Tuesday, August 31, 2004

So Long First Trimester

Believe it or not, I'm in the 12th week of pregnancy. I don't believe it, so I don't expect you to, either. I'm still terribly surprised when the doctors find someone in there. I went for a CVS last week, but they couldn't do it because of the retro-ness of my uterus (so hip, my inner organs!) and the position of the placenta, so we'll just wait for the amnio. I didn't want one the first time, but for some reason it's more important with this one. Maybe it's because all the doctors keep putting the fear of G_d in me by making such a big deal about my Advanced Maternal Age (I'll be 39 when I deliver). I'm surprised they don't suggest orthopedic shoes and a cane.

It hasn't been that bad, I guess - I've been nauseated maybe a couple of days, tops. I go to the bathroom often, but that's nothing new. But the exhaustion - that's tough. It's a bone-crushing exhaustion where my body just feels full of lead. You'd think lying down would help, but really, what happens is I lie there and think, "Now I'm horizontal and filled with lead instead of vertical and filled with lead."

In other news: I do mystery shopping every once in a while. Then I use the money to buy toys and videos for A. off e-bay. I did "a shop" (as we say in our special lingo) today at a sunglass store. I always feel bad for the poor sales clerk who is probably making just above minumum wage and isn't showing me all the FEATURES and BENEFITS of a product ("The BENEFITS arise from the FEATURES" says the shopping company - woe to you if you get them mixed up). I try to prompt them ("Are these durable? Are they dark enough for driving? Could I be any more obvious, sweetie? And you're still not figuring it out when I don't blink at the price and return them half an hour later?")

Less than one week until A. turns two. There are a bunch of gift ideas on my wish lists to the left, hint hint. And, let's not forget my birthday in less than two months. Thank you very much.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Put it in Play

We went to Toyota's Put It In Play today. All free, all good. I didn't think I'd do any of the driving games, but I got into the relay/tag race and the redlight/greenlight games. Didn't win any (I was robbed!) but G. did quite well and won us (with a little help from brother-in-law Steve's car-a-oke) 2 DVDs. G, sister R. and BIL Steve did "Capture the Flag" - this is a shot of them running around the car switching seats. A. liked throwing the wet balls at the passing cars in Dodgeball until they got all gross and dirty. And the family (minus me) took out a bunch of little kids and one big guy in Team Dodgeball.

We had to fill out a survey at the end to get our prizes. How likely is this event to get us to buy a Toyota when we buy our next car? Did this event convince us that Toyota is a hip and fun brand? Well, since the whole thing was 70's themed, and I'm someone who came of age in the 70's, not really.

Friday, August 27, 2004

A Few Random Reviews

Dreyer's Grand Lite Fudge Tracks Ice Cream: G bought this by mistake, thinking it was a simple fudge marble (I'm in year 4 of my campaign to get him to read labels), so imagine our surprise to bite into this ice cream masquerading as fudge marble and finding little chunks of chocolate. What's more...when we bit into these little chunks of chocolate, peanut butter flavor came out! Now, I'm not a big fan of peanut-butter/chocolate combos. They're OK, but I'd rather spend my chocolate calories on chocolate/caramel combos. However, I've found myself buying Fudge Tracks on purpose now, even though I know it's not really fudge marble. There's something very pleasurable about being surprised by those tiny chocolatey peanut butter cups - they're so small you're not really ever sure when you're going to get one. (Wow, could I change tenses or points of reference any more in this paragraph?)

Sesame Street: Do we need Zoe? We already had Elmo, the whiney preschooler, so what's the point of Zoe? Whatever happened to Snuffleupagus? I know I'm dating myself when I reveal that I remember when he was introduced and for the longest time only Big Bird could see him. Gordon and Susan were just about to have B. Bird committed for hallucinations when Snuffley finally revealed himself. My suggestion for Zoe disposal (I've decided we don't need her) is to have Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin as a guest and have him feed her to the alligators and then say, "It's nature's way!"

Our Diswasher: We have a Kenmore Quiet Clean Plus. Although it cleans dishes, it does not dry them, despite the supposed existence of a half-hour long "dry" cycle. And, if cereal (esp. Honey Bunches of Oats) has hardened on bowls for several days, it has difficulty dislodging the nuggets from the ceramic bowls, which shouldn't surprise anyone except G (another campaign I've been working on). And you have to use a monkey wrench to turn the dial to get it to start. Since there's a drawer right next to the dishwasher in which a wrench rests, this is not a huge problem.

Annie's Natural Cheddar and Shells: Nice, mild cheddar flavor, good fake orange color, and the shells hold the sauce very conveniently. However, for best results, mix the powder into the milk and butter before you add the shells. Otherwise, the orange powder will gather in the shells before being mixed and just cause a big powdery headache. Or maybe it's the toddler sitting in his chair screaming, "Macky Cheese! Macky Cheese!" that causes the headache. Best to maximize your chances of getting through this meal headache-free and 1. not tell your toddler you're making macky cheese until it's completely done and cooled off and 2. mix the powder and milk first. Let my headache be your salvation.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Sheer Folly

I obviously angered the parenting gods yesterday by reveling in my afternoon off. A., who has slept through the night for the past 6 months, woke up about 6 times last night, sniffling, coughing and whining. He fell asleep quickly each time, but not for long.

And we've had no less than 6 complete meltdowns today (ooooh, 666 - obviously those Methodist 8th graders put a hex on me). You know the kind: he gets so upset and has so many tears and so much snot running down his face that there's no way he can indicate what's upsetting or what he wants. He does not, however, want anything to do with me or G. at the time and dismisses us with a hand-push (I don't know what else to call it when they're mad and mime pushing you away). But eventually he forgets what he was so upset about and can only collapse on my shoulder and moan. Poor guy. This is unusual for him. Usually he's got pretty strong frustration tolerance for an almost 2-year-old.

I sort of figured out most of the meltdowns, but one where he was sooo upset about not getting his macaroni and cheese quickly enough ("macky-cheese!") that he wasn't even consoled when I put it right in front of him (I forsake the boil method and pulled out the precious but quick microwave single servings). He still criiiiiieeeed and whiiiined and we could not figure out what the hell was wrong. A different spoon? Too hot? Milk? It soon became clear that he didn't know what was wrong either, so we ignored him until he chilled and started eating. Then he ate it all. ::::shrug::::

Went to Food Source today - our local cheap grocery place. The clerk was a fairly cute teenage boy who was quite personable. We discussed the coupons available in their recent ad, and I lamented that I'd missed the one for free cereal. He confided to me that employees don't need to actually have the coupons to get the deals. Then he said, quite regretfully, "but we're not hiring right now." How did he know I was looking for work (albeit in Oregon)? Is this a sign that I should seek out opportunities in grocery retail outlets? Hmmmmm.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

A Few Perfect Hours

G's brother and his family are in town from Oregon, so we were supposed to go play and have dinner with them where they're staying, about an hour away. Last night G. asked if wanted to go, and I said, "I sort of assumed I was." Then the brain started working. Hmmmm. Maybe I don't HAVE to go. Maybe I can send G. and A. off into the sunset and have a couple of hours here alone! By myself! Without the monitor on!

So I did. I like these people very much, but when a hectic afternoon with family and 7 kids is compared with a few hours off-duty....well, I think we all know what the answer is.

Here's what I did: wrote in my journal, napped, ate potato chips and cottage cheese (that's what I eat when I'm pregnant), read an entire magazine, surfed the internet, and weeded out some of my old magazines that have piled up in our bedroom. Oh, and just to be productive, a load of laundry which I'm waiting on right now so we can sleep on clean sheets tonight. I loooove clean sheets. I'm craving chocolate, and found a box of sugar-free chocolate pudding in the cabinet, so I made it and you know what? I can't finish it. I only ate about half (everyone knows that one of those little boxes = one serving). What's wrong with me? Guess I'll have to finish it tomorrow.

It was a good evening. Sleeping for most of it makes it go by too fast, but still felt good. G. came home a few hours ago, said the trip was fun but exhausting and promptly passed out on the unmade bed. I'm gonna have to go push him off the bed now so I can sleep on the nice clean sheets.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Insurance Companies are Evil

I hate insurance companies. No, Bitch, I did not change my client's diagnosis just to get you guys to pay for more sessions (although you should because, believe it or not, not everyone gets cured in 20 sessions a year). Perhaps I discovered some new clinical information that caused me to change the diagnosis. Perhaps she finally decided to tell me about the panic attacks she's had since childhood and just never felt like mentioning before. Perhaps I'm an ethical clinician who changes diagnoses when it's appropriate. Perhaps you are my own personal Satan.

OK, OK, take off the crankypants and think of some good things:

1. A. is too young for school which means we don't have to spend money we don't have on school supplies and new clothes.

2. It doesn't cost anything to walk around the reservoir (except if you count gas money, which I don't - we're talking about my sanity here, people).

3. I've lost 10 lbs. this pregnancy although you can't tell. I started out about 15 lbs heavier than I was when I got pregnant with A., so I've got it to spare. I'm not obese, just kinda pudgy.

4. My father is recovering well from his open-heart surgery.

5. Both my sisters are nurses (well, they're hospital IT people now, but they will always be nurses in our family) and I'm not, which means father and stepmother turn to them for medical advice and leave me the heck out of it. (I suppose I could offer some advice on coping with illness and recovery, but they don't want that, either).

6. We were not out of strawberry jam this morning, as I feared. I found a lovely new jar of Trader Joe's organic Strawberry spread in the back of the cabinet, which prevented a toasty tantrum from A. Who, it might be noted, just asked for a second piece of toast and is sitting in his high chair quite emphatically NOT eating it.

7. Looks like the weather's gonna be nice today.

8. Found some juicy good blogs yesterday. See right-hand sidebar for new additions.

9. I washed my hair yesterday morning, which means I don't have to do it today.

10. Ditto for the shaving of the legs.

I think I should be nominated for freakin' Pollyanna of the Year, huh?

Edited to add: Somehow I ended up with a referral from the Exodus 8th Grade Sunday School Class of Custer Road United Methodist Church. Perhaps I should cut down on the Satan references and the swearing. Nah.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Mama Tyson

So when you take your kid to the park and there's a water feature that gets them all wet, you don't have to give them a bath that night, right?


I am exhausted from playing defensive tackle at the park today. At first it was a lovely scene, sweet toddlers splashing in the water and digging in the sand. But then a hush fell over the playground as every parent at the park looked up with horror to see our worst nightmare descend upon us: 3 buses full of 12-year-old ruffians from some day camp. Their staff lounged in the shade while the hoodlums filled buckets with water to throw at each other. A. got creamed a couple of times and I came very close to acting like a crazed hockey player and doing whatever it took to spill blood in his defense. One staff person was yelling at a kid, "Is that your bucket? NO? PUT IT DOWN!" Like as long as he owned the bucket, throwing water was fine. I turned into one of those mothers who sort of makes exhasperated sounds and shoots dirty looks when an older kids unintentionally sends a tidal wave over my toddler, and it scared me. I mean, one poor kid even apologized but I'd just had it and did sort of a "uuh!" response. Yikes. I'm turning into one of those moms I hated when I was a kid.

This is why I hate playground scenes. There's all this negotiating with yourself about how independent you let them be, how much you interfere when a kid you don't know is being a bully or just careless. Do you shoo away older kids when they climb the structure for toddlers? I know I watch A. pretty closely and always intervene when he tries to grab or push, which is really pretty rare. And, of course I am SO annoyed when a hooligan isn't being corrected and I can't even tell if anyone's here with him. But I have a toddler. A slow one, at that, who is easy to catch. He's not terribly impulsive or aggressive, so I recognize that it's easier for me, and that that has everything to do with luck and temperment, and very little to do with my stellar parenting. He's not even 2 - it's easy to defend him and easy to anticipate his frustrations (sometimes).

Still, it bugs me. I don't want to hover or fight all of A's battles. But at what point do you stand back and let them figure it out on their own? And at what point do you show your child, "Hey, you shouldn't be treated that way and I'm not going to let them hurt you"?

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Reality TV, Schmeality TV

Ack! How did I miss this? I thought the first Joe Schmo was fascinating - mostly for the actor's reactions as they started feeling guilty for lying to Matt. I also loved the plate-throwing ceremony: "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.....you're dead to us." Apparently there's a chick on this one, too. Has anyone seen the second one? Hopefully they continued to get actors with consciences, because that's what made the first one fun.

Monday, August 16, 2004

More amusement from my baby center newsletter about my 23-month old:

"Does your toddler ignore you? He's not doing it on purpose; it takes time
and practice to learn how to listen well. Help him out by keeping your
requests simple and clear, getting down on his level when you want his
attention, and giving him your ear when he wants to talk especially when it
has to do with how he feels about something."

Hmmmm. Who are these people with 23-month-olds that talk about how they feel? Does "Dwaw Twain! Dwaw twain dwaw train DWAW TWAIN..." said in a escalating voice count? And how the h*ll do I not give him my ear when he's whining and tugging on me and demanding that I draw the 467th train of the day? Hey, I'm all for parents listening to how their kids feel about things. But when one of the parties is 23 months old, it's not exactly a therapy session.

Friday, August 13, 2004


I just want y'all to know that I am #11 on a yahoo search for "blow-up doll" "deflated" "photos". You'd think there'd be more call for photos of a deflated blow-up doll.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Back to Cool California

It was 103 degrees in Portland. And we slept on the top floor of an un-air-conditioned house with two small windows and several fans that ran all night. I told G., "If we move here, we gotta get a/c." Now that I've lived with it, I can't live without it.

And yeah, we're thinking of moving there. G. grabbed the real estate and jobs classifieds from the Portland paper and it looks like we could afford a lot more house there. Plus, there'd be trees. And family (i.e. babysitters).

G.'s already called realtors in our area. There's this realtor named Les who gives out tomato plants in the spring, notepads all year long, hosts a pumpkin patch in October and an ice cream social in summer. We see this guy's face all over the city. Imagine my surprise at finding a message on our answering machine tonight from none other than the tomato-giver himself! And he left his cell phone number! I feel like I've had a brush with fame.

Moving would be stressful. Jobs are not as plentiful up there, and we don't have any professional contacts, which would be necessary to set up private practice. You don't have to be licensed to provide mental health services in Oregon, which means lots of jobs go to unlicensed (i.e. cheap) workers. I haven't found one opening for a psychologist in the metro area.

I'd hate to leave my other sister who lives about 40 minutes away. I'd hate to leave my friends. But I just keep seeing all those trees. I've always dreamed of living in a place with lots of trees. My current city ain't it. And with the housing prices the way they are around here, we're pretty much stuck here. Our house has gained almost $200,000 in value in the last 4 years. But, all the other, more tree-full towns around us have gone up a similiar amount. So. we're stuck here if we want to stay in the Bay Area.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Quick change of plans

I'm currently embedded in Portland, OR. A few hours after G's mom and sister arrived in CA on Friday, we heard that his grandma (G's mom's mom) had died, so we all headed up here yesterday. They went to mass, and being the bad daughter-in-law, I'm savoring a bit of time here alone.

One thing I love about Portland is the trees. They're freakin' everywhere. This is quite a contrast to our neck of the woods, where people cut down trees every day. They're too messy, they get tangled in the wires, they might hurt the house's foundation. ?????? Back in Berkeley, where I used to live, you needed a dispensation from the pope to cut down a tree.

It's supposed to be hot today and we left our A/C in California.

Enough griping - G's grandma lived to be 100 years old. She was quite a woman - I met her at the party for her 96th birthday and she was still living alone and walking 3 miles a day. The last year had been really hard for her because she'd lost her eyesight so couldn't do any of the things she used to love. Now she's in a better place (I believe), and has left the world with many devoted children and grandchildren. Thanks, Catherine, for begetting Joan, who begot my husband and A's papa.

Friday, August 06, 2004


I might be just a little scarce over the next few days. G's mom and sister are coming to visit and G's afraid that if I work on the blog while they're here, his mom will figure out what I'm doing and find the blog and read it and chaos will ensue. Wonder what would happen if she found my Prozac? We may find out.

They want to go to museums, but they especially want to go to the Bargain Bank I took them to last time where they found $1 bottles of wine.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Letter to the Bean

Well, it's a pretty good day
I'm lookin' forward to tomorrow

Dear Bean,

Today we saw your heartbeat. I was prepared for the news that you had left us, since I thought my hormones had dropped off too fast and I suddenly had no pregnancy symptoms. But, no - you've been growing right on schedule and your little heart is going gangbusters inside of me.

You look more like a blob than your big brother did. I don't mean to compare you two, or to suggest that there's anything wrong with looking like a blob. After all, I think he was older when we first saw him. He was facing the ultrasound full-on in all his gummy-bear wonder - arms and legs splayed out. You're more laid-back: "Hey, here I am. No worries. Geez, CHILL, Mom."

I hope you know that I do want you. You are as much my child as A. is. I just haven't really met you yet. Something you'll learn about me is that I'm pretty much against change, as a rule. But, I do adapt eventually. A. will show you the ropes - but don't take his advice on sleeping. It took him WAY too long to sleep through the night. I'm confident that you'll beat him in that area. Again, not to compare you two. But, if you want your mother's undying gratitude, you'll sleep through the night earlier than he did, and you are allowed to remind him of your prowess in that area whenever it suits your needs.

So it looks like you'll be making your debut around mid-March. I promise that it will be easier for you to come into the world - your brother banged into my cervix so hard and for so long that he had a big ol' ridge on his head, and he ended up coming out the side door anyway. The labor was so long he was kind of distressed when he finally made it out, and I promise not to put you through that.

So, we look forward to welcoming you to our family. We're glad you're here.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

OK, I'll bite...

I found The Birdherder's challenge on H's blog.

1. What time do you get up in the morning?
Usually somewhere between 7 and 8 am.

2. If you could eat lunch with one living person who would it be?
The Dalai Lama. But, I'd also really like to see how my junior high boyfriend turned out.

3. Gold or Silver?
Silver. I've always preferred silver.

4. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Oh man. Ummm.....Under the Tuscan Sun, I think. It was quite a while ago.

5. What is/are your favourite TV Shows?
On my must-see list: Survivor, The Apprentice, Alias, and West Wing.

6. What did you have for breakfast?
2 bowls of Rice Krispies.

7. Who would you hate to be stuck in a room with?
Ann Coulter. Makes my skin crawl.

8. What is your middle name?

9. Beach, City, Country, or Mountains
Live in the city, visit the mountains.

10. Favourite Ice Cream?
Don't have one. I give mint chocolate chip, cookies and creme, macademia nut, jamoca almond fudge and rocky road all equal time.

11. Butter, Plain or Salted popcorn?
Plain, salted. I hate soggy popcorn.

12. Favourite Colours?

13. What kind of car do you drive?
When I've got A, a Mazda 626; when I'm alone, a Mazda Protege.

14. Favourite sandwich?
The Napoletano (fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with vinagrette on a sweet roll) from A.G. Ferrari.

15. Who do you despise?
See #7. Although I can't say I really despise anyone. Just find her terribly annoying.

16. Favourite flower?

17. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
Probably the Carribbean, since I've never been.

18. What colour is your bathroom?
Blegh-y brown.

19. Favourite brand of clothing?
Right now I like Land's End, but I've also liked I.N.C. and Eileen Fisher (if I could afford it). I buy some J. Jill, too.

20. Where would you retire?
I think Arizona is a nice place to retire, but Santa Barbara would be cool, too.

21. Favourite day of the week?
Hmmm. I really don't have one.

22. What did you do for your last birthday?
Went to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival.

23. Where were you born?
Same city I live in now. But we moved when I was 7 months old, and I ended up back here at 34 years old.

24. Favourite sport to watch on TV?
Football. Sometimes tennis, but that never lasts long.

25. Who do you least expect to send this back to you?
answer in the comments?
Like H, people read and don't comment, so I can't tell you who they are.

26. Person you expect to send back answer first?
Or comment? I guess H. or Marcia. They're pretty reliable.

27. What fabric detergent do you use?
All Free and Clear.

28. Coke or Pepsi?
Caffeine-Free Diet Coke. All the way.

29. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
A night owl by nature, morning person by necessity.

30. What is your shoe size?
7 - 7.5

31. Do you have any pets?
2 goldfish.

32. Who sent this to you?
I saw it first on H's site.

33. Bacon or sausage?
Crispy bacon. Blegh on sausage.

34. What booze do you choose?
Whatever's being offered. But if I had to choose, either Edna Valley Chardonnay or Sterling Vineyards Cabernet. I also really like Amaretto Sours and Mojitos.

35. Done any jail time?
Nope. But I've assessed people in jail.

36. Are you gay?
Nope, not even a little bit. Although in the past I have thought it would be easier.

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