalk up spotty posting to my feeling like five-day-old roadkill in August, okay?

In other news, I know this isn't a very novel or original observation, but the Jekyll and Hyde nature of three-year-olds astonishes me sometimes. How can the child who cuddled in bed with me last night watching Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, insisting that we both eat carrots (because the bunnies were, of course), be the same child who half an hour later was very clearly and deliberately doing everything she possibly could to make me angry as I tried to get her ready for bed? She had that glint in her eye that said that not only was she doing this deliberately, she knew I knew she was doing it deliberately and she liked it that way. And then her head starting spinning around and she started spewing pea soup. And here I had been thinking just this week that after a rocky start, 3 hasn't been that bad.

I'm really looking forward to the coming week. I have two days off from the online job and don't have to work at the museum until Sunday. B normally works evenings Mondays and Wednesdays, but he has tomorrow off because he's working Saturday (the only fly in the ointment) and the library will be closing at 5 on Wednesday. And my best friend from college and her husband are coming to visit for the weekend starting Thursday night! This should be fun all around.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Signs of the season

Every day, there are more signs of the upcoming holiday season. Walking outside into biting cold and seeing bare trees. Thanksgiving foods all over the supermarket. Christmas decorations taking over the stores. But I was getting groceries at Trader Joe's the other night and saw perhaps the most magical sign of the season:

Candy Cane Joe Joe's are back. Is there anything better a pregnant woman could hear?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


So I did something else on my birthday a month ago that I haven't been talking about. I took a pregnancy test. And it was positive.

I've been keeping quiet any place public because of the general anxiety of early pregnancy - it was a shock to me that it happened at all without any more chemical help than metformin, and I had a hard time believing that there was anything there at all, let alone something that would last.

But I had an ultrasound this afternoon, which revealed:

One (1) gestational sac, containing one (1) blob-like embryo measuring approximately 9 weeks, with a teensy little blinking heartbeat at 167 bpm. All exactly as it should be.

I know far too many people who've had a good first ultrasound only to have it all go to hell later on in the pregnancy to feel truly secure. But I feel much more confident now that I know there's something in there doing what it should.

Confident enough to start talking about it publicly and introduce K to the idea that she will be getting a baby sibling for her birthday. She was intrigued at the thought of a baby coming to live with us and fascinated by the ultrasound pictures, until her dinner arrived and then the pepperoni on her pizza took precedence. Priorities, after all.

I would scan the pictures, but they're truly just little blobs, with only one where you can maybe distinguish some proto-limbs. I was a bit disappointed to have an abdominal instead of a transvaginal ultrasound this time - the far better picture quality from K's first ultrasound more than made up for the personal violation. But I'm going back in three weeks for the nuchal translucency screen, so I'll get much better pictures then.

How am I feeling these days? Really, really tired and very sick. I'm not actually throwing up a lot, but I spend a lot of time thinking about it. I'm really looking forward to the second trimester.

So now I let out a sigh of relief, and go back to languishing on the couch thinking very hard about not throwing up.

On a final note, I know several of the people reading this are still struggling with infertility and I'm sorrier than I can say that you haven't had as much luck as I have. I won't be hurt if you decide you can't keep reading.

Monday, November 17, 2008


On a whim today, I decided to Google a high school friend. She has a pretty distinct last name, so I figured there was a pretty good chance of finding her.

But you know the newish feature on Google where when you start typing they give you a drop down box with common searches like yours? As I started typing her name, it came up. With "obituary" after it. Oh dear.

And it turns out she died six weeks ago. Nothing I found said how - the closest I got was "suddenly." She was getting her master's degree in counseling at a local seminary and the descriptions people gave of her sounded a lot like she was in high school.

I'm not hugely upset by this - we haven't spoken in fifteen years, since high school graduation. We were very good friends in elementary school, but starting drifting apart in junior high and were mostly casual friends in high school. I'm very saddened for her father and brother - her mother died of kidney cancer several years ago and this new sudden loss can't be easy on them. I suppose mostly I'm feeling a little sad and a bit more existential angst about someone my age that I knew being suddenly dead.

Friday, November 14, 2008


There are two things that tend to bug me when I read blogs. The first is people condemning out of hand something they haven't actually read or watched, from whim, prejudice or not wanting to take part in anything too popular.

Now I don't mean say, you don't want to watch a Jackie Chan movie because you haven't liked the martial arts films you've seen in the past. In that case, you've tried martial arts movies, and it's entirely reasonable that you wouldn't want to see something that falls in that category. However, if you happen to like martial arts movies but have never seen a Jackie Chan movie, I might find your proclaiming the suckiness of Jackie Chan and all of his works kind of annoying.

The second thing that irritates me is people explaining at length why they aren't going to take part in the latest thing, with the not too subtle subtext of "unlike the rest of you sheep." I mean, this October, I didn't feel the need to write about how I wasn't going to observe the Jewish holidays because Judaism as a religion just doesn't speak to me. So if you don't want to read the latest Harry Potter book, watch Dr Horrible or celebrate Valentine's Day, just don't do it. And don't ruin the fun of those of us who are.

Again, there are certainly exceptions. If you're such a Harry Potter fan that you wrote your doctoral dissertation on the first six books, it's certainly noteworthy that you wouldn't read the seventh. And if you want to take part in whatever event or holiday is coming up and can't, you're certainly justified in complaining about it.

I'm explaining all of this by way of leading up to saying that I haven't read the Twilight series, probably won't and probably won't see the movie either. But I'm only sharing this because I find the story of why somewhat amusing:

I had asked B about the series since he had read the first book, and while he didn't find it very good, he was being a bit more judicious than most in saying why. He had started by saying that Meyer has a different conception of vampires, and as he said what it was, I was thinking that I don't have a problem with different ideas of vampires. Just as long as she doesn't conceive them to be, say, sparkly fairies, I have a pretty open mind-

-just as B was saying, "And vampires sparkle when they're in the sunlight."

So yes, while it's no doubt hypocritical, I don't think I'm going to be partaking in Twilight, except maybe to see how bad it is. Because really, actually sparkly fairies?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 13

So it's just about That Time in the NaBloPoMo drivel when I start talking about tv again. Our viewing patterns for the new season have pretty much shaken out by now. While it was aggravating that our DVR up and died a few weeks ago, it was instructive to get a new one and have to re-program it. There were several programs that simply haven't made it on the new machine, because we haven't missed them.

Shows I like quite a lot:


The Office/30 Rock: well, they're new to me. I starting watching both of these hysterically funny series this summer and was almost immediately hooked. I'm not sure why I wasn't watching them before, except that maybe the tv schedules never lined up well.

Chuck, House, Daily Show, Colbert Report, Iron Chef America, Ace of Cakes, Ugly Betty

Shows I like well enough:

True Blood: I'm a big fan of the books, so I was really looking forward to this. I think they got Sookie just right, along with her relationship with Bill. I like how they changed Tara, which made her much more interesting and filled a necessary role - someone for Sookie to talk too since they can't convey all of her thoughts by voiceover. I'm not nearly as fond of the Jason storyline. He just wasn't that dumb in the books and it's squirmingly uncomfortable to watch him be so idiotically self-destructive. I also feel like the tone is a bit off from the books. The Alan Ball/HBO gratuitous sex gives it all a bit more of an Anita Blake vibe than is really necessary. But I keep watching.

Merlin: Eh. I watch it every week and like it well enough, but it's not blowing my hair back. It's nice to see Anthony Stewart Head again on a regular basis.

Heroes: At the beginning of the season, I was almost ready to give up on this show completely, but they manage to introduce just enough interesting new plot twists to hold on to me and get me somewhat interested again. But they had better pull it into the present and keep it there soon - all of this time-hopping is getting annoying and gratuitous.

Shows I tried and gave up on:

Fringe: I really wanted to like this. I've watched pretty much everything J.J. Abrams has put on tv, from Felicity to Alias. And I really like the scientist and how he relates to his son. But the stories haven't been compelling me, and after every single week featured 1) at least one scene of gratuitous, horrific grossness and 2) unnecessary torture, I just couldn't watch any more. The stories and character interaction just aren't good enough to make up for that.

Crusoe: I should probably try it again once the series is finished, but while we recorded the first couple episodes, I just wasn't paying attention and it never made it on the new DVR.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Missed a day

for no better reason than I was really tired last night and fell asleep really early yesterday.

We're home from Boston now. It was a lovely visit and would have been even better a couple days longer. We all like having grandparents around - fortunately, they're coming for Christmas next month. For future travel reference, taking 287 north of NYC to the Tappanzee instead of the George Washington Bridge is definitely the way to go. I still find it a little odd to make it through five states in less than 6 hours. I'm just not used to these fun-sized states we have here out East.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Even briefer

Lots of relatives today. K was every mother's dream at dinner, sitting nicely and eating with a fork. If only we had relatives around all the time so she would stay that charming.

Aquarium tomorrow, lunch at Faneuil Hall. Dinner at B's sister's.

Am very tired and will go thud now.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Quickie post

We made it to Boston after a long poke. We're comfortably ensconsed at B's aunt and uncle's house in Brookline. After eight hours in the car and the excitement of grandparents, K is unwilling to settle down to sleep. Quel surprise.

More relatives tomorrow. Further updates as events warrant.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The day after

Now that B has been able to speak to his union, it seems the situation isn't quite so dire. It is extremely unlikely that he could be laid off, because if he makes it onto the layoff list, he can choose to take a demotion instead. Which stills really sucks, but not as much as unemployment.

How likely is he to end up on the layoff list? We dunno. He's one of the most junior supervisors, but they may decide to concentrate on lower level employees. Plenty of people have been hired since he was, so there may be enough that he'll be protected. The equation in deciding is apparently job performance score combined with seniority in some sort of arcane mystic formula and he has a good performance score, so that should help too. We shall see. We'll find out by December 8.

How is my job affected, since the museum is also city-funded? Well, on the plus side we're funded by a trust fund that's not affected by budget cutbacks. On the negative side, our fund makes its money by investing interest in the stock market, so you can imagine how well that's going. Currently, our everyday operations will go on as normal, but some of the special projects we had planned have been put off. And we'll have to rely a lot more on the Friends for help buying things, which will be SUCH a joy, dealing with the complications that come with trying to get money out of them without a gigantic production.


We are headed to Boston this weekend. B's parents are visiting his sister, so we're going up to see all of them, along with various bonus aunts, uncles and cousins.

I think K is a bit confused about which grandparents she's seeing, based on the fact that she keeps talking about the aide my mother travels with. Plus she keeps talking about airplanes, so she may think we're going to LaGuardia again, the way we did last month to meet with my mother on her layover. Which we most certainly won't unless we've displeased several very vengeful gods.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sucky day

So remember back when I talked about how B's library was trying to save money by cancelling Saturday hours, and they were, then they weren't, then they were, then the mayor declared they weren't?

Well, we didn't know how good we had it then. The mayor announced a number of cost-cutting measures today which included closing 11 library branches, which will result in layoffs of 110 people.

B's library isn't closing. But it's not as simple as the people whose branches are closing losing their jobs. Layoffs are determined by seniority, so it's the most recent hires that are going first.

Now there are people who were hired after B, and 40 of the positions will be eliminated by attrition from people who were leaving anyway. Hopefully, the fact that he's at supervisor level will help give him another layer of seniority. However, there's also a possibility that if there are too many other supervisors with more seniority than him, he'll lose his position and be kicked back down to regular librarian. Fortunately, if this happens, it will happen in January when he's due to step up a grade in pay, so we would only be losing $200 a month in income instead of $400. Only.

Even if he's not affected, this bodes very ill for contract negotiations next June.

We don't know how this will shake out yet, but it certainly is definite that B's resume is going out tout suite. If he does get laid off, at least I have a stable income this time from a job I can do from anywhere. And my mother hasn't sold her house yet, so I could probably convince her to let us rent it from her. But argh. This is spectacularly bad timing. We've been wanting to move back to the Midwest, but not like this.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Brief trivia

Making it just before midnight.

I realized a few days ago that while it's very convenient that so many books get released for the Christmas shopping season right before my birthday, I now have a new stack of books to read when I still have a few books from this summer that I haven't read yet. It wasn't a reflection on the quality of the books, but probably more on my state of mind for most of the summer.

Anyway, I'm finally reading The Sharing Knife: Passage. I feel like such a bad Bujold fan for leaving it for so long, especially since I'm enjoying it so much.

But did anyone else have "The Farmers and the Cowboys Should Be Friends" running through their heads while reading it?*

*B's response: "No, but I will now." Hee hee.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I walked the five-minute walk down to my polling place this afternoon, ran the gauntlet of supporters of local politicians brandishing flyers and went in to discover only two people ahead of me. They were both done voting by the time my name was found and I signed, so I was able to go in, vote a straight ticket and on the ballot measures and be out again in 2 minutes. Easy peasy.

Now we wait.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My plan for keeping my sanity over the next 24 hours

(I don't normally bring up politics given my mixed audience. But tonight I feel the need to help my people)
Like many liberals on election night eve, I've been letting myself feel cautiously hopeful about the polls, but too caught up in learned helplessness that the last 8 years have instilled in me to feel remotely calm about it. After all, just because even Karl Rove is predicting an Obama win is no reason to get all crazy and optimistic, now is it?

So in an effort to help preserve my fingernails, here are places I'm going to help maintain calm and sanity:

John Scalzi's Democratic poll watching kit:

Stop Worrying About Obama Losing Already

Good or bad, news is always easier to take with a good dose of snark. And while you're at it, turn away from the network pundits so you can watch them being made fun of by the Daily Show/Colbert Report election special at 10pm Eastern.

I can't believe there's anyone reading this that hasn't heard of, but there's no better place to go for a reality check when the mainstream press feels the need to manufacture news by reporting poll "tightening." Plus he says mean things about the Drudge Report, which is always good.

Of course, this time tomorrow night, you'll probably find me having worn out the refresh button on my browser as I try to convince the cats they want to let me squeeze them for comfort.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I do not plan to lose NaBloPoMo on day 2

Which is the only reason I'm posting. I feel like I've been scraped up off the sidewalk. I slept late this morning, barely made it through taking care of K this afternoon while B was at work, then took an hour and a half nap after he got home. Because I was, you know, so tired from all of that lying on the couch.

Sigh. Something guaranteed to make you feel like a terrible parent is your child begging you to go play outside and having to try to convince them to stay inside and watch tv. It was a beautiful day, but I just couldn't hack even sitting in a chair and I can guarantee K would have wanted more active interaction than that. I compromised by bringing her small slide in from the backyard, which was a huge hit. It's too big to take up permanent residence in the rec room, but it's definitely good to have for an occasional treat. If we manage to clean up a bit in our storage area downstairs, we could keep it there so we can drag it in to the play area more easily.

It's times like these that I really dislike city living. If we were still in any of the houses we lived in Indiana, I could have sent K out to play on her own in the fenced backyard while keeping an eye on her from the window. Here, our backyard is approximately 2 feet square and borders the alley which has cars driving down it on a regular basis. We have a larger front yard, which isn't fenced and is on a pretty busy street.

Okay, that's enough whining for tonight. Aren't you glad you have 28 more days of this?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NaBloPoMo day 1

And I am feeling quite braindead.

It's entirely possible that my brains have been entirely replaced by mucus, most of which has taken up residence in my right ear. I've spent most of the day with the sensation of being permanently underwater. It would have been charming if that were because I had magically woken up in Atlantis and had spent the day drinking tea out of clam shells with mermaids and braiding strings of pearls in my hair while gossiping merrily about that hothead Neptune. Instead, I've spent the day achy and half-deaf.

Surprisingly, K and I had a pretty pleasant day. I will cop to way too much tv in the morning when I was still stunned by the post-wakeup mucus accumulation - I had been holding the line firm at two episodes of Blues Clues, but then she asked for Shaun the Sheep and was so happy to entertain herself in front of the computer with a bag of microwave popcorn that I didn't have the energy to try to introduce any other activities. But then we went out to the bookstore after lunch and shared trains nicely with the other kids at the train table and then left cheerfully so we could go home and nap well and happily draw pictures and blow bubbles while waiting for dinner to come.

And now I've reached the limits of my limited, mucus-constrained creativity. More tomorrow, when hopefully I will have cute dinosaur pictures and will have found yet more ways to use the word mucus in one post.