hell (aka the world of cloth diapers)

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all i have to say is: WTF???!!!

i consider myself an incredibly adept researcher. i can easily find out what criteria to judge a product on (i’ve recently done this with laundry machines, dryers, freezers, futon beds, etc) and then research websites until i find a happy medium between the best product and the best price. i have always prided myself on this ability.

enter: cloth diapers.

i’ll say it again: WTF??!!

i suppose it’s hard to find neutral criteria to judge something like diapers on – after all, it really depends on the baby. but everyone’s critiques are different and i just don’t know what to do. especially being way over here in (stupid) germany where i can’t just order all the fuzzibunz, bumgenius, bummis, rumparooz that my little heart desires. and in fact, according to my husband, who panics at anything costing more than 5 euro (seriously), we don’t have enough money to order all of the cloth diapers that my little heart desires.

so, i’ve ordered the “get started kit” from imse vimse and the from totsbots (which i’m hoping works out well because they are from scotland (easy to ship here), they’ve got a good package we can order if they do work out AND they are ADORABLE. right?

we’ve also got some prefold diapers that my mom is bringing from the us, but i’m worried that those are going to be really difficult. folding a diaper? in this day and age? when we have disposable and ready-to-go everything? i love the idea and i want to be that person, but i’m still nervous about it all.

and above all, i’m still annoyed that there are just so many – and so many of them are so damn cute that i just want to order thousands of dollars worth of diapers (which again, my husband said no to, and we got into a big fight).

anyone else out there going the cloth diaper route? having the same issues? think i’m crazy?

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hello, again

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well, i suppose i’ve discovered that i don’t really like writing about myself as much as i thought i would. i can’t believe the last time i posted was the middle of my pregnancy! now, i’m at 36 weeks, 3 days (to be exact) and shit is starting to get REAL.

we’ve moved into our new house and are slowly (way to slowly for me, but way too quickly for my husband, who is developing some sort of nervous disorder about money) furnishing it. it’s amazing buying furniture for the first time in seven years. before, everything was accumulated over years and years and bought in various places – i had a bit of encinitas, a bit of san francisco, a bit of portland and it all summed up me and my life in ways that i loved, but may not have been entirely healthy (defining myself by my [albeit, amazing] stuff – not so good).

getting rid of everything i owned was fabulous and frankly, i’d recommend it to anyone and everyone at least once in your life. but now that i’m trying to accumulate again and have a three bedroom house to fill, it’s hard to just buy things and of course, most of it ends up coming from ikea, which hopefully just doesn’t say anything about me (except that i ain’t got no money).

anyway, i digress. we’ve got a bed, a sofa, a washing machine – all the important things, really. and the furniture for the baby room comes tomorrow morning. which is good since come next week, i could literally go into labor at any moment. though, i really hope he’ll wait for a little bit. a couple weeks at least. we’re not quite ready yet (though not sure if we will be in a few weeks, either).

so, what’s been going on in the past however many months? my feet have been crazy swollen, i’ve had horrible heartburn, my lower back has been aching and i haven’t been able to get comfortable sitting, standing or lying.

that said, i think it’s probably really just worse the past month or so. but pregnancy has made me live in the moment so much so that i just don’t remember the past few months (which reminds me why i wanted to keep this record in the first place…).

we are both starting to get really nervous (and really excited) and i think that is taking it’s toll on us (in small, non-permanent ways). we go from having the most loving moments ever, talking about the baby and the future and our life together, to arguing about everything: whether we can afford to buy plates (seriously, sometimes i wonder about my husband…), whether or not sex is okay at this stage, how many diapers we should order, if i’m being sensitive and overreacting about everything (which is probably true sometimes) or he’s just an insensitive jerk (which is definitely true sometimes) and a million other things.

and before you ask, no, we don’t have a name and we have no idea how we’re going to agree about it. and yes, that is another thing that we’ve argued about more than a few times. life would be perfect if i liked the name darcy. i’ve loved mr. darcy for years; it would just be so fitting to name my child after him. however, neither darcy nor fitzwilliam really do it for either of us. another name i would love to love? gilbert. as in gilbert blythe. but again, just not a name i really like. i’ve thought about austen, as in jane, but it’s a bit too “american” for us (as my husband says). i really like bennet, as in, elizabeth, but of course, james hates it.

i’m gonna have to start doing some more name research. my other favorite authors? tom robbins, thomas hardy, t.s. eliot (and yes, i’ve considered eliot)… i can’t really think of any more. and characters? it seems like i really like girl characters (and girl names).

anyway, that’s just one thing that we need to do in the next few weeks. sigh.

halfway to baby!

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yes, that’s right. i’m halfway through being pregnant. and though i feel like i’ve already gained enough weight for the whole pregnancy, i’m sure that’s not true and in fact, is just me exaggerating a little. luckily, the doctor weighs me in kilograms and i’m still not entirely sure what the conversion would be. easy enough to find out, but why torture myself with knowing?

baby boy is healthy and kicking (a lot), and now that i can definitely feel it, it seems absurd that i wasn’t sure what it was before. of course, he’s still just as shy or stubborn as ever at the doctor’s office and won’t let us get any good pictures of him. i’m hoping if i eat something he really likes (which seems to be peanut butter; even though the books say not to eat it, i do anyway…) and get to bed early enough, maybe he’ll be in a good mood to make a wonderful showing at our appointment on tuesday, which is for the big 3d/4d scan. yay!

christmas was wonderful (as christmas ALWAYS is) and of course, the let down is just that: a let down. especially the part where i had to go back to work. sigh. i think to be honest i’d be a lot more positive and active if it hadn’t been raining here since june. no, i’m not exaggerating this time (as evidenced by one of my earlier posts here). it has seriously been raining since june, with only a brief couple of weeks break in november – which prompted everyone around to talk about what a horrible drought we were having (as a southern californian, i found that pretty amusing).

my parents came on the twenty-second, and unfortunately, that same morning, james had to fly back to england early to go to his cousin’s funeral, which definitely put a damper on things. they weren’t extremely close, but he was still his cousin and young deaths are so much more impactful, as you just feel like they shouldn’t have happened. he died at thirty-eight, which is just so young. i would have gone with him, of course, but my parents were flying in and it just didn’t make sense.

he was very cute though and was really sad to leave the baby for two days (and me, too, of course).

so my parents came in and it was, obviously, raining. i did my best to keep them up for the day, so they didn’t “nap” for hours and then get off to a bad start with their jet-lag, which is always worse coming this way. we took walks around our little neighborhood and had lunch “downtown” (it doesn’t seem right to say that about the center of leverkusen – it’s really just a mall and one street of shops and cafés). after the hovels we had been forced to live in in barcelona, they were really impressed with the cleanliness and ‘normalcy’ of our apartment here.

the next day, we toured the christmas markets and walked through the city center of cologne – which i have to admit, is beautiful at christmas, with or without the rain (though, it was raining… the whole day…).

on christmas eve morning, we took to the road, which i was really excited about. in the time it would have taken us to get to san luis obispo or las vegas, we drove through four countries: germany, belgium, france and england. our route took us through belgium (which was really interesting and we looked forward to stopping on the way back) and into france to calais, where we boarded the ferry to cross to dover (which i can’t write or say without thinking “the white cliffs of dover”, which must have come from some jane austen novel or something, from the way i say it in my head).

the night before, we had started to get a bit nervous about not having booked our crossing, so my dad had hastily booked it for four o’clock in the afternoon – having confirmed that if we arrive earlier, then we can still board earlier if there is space available, but at least then we have something definite.

when we arrived, however, the man told us that in actuality, my dad had booked four o’clock in the morning (because they use the twenty-four hour clock here, so four o’clock in the afternoon would be 16:00). luckily, he switched our reservation to the next available crossing without hesitation, which in hindsight was pretty lucky, because he really could have been a jerk about it. it was pretty funny though.

we had our first fish and chips on the ride over (not the first ever, but the first of that trip), which wasn’t so bad, considering it was on a ferry. halfway through, however, i remembered that i get motion sick now that i’m pregnant and the swaying of the boat wasn’t really making me feel all that great. but that only meant that i got to drink my first coca-cola since getting pregnant, which i was ridiculously excited about. not that i drink it often anyway, but when you don’t have one in months and months, you remember just how darn good they are (though i’ve been craving a root beer ever since, which of course, they don’t have here…).

christmas was great. it was really nice, though a bit stressful, to have all of us together – james’s family and mine. of course, we got a lot of baby presents already. and thanks to his dad, the baby is now officially ready to support the welsh rugby side, as he no doubt will have to. daddy is already planning his first game – either next february in rome, or in cardiff if he can manage it.

we walked around hampton court, and of course visited with his family and to everyone’s surprise, england was much nicer than germany weather-wise: it barely rained at all!

on the way back, we stayed the night in gent, belgium, which is just absolutely beautiful. seriously, one of the most picturesque towns i’ve ever seen. we just walked and walked and there were rivers, bridges, castles, towers, quant little shops and lots and lots of belgian chocolate.

once we got back, though, i started to have more baby effects. we were lying in bed, reading and just about to go to sleep, when i had these really sharp, stabbing pains in my pelvic area, which were really scary. eventually, we found out that they were normal, especially for the 18th – 20th weeks, and were pains from stretching ligaments. but it left me wondering what people do here when they have questions. so, i asked my doctor. the answer? go to the hospital. i then asked, “what if it isn’t an emergency, i just want to know if it is something?” the answer? go to the hospital. i have an appointment with my midwife on the 31st, i’m going to ask her.

i also started getting CRAZY heartburn. i’ve had heartburn before, and in fact, have always been pretty prone to it, and i’ve had it a bit throughout the pregnancy, but it’s now gone to a-whole-nother level. and it’s not a good level. i’ve realized that i can’t even eat a normal serving of soup or anything. i have to eat crazy small amounts and a lot throughout the day. if i eat too much, heartburn (and not the good kind) and if i don’t eat enough, dizzy spells and shakiness.

which isn’t good mainly because i can’t ever get to the grocery store because IT’S ALWAYS RAINING. oh, have i mentioned that already?

i am now almost 21 weeks and am just bursting to start decorating the nursery and our new house. we don’t move in until march though. so i have to content myself with pinning all sorts of things on pinterest and just biding my time…

and now i have to go out in the rain, because i made the mistake of making dinner plans. sigh.

my little showoff (and some christmas asides)

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my little snowman scene (they're really into "scenes" here in germany... i'm trying to follow suit...)

merry christmas! happy hanukkah! or just happy holidays, if you are so inclined. i love the holiday season and i’m really excited about it.

okay, sorry, i just had to get that out. 🙂

my parents arrived yesterday morning (which is another thing i love about the holidays – being at the airport and seeing all the love and happy reunions) and up until then, my belly had remained looking like, well… as my close friend sashi lovingly said: it just looks like you ate a big burrito. but suddenly, it’s like the little doofus (or should i say little smarty-pants) new that it would be on display for all the grandparents in the coming days and decided to make himself a bit more noticeable.

my husband noted that this should be especially useful around christmas time, since we are moving soon and have to pay a deposit, buy furniture (as in, we have nothing because we’ve been renting “temporary” furnished apartments for the past five years [more to come on how excited i am about having my own house later]), buy stuff for baby, etc, etc and are a bit worried about where all this money is going to come from. he said that anytime the bill for dinner came or there was a question about us needing something, i should just sigh and rub my belly and say something like: ooh, the baby is moving a lot. i think i can feel it! or: i think i need to sit down. the baby must be growing a lot today, i’m feeling pretty tired. grandparents are total suckers, right?

anyway, so my little showoff must have heard this and thought: right, dad. i’ll play along! daddy is so proud.

unfortunately, my husband had to leave for england early yesterday morning, as his cousin passed away and the funeral was on thursday afternoon. the plan had been: my parents come thursday morning, we show them the christmas markets and hang out a bit and then saturday, we all drive up to england together. now, he’s already in england and the three of us (my parents and i) will still drive up saturday and meet him there.

i suppose it’s nice to get a bit of time just by myself with the folks, but i get a bit nervous about sleeping without him (what if something happens in the night or i feel something strange and need him to google it, or reassure me?), and he is sad about not being able to say goodnight and good morning to the baby every day.

at least, that’s what he said. then, of course, i tried to chat him last night before i went to sleep and his lovely, missing us, romantic response? i’m at the pub watching football with dan (my brother-in-law). so i said something else, you know, we’re missing you, we love you, somewhere along those lines… he said: tottenham 1 – 0 chelsea.

hmm.

the view from my bedroom window

i had been worried that it would snow and their plane would get delayed, but although it did snow pretty heavily the other night (at least from the perspective of this southern california girl), it has just been raining since, so it all washed away (or melted, i suppose is the correct term).

hopefully the rain will give us a break today as we visit some of the christmas markets in cologne and finish up our last-minute shopping. on saturday, we still plan to drive to england: through belgium and france, but we plan to do it quickly. then when we return, we might drive to portsmouth (so he can show me where he went to university) and then take the ferry across to brittany and drive back that way taking a bit longer, even.

while in england, we plan on seeing wicked, finally. my parents are really hard to shop for and finally i realized getting them something was the problem, but an experience is right up their alley! and what better experience than one i’ve been wanting to do for a long time, right?

so, again, happy christmas to everyone. i’ve got to run now because i’ve discovered i’m slightly anemic and have started taking these iron pills that the doctor prescribed, and frankly, they make me a little nauseous… which is great, because i obviously really missed that about the first trimester…

❤ ❤ ❤ love to all! ❤ ❤ ❤

mr or miss little doofus?

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okay, so my husband has been convinced that the baby is a girl for awhile (though we both absolutely don’t care), mostly because the chinese gender prediction chart told us that it would be. and no, my husband doesn’t normally believe in the horoscope (nor does he read them) or numerology or anything of the sort, but somehow the gender prediction chart slipped through and he believed. of course it helped that just after that, he saw three magpie’s on the path and that was it. girl it was.

(true wildlife.blogspot.com)

now, i had no idea what a magpie even was, to be honest. i’d heard of them before, mostly from mother goose, i believe, but i had no idea what they were and i had certainly never seen one. but they are everywhere here in germany! and apparently, they are everywhere in england as well. so, after we saw the three magpies, my husband reminded me (told me) of the old nursery rhyme:

“one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy…”

now of course, i keep seeing one magpie and almost panicking. which i realize is slightly ridiculous.

i also was sort of thinking the baby was a girl – mainly because i think i really value women and my connections with them. though i was always “daddy’s girl”, i can’t imagine what my life would be like without the relationship i have with my mother. and because of my mother, i’ve been encouraged to develop other relationships with strong women, from my childhood idols (mirabai, sacagawea, and harriet tubman) to my grandmothers, aunts and closest friends. a girl? i can handle that.

but, of course, life doesn’t always work out that way. and (dah, dah, dah, dah), it’s a boy!

which of course, i’m thrilled about. don’t get me wrong. even though i love women and girls, i also love boys and when i babysat, i always enjoyed the boys the most because they didn’t just sit around changing their dolls, they ran around and played and used their imaginations. though now (that i’m older and wiser) i believe that that is mostly because of how girls and boys are raised, not because of any inherent qualities in children themselves.

i think that i’m definitely a little bit nervous about it though. a girl, i know how to handle. a boy? i just don’t know.

(sent to me by my friend. i imagine this is from starbucks or pottery barn or something.)

i’m sure it’ll be fine, and of course, i’ve got my husband (who is definitely a “man’s man”) to be there as well, but i am definitely a bit nervous. but that’s all about once the little baby becomes a “real boy”. while he is a little baby, i am so excited about having my little boy and being able to dress him in adorable little outfits.

the real problem though is that his daddy and i can’t seem to agree on a single name for the little doofus. for girls, we had at least one or two that we both liked. for boys? nothing.

i like “weird” names like bailey and bennett (can’t you just see boy to the right as little bennett?), and my husband likes “boring” names like ryan and james, jr. i’m sure we’ll figure it out at some point. we’ve just heard the news, so we have lots of time to process and think of a perfect name.

we’ve also found a house, which i’m really hoping works out. it’s a beautiful house in dellbrück, the area of town that i really want to live in. and it’s a house! not an apartment! which is practically unheard of here! it has a yard! okay, that’s enough exclamation points. suffice it to say, i’m excited. fingers crossed!

as promised, i finally had my husband take a picture of the bump, which, as i’ve said, still just basically looks like fat, even though i know it’s my little baby boy.

sixteen weeks

the baby this week is the size of an avocado (yum!) and is now able to hear us! or, as my husband likes to say, the little doofus can absolutely understand what my husband is saying when he’s lecturing him as to the benefits of having rooney or van persie as his captain in fantasy football. he’s also convinced the baby’s advice is what is keeping him first in the league (which he’s obviously thrilled about). and to be fair to my husband, who is an equal opportunity sports fan, he thought this when he assumed the baby was a girl as well.

symptoms i’m experiencing: constipation, anemia, sinus congestion (leading to sinus infections and headaches that turn into migraines – fun!) and occasional back pain/spasms.

i just can’t wait until i can feel the baby kick! even in our last doctor’s appointment, the doctor said she was pretty certain the baby is a boy, but can’t be 100% sure, because he was moving around, flipping and kicking the entire time. he’s gonna be an active little boy!

i’ll leave you now with a photo of the first onesie (baby grow to daddy) that i’ve bought for the baby (which i’m so excited about):

"in vain have i struggled. it will not do. my feelings will not be repressed. you must allow me to tell you how ardently i admire and love you." - mr. fitzwilliam darcy, pride & prejudice (jane austen, of course)

hodge podge post

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so much is going on in my life and though i don’t blog enough about it, i think-blog all the time. you know, that’s where i’ll be walking to the train in the morning and thinking out this truly amazing blog post in my head – it’s funny, relevant, and just exactly what i want to say. of course, five minutes later, when i’m on the train and could theoretically start typing on my handy little smart phone (that ironically is called a handy here in germany), i will have completely forgotten what i wanted to say.

sadly, this happens often throughout the week and then when i finally have time to write a real blog, not just an in-my-head one, i’ve got nothing to say. or i’ve got so much to say, that all the separate thoughts are jumping around in my head, competing for my attention and end up just running into each other.

i am almost 16 weeks now (15 weeks 4 days) and am definitely showing. i’ll put in a picture later, when my husband gets home to take one – we haven’t taken a single picture yet! lame! yesterday, i was wearing a really big, thick sweater underneath my raincoat (as it was raining pretty hard and has been absolutely freezing here – the wind cuts through you like a million tiny icicles) and i swear, i felt like a sausage. my raincoat zipped up, but sort of just barely. and i know a part of it was my big sweater, but i won’t lie: it was really the middle bit that was problematic.

let’s see, what else. i bought a prenatal yoga video that i was so excited about and have done approximately zero times (you know, give or take), which makes me feel really lame. i’m still thinking about doing it today though. honestly. (we’ll see.)

my favorite breakfast is still bagels, though they are hard to find here in germany (insert horribly inappropriate joke) and as i’m not really sick anymore, they aren’t really necessary.

in fact, i don’t seem to have any sort of symptoms (can you use symptom when it’s not an illness? sounds wrong…). my nose is a bit stuffy all the time, and my gums are a bit sore at times, but not horribly so.

speaking of which, i went to the dentist here, as it was recommended to do so by my doctor. now, i should start off by saying that i despise the dentist – or, rather, i should say going to the dentist, as my dentist has always been rather nice. i’m one of those crazies that has horrible nightmares about their teeth disintegrating or falling out and can’t even handle to hear people’s stories about their root-canals-gone-wrong, etc, etc…

this fear of the all things teeth related has always been the funniest when i was working with children though. they’d come into the classroom or run up to me on the playground and open their mouths, insert their little fingers and start wiggling away, saying: look, look! my tooth… and before they could even finish their cute little sentences, i’d be screaming and running the other way. hopefully i haven’t caused any serious trauma to any of these little ones yet.

so, i take a deep breath and walk in to the dentist office, with the additional worry of knowing that the receptionist doesn’t speak a word of english, prepared for the horrible sounds of scraping and polishing and the taste and feel of everything pooling in my mouth while i am unable to swallow. i was also ready for the receptionist/assistant to be quite rude – as she was over the phone when i called.

however, i was pleasantly surprised. she was very nice, though she didn’t really speak any english. we somehow managed to communicate the essentials – i understood she wanted my insurance card and i wrote down all my information (address, phone number, birth date, etc) on a card for her so she didn’t have to bear with my trying to spell things out in german.

then she took me into the exam room and the dentist walked in, who frankly, looked like he had just come into the office after catching his morning set – so far, no difference from my dentist at home.

his english was good enough and he asked how far along i was (“pregnant” is one of the few words i know how to say in german) and then he checked out my teeth. he examined my fillings, and was surprised that i had so few (thanks to my sugar-hating mother), and checked my gums and did whatever else dentists do while they are poking you with that extremely sharp, metal device they use. and then… that was it! no cleaning, no flossing, no admonishing when is the last time you had your x-rays done? – nothing!

which in a lot of ways is good – i really don’t think getting your x-rays every year is necessary (or good even), but the cleaning – even though i hate it – is good! i love the way my teeth feel when i leave the dentist! i guess this is why every american i’ve talked to here says they still go to the dentist back home when they visit. sigh. that means my dentist back home is REALLY gonna yell about me about x-rays and what not whenever i get home and go. though i suppose i could lie to him and say i’ve had them done here…

so, anyway, i’m almost sixteen weeks. which means the baby is the size of an avocado. and can hear stuff now! i should be singing and talking to him/her more – but i seem to be doing a lot of it in my head. i’m hoping the baby can still hear that (babies are magic, right?).

i am NOT going to be documenting how much weight i’ve gained or inches i’ve expanded or anything of the sort. i am impressed with anyone who has the self-confidence to be able to do that and even more those that can post those details to the public. i tip my hat to you, but i will not be doing the same. i prefer not to know and just be as healthy as i can be.

i keep on falling…

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so, this morning i walked out of my apartment with just enough time to catch the train, but i still stood there for a moment, before i stepped out into the rain and thought, “do i have time to run back upstairs and get my umbrella??” sadly, the answer was no.

but even worse than getting my head wet (which i certainly did), i was wearing my cowboy boots, which have literally no tread on them. in fact, i can pretty much guarantee that if there’s a teeny bit of water on the ground, or god forbid, ice, i will slip and i will fall.

the worst thing is that i’ve been simply terrified of falling in general lately. every time i stub my toe or almost run into something or, god forbid, walk down the stairs, this sort of deep dread grips me and doesn’t let me go until i’m safely sitting on the train or comfortably lodged inside my own house.

this fear is the worst when i’m walking along the train platform and i imagine the teenage boys smoking to my left bumping me off the platform, and me ending up down on the tracks.

and, of course, in reality, i’ve never fallen off any train platforms. nor have i ever been pushed down the stairs. and thus far, i haven’t sustained any serious injuries from a stubbed toe, and neither have i found myself any clumsier for being pregnant (at least as far as i know), but i think that i’ve gotten incredibly paranoid – as evidenced by my ridiculously realistic imaginings of the business man behind me rushing forward and pushing me down, trampling me in his mad dash (to get where, i’m not sure) and leaving me lying there, alone and in pain.

in all of these situations, whether it’s me falling or me being pushed, my hands instantly fly to my belly and i think: the baby! and this nervous fluttering overtakes me as i try to keep myself from picturing the horrific possibilities of me landing right on my stomach, which isn’t really even big enough to create any sort of complications, i imagine. and to be honest, my mom actually fell off her horse when she was quite a bit pregnant with me and i’m fine… (though, she really shouldn’t have been riding a horse and my father, as i hear it, was just furious)

anyway, somehow i managed to make it to the teacher’s lounge in the sprachzentrum (about a fifteen minute walk from the train station), where i needed to make a photocopy, and then all the way back across the station to my class, getting completely wet along the way. and of course, once i got to my class, i remembered that one of my students wasn’t able to make it today and so, of course, i hadn’t even needed the photocopy in the first place.

of course i was frustrated, but as long as i don’t fall, i don’t really mind. if this paranoia keeps getting worse, though, i probably won’t leave the house. ever. and i’ll make my husband get me everything. i’ll make him move the tv into the bedroom, and every morning he’ll have to set up my breakfast, lunch and snacks by the side of my bed and i suppose i’ll just have to take the risks of crossing the hall occasionally to use the toilet. but we’ll see about that last part.

ps. i’m almost fifteen weeks! and sort of showing! update to follow soon; right now i have to go to an unpaid, three hour, mandatory meeting that i’m obviously really looking forward to. sigh.

working girl

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i have worked since i was fourteen-years-old, when i started part-time at play-co toys just down the street from my house. i worked there until i was about sixteen, when i started working at my flavorite bakery (you know, it’s a combination of flavor and favorite – creative, yeah?). i still had summer jobs as well and even before then, i worked for both of my parents. of course, i think i’ve been fired by my mother more times than i can count, so i don’t really include that on my résumé…

i have since worked at a supermarket (vons bagger!), a coffee shop, flippers, a “gourmet” burger restaurant in san francisco, a bagel shop, a bar, an advertising agency, a bookshop, a hair salon, a gelato shop, another bar and countless other things that i’ve actually forgotten. at times, i’ve had two jobs and, if you include tutoring, three! all through high school and college, i continued to work, which frankly, was difficult.

once i was working on a group project in a shakespeare class. as we ran through all of the options of when to meet, and i was consistently the problem, i kind of sheepishly apologized, explaining that i worked full-time and that it might be difficult and one of my classmates actually said, “why do you work?” needless to say, i just looked at him, aghast, and didn’t answer – which, in hindsight, explains a lot about why i had trouble fitting in at my university.

so, suddenly, i’m working part-time again (which means about nine hours a week and occasionally subbing for a few classes as well), which i haven’t done since i was fourteen (and the main reason was that it’s illegal for fourteen-year-olds to work full-time and even still, i was also babysitting on the side). and i’m telling you, i can’t even find the time to do ANYTHING and i’m EXHAUSTED when i get home. and to top it all off, i don’t even have any friends here, really, so i don’t even do much!

it makes me think to myself: how do people get it all done? and who are these superheroes who work full-time, volunteer, have babies, have friends, etc, etc…

yes, i’m pregnant. and i realize that that takes a lot of energy and everything, but seriously. people work full-time while they’re pregnant. lots of them. and still keep a clean house and manage to actually cook dinner, as opposed to getting chinese on the way home from class. and here i am, at exactly 2:43 pm on a wednesday and i’ve done NOTHING today. i worked in the morning, from 9:00 to 11:00 and since then, i’ve read a book (albeit, a fantastic book), ate lunch, answered emails, read a few blogs and now am writing this. i haven’t even found the time and/or energy to put a load of laundry on, seeing as how i’d have to walk all the way down to the basement (we’re on the first floor – so that’s two whole sets of stairs).

beyond that, every morning that i do have to work, i wake up just sort of miserable that i actually have to work. like some sort of spoiled brat or something.

sigh. my poor husband.

so, obviously, that said, i’m going to go put on a load of laundry now. and maybe vacuum or something…

does this bagel make me look fat?

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i would love to say that i haven’t ever eaten this many bagels before in my life, but sadly, that would just be a lie. when i was eighteen, i moved to san francisco with nothing but a dream of a fantastic life (read: no money) and some friends by my side (and i do mean literally by my side; our apartment was teeny tiny).

in order to finance this “fantastic life” of community college, ramen noodles and forties of king cobra (don’t judge, you were all there), i worked at noah’s bagels on irving street in the inner sunset. which meant, of course, that i ate bagels pretty much every day for about a year. as did my roommates. in fact, between us, we wanted for nothing. i worked at the bagel shop (as in, free breakfast and lunch), kristina worked at spinelli’s, which later became tully’s (free coffee) and ross worked at a beauty supply shop (free/discounted product and hair dye – a necessity in our home). to top it all off, my boyfriend at the time worked for escape from new york pizza, meaning not only free pizza (dinner!) but the best pizza in the world (it’s a fact. look it up.).

seriously. the best pizza. in the world.

needless to say, i gained a few pounds in that time. but it also did nothing to assuage my absolute love and dedication to both pizza and bagels. later, i ended up quitting the bagel shop gig, getting a “real job” and living with said boyfriend, only to move out a couple years later… and where did i move? why, above a bagel shop (called noe bagel in the noe valley area on 24th street). of course. i was warmed in the morning by the gloriously comforting smell of toasting bagels. and i was quite popular at work for awhile, as my excuse for being late was often: i brought bagels! it was heaven.

everything bagel with (lactose free) cream cheese

so, why the ode to bagels? (as if i would need a reason…) well, for starters, i’m pretty sure i’ve eaten almost as many in the past month or so as i did during my first years in san francisco… and yes, sometimes i’ve had one for breakfast and dinner. but i’m especially loving them right now because they seem to be the only things that absolutely make the sickies go away.

of course, as i read through every book/website/pregnant blog and listen to (some) friends, i start to feel that everything and everyone around me is telling me (warning me) to watch how much weight i gain. and i have to be honest, bagel-love aside, i am getting a little nervous. especially as i wasn’t sick enough to actually throw up during my first trimester, i was just sick enough to need to eat bagels (and anything sufficiently bready) twice a day for a month or two. in my experience, bagels don’t help diets. and no, i shouldn’t be on a diet (and believe me, i’m not). and there is a big part of me (mostly in the form of my husband) that is telling me to ignore the judgmental southern californian in me and just make sure that i’m healthy and happy and for the love of god, get off the scale. but that bitch just won’t get out of me, no matter how far away from california i move and no matter how much therapy i go to…

anyway, suffice it to say, i’m enjoying my bagels, whether my conscious is always happy with the choice or not.

pregnant barbie: exactly.

 

life and death

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wow. such a whirlwind two days.

yesterday, we had our two week scan, as evidenced by baby doofus here:

baby doofus at twelve weeks

it was absolutely amazing. everything has been, of course, but after a month of just me, daddy doofus and the baby all on our own, i was a bit anxious to get back into the doctor’s and make sure everything was okay. there were a few days where i wasn’t sick or tired and felt “normal” and then i would stop, panic and think: what if something is wrong!!

of course, nothing was wrong and the little one is perfectly fine. more than fine, actually. you can’t tell at all in the photo, because the photo was nearly impossible to take as the baby was kicking and flipping and rolling over nonstop. my husband, the doctor and i were all laughing as she kept trying to get a photo and flip, baby would move again and we’d be looking at his/her spine… it was so cool to see, i’ve been playing it over and over again in my head ever since.

it was the first time that i felt like i had a real little baby coming and it really is just so exciting.

of course, then there’s the other side: my grandmother passed away yesterday at 5:20pm (pacific standard time or, the middle of the night for me) and i’m just left feeling… far away.

my grandmother and grandfather on their honeymoon in the dominican republic haiti (damn, laura, pay more attention to your grandma!)

she and i were quite close and though we had our issues at times (i didn’t always deal well with the particular brand of guilt that comes with having a jewish new jersian for a grandmother), there wasn’t a better feeling in the world than feeling her soft hand on the nape of my neck, softly and smoothly rubbing.

she had a difficult life and i get the feeling that i don’t even know most of it, but i do know for sure that she was a survivor. i always felt immensely blessed as a girl to have such powerful women all around me – my mother and both my grandmothers are all impressive, in their different ways.

she fought with my grandfather passionately, scoffed at my dad and aunt, guilted my brother and i and yet none of us ever had a bigger supporter in life than her. her sense of humor was one of her biggest assets and as she aged, her sarcasm and wit stayed keen and sharp. though she moved to california soon after we did (when i was three), she never considered herself a californian and would often remark on the “crazy” she’d see all around her, shaking her head and snorting, “californians”.

when i moved to san francisco, she started writing me letters on her typewriter and when i moved to portland, she switched to writing them by hand, as the typewriter got too difficult for her ever-shaking hands. she continued writing to me all throughout spain and when finally it was too much to write, she’d ‘speak’ through newspaper articles, sending me bits of the comics, circled typos she noticed and thought i’d appreciate and articles about my hometown, so i didn’t miss anything. i still have them all in binders, the older ones from san francisco and portland at home in my parents garage with all my books and the newer ones here with me.

i don’t know if i was the best granddaughter, but she often told me that i was. at the very least, i gave her my wedding. i won’t pretend to claim that i had my wedding in san diego because of her, as there were many people who wouldn’t have been able to come had we married in europe, but i knew then how much it meant to her and i’m so happy that she was able to be there.

my two grandmothers, my husband, myself and my little brother (who is also a doofus)

my mom said that she got a chance to print out the picture of the baby and show it to her in the hospital. and though she was in a semi-coma, my mom believes that she saw it and knew and luckily, i got to tell her about the baby before she went.

she was ninety years old and it was a peaceful ending to a bumpy but beautiful life, and she will be missed.