Tuesday, December 23, 2008

5 Day Weekend!!

I am about to leave work to start my 5 day weekend. Yay!! The husband is very lucky because he actually doesn't go back to work until January 5.

Here's the plan for my extended weekend: my parents will be visiting for Christmas, I'm baking lots of cookies and maybe even some biscotti, I will do lots of crafty stuff like scrapbooking and card making, and I'll play around with our new camera. Oh, and my new laptop arrives tomorrow so I'll have fun with that.

Happy Holidays!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lots to Do

We had a very busy weekend! We got our Christmas tree on Saturday. Noodles is the only one that really noticed when the tree arrived and he was quite hesitant at first. But now he loves to sit by it, sniff it, play with the water in the watering dish, and knock off ornaments.

On Saturday morning, the husband joined me at pilates. He was quite impressed with the intensity of the workout and was still a little sore on Monday.

Christmas came early this year – we bought a Canon SLR! It’s the Rebel XSi and we love it. Now we are ready for the baby! We got lots of practice taking cat pictures this weekend. The weather was rainy and cold, otherwise we would have taken the cats outside for a photo shoot. And we actually watched the informational video that came with the camera (it’s about 1.5 hours long) and got lots of great pointers.

So here are some pictures:


Noodles likes to sleep in the tent next to the Christmas tree.


Nice picture of Noodles.

I will have more later. Most of the pictures we’ve already taken are in raw format and we still need to install the camera software onto our computer to convert these images.

Over the weekend we also rearranged the guest/baby room in preparation for our visitor this weekend.

And finally on Sunday we watched the Patriots kills the Raiders. We watched the broadcast on our tiny tv at home. The reception was bad, but at least we didn't have to eat bar food this weekend. Oh, and I just found out that Eli Manning got sacked 8 times in the Cowboys vs. Giants game on Saturday. Nice! The Cowboys are now my second favorite team.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Dreams

Another pregnancy change that I’ve discovered is that my dreams are a lot more vivid and … sometimes weird. I don’t have nightmares and I rarely dream about the baby. Instead, my dreams are more about everyday stuff – some realistic and others not really. I had two dreams last night that I remember; one was stressful and unlikely to happen and the other had my husband laughing on our way in to work in the morning. I’m also amazed at who makes an appearance in my dreams. I think most people I know have been in my dreams at one time or another. In retrospect I try to figure out why that person was in my dream. Most likely it’s because I thought about them or had some contact with them (exchanged emails, etc.) during the day.

So let me know if you want to show up in my dreams. I’m sure it will be an interesting story.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pregnancy Tidbits

A few weeks ago, I started noticing that the baby was quite active as I was getting ready to fall asleep in bed. But if I tossed and turned during the night or got up to drink water, I would rarely feel the baby move. I was quite please with this because usually a baby's routine in utero will be similar to a baby's initial routine outside the womb. However, the past week I've been getting kicked a lot more as I fall asleep and it's getting painful. I don't know what organs the baby is poking, but they sure are sensitive. And, I got up during the night last night and when I got back in bed, I got poked. Not good.

To conclude our labor and delivery classes, we went on a tour of the hospital's labor and maternity wards. Our local hospital has a nice facility. You are guaranteed a private delivery room, equipped with rocking chair, tv, shower, tub, and lots of other goodies. You will also get either a private or semi-private recovery room. A typical stay for a vaginal delivery is 2 days and for a c-section is 4 days. Oh, yeah, I really don't want a c-section. But I guess 1 in 4 women end up with a c-section, so I'm trying to mentally prepare for that possibility.

The hospital also allows two other visitors in the delivery room, in addition to the partner. Oh, and most deliveries are not the way they are depicted in the movies - with loads of screaming and swearing. Most likely the mom will become almost entranced as she enters the final stage of labor - pushing - which can last from 5 minutes to 1 hour. By this time, the contractions and urge to push are 3-5 minutes apart.

So there's your pregnancy lesson for tonight.

What Else Have Do You Have for Us, Mr. Bush?

"The Bush administration has rushed through a last-minute gun rule...The Interior Department published a rule last week that will allow loaded, concealed weapons in nearly all of this country’s national parks."

"Right now, the National Parks are among the very safest places in this country, according to the F.B.I. The presence of concealed, loaded weapons is likely to change that, and it also is likely to pose an increased threat to wildlife."

I guess we'll wait until Obama repeals that law to take our Yosemite vacation. From The New York Times.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Another Week

Once again I won more free burritos at Chipotle. Note that I’ve only been to Chipotle twice since the last time I won (sometime over the summer), and I’ve only put my business card in the fishbowl once. I’m starting to get a little creeped out. But my coworkers are always happy with the free food. Maybe it’s just karma for all the loyalty the husband and I (and any classmates who would join us) showed Chipotle during our grad school days – we would eat there almost every day.

Saturday night my friend, Christine, and I made paella. It turned out pretty good. The paella flavor was a little bland so next time we’ll need to add a little more salt (or appropriate spice). Christine went to Spain over the summer and she was our authenticity check. She liked the paella. As an appetizer we made patatas bravas, which is like home fries in a mayo based sauce with lots of different spices – thyme, paprika, Tabasco, parsley. The patatas bravas were really good, but next time I would use a lower sauce to potatoes ratio.

On Sunday we watched the Patriots vs. Seahawks game. It was great to watch the Patriots win, but they really need to work on their defense. The Pats defense made Seattle look good (and not like a 2-10 team). We also watched bits of the Cowboys vs. Steelers game. The bar was full of both sets of fans and it was quite an exciting game. However, I was really disappointed that the Steelers won. This was a hard game for me to pick a side, but I decided I hate Steelers fans more than I don’t like the Cowboys. Plus, I kind of like some of the Cowboys fans (Jaime, Pablo), and I’m happy when they are happy.

Over the weekend we tried to install the car seat and we had a really hard time. I’m afraid our car seat won’t be compatible with our old, 1996 Toyota Corolla. We got the top of the line car seat (highly recommended by Consumer Reports), but maybe now we need to get a better car (I vote for a Toyota Rav 4). On Wednesday we have a consultation with a car seat expert at Stanford’s Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. It’s a free service in case anyone in the area is interested.

During our second labor and delivery class last week, we discussed all the drug options – narcotics, epidural, etc. Before the class I was convinced I wanted to get an epidural as soon as I checked into the hospital. Now I want a drug-free delivery. An epidural would be the best option since it only affects the mother. But there is a narrow window of administration (not too early nor late), it takes a while to take effect, and it will usually draw make the labor longer. Narcotics can be administered at any time, but they have a potential of suppressing the baby’s respiration. But what motivates me to have a drug-free delivery is the challenge. I know this sounds kind of morbid, but I feel up to the challenge of labor and feel that I can get through it. The class has prepared me with great techniques for getting through painful contractions and having my husband around as my coach will really motivate me.

But then again, I’m trying to keep an open mind and trying not to equate my use of drugs as a failure. I’m sure that after 16+ hours of labor, with slow progress, I (and my doctors) might be thinking differently. The husband, on the other hand, thinks epidurals should also be administered to spouses.

Here are a few more tidbits/observations:
Last week we had spotty internet service, at best. It was ok for the first couple of days. But as the week progressed and we lost our networking ability (no access to our computer cluster, the printers, etc.), it got really difficult to make any progress. My coworkers and I were walking around the office with our memory sticks, trying to get files from each other. On the other hand, our Google wifi at home has been working great.

Gas is so cheap nowadays. We paid $1.89 on Friday. Wow! How low can it go?

In the last few months I’ve noticed that drivers have been worse than usual. Cell phones are usually the reason, although California has a law that you can’t use your cell phone as you drive (you must use a hands-free device). I see cars swerving, not yielding correctly, getting cut-off by another car and purposely cutting-off the car back for revenge – on the freeway!

We had sushi for dinner tonight. I mostly stuck to the cooked rolls, but I did cheat a little. It was sooo good.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Monkey is Sooo Bad

She came home without her collar last night. That's the second collar she's lost.

Monkey slept on top of me all night. Any time I moved she would scream, hiss, and growl.

Gotta love the Monkey.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Holiday Weekend

Thanksgiving was great this year. We headed south about 1 hour to hang out with the husband’s cousins. The wife is a horse vet and they have a nice, new spread with lots of land, 4 horses, 4 dogs, and 2 cats. Most of the dinner ingredients were either grown by the cousins or bought locally and you could really taste the difference. Dinner included turkey, stuffing with andouille sausage, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, fresh baked bread, squash soup, roasted squash, roasted beets, green beans, asparagus, and cornbread. Despite the copious amounts of food, the 6 of us at dinner managed to make a big dent in the food. For desert we had a pumpkin roll and a pumpkin-chocolate-pecan cake I made that was actually quite good (NY Times recipe). And of course, there was a lot of great wine (I sniffed a lot of good wine). The wine provoked a couple hour discussion on the biggest American band of all time. I’m not sure what the consensus was.

There weren’t a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers, so I didn’t have an over-fill of Thanksgiving food, and now I’m craving turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy. I don’t expect any restaurant will have food that’s as good as what we had over the weekend.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing not very much. I had a super long to-do list but didn’t get many items crossed off my list. My friend Christine and I went shopping in Union Square in San Francisco. We checked out the huge Macy’s Christmas tree and hit a bunch of stores. I didn’t buy any Christmas presents, but mostly bought goodies for me. I used to think I wasn’t much of a shopper. And I’m not when it comes to clothes for myself. But I love shopping for house stuff. I bought a paella pan and a Spanish paella and tapas recipe book. I can’t wait to try out my new toys this weekend.

I have some pictures. These aren’t relevant to anything I’ve written about in this post, but I haven’t put up pictures in a while, so here you go:

Here’s Monkey sleeping on the warm dishwasher door. She has a funny way of sleeping where she likes to place her chin flat on the ground, instead of propping it on her paws.



And here is Monkey wearing her Santa’s Little Helper shirt.



To end on a depressing note, did anyone watch the Patriots vs. Steelers game on Sunday? The first half was good. The second half was a joke. I lost track of the Patriots’ turnovers and horrible plays. The worst thing about the loss was losing to the Steelers. I really don’t like Steelers fans. The Steelers are a good team and they deserved the win, but the Steelers fans went crazy happy when Welker was taken out of the game with a late hit. The hit wasn’t that dirty, it was just late. And it was little Wes Welker vs. a huge Steelers’ player. Still, a good fan would not cheer when a player is injured. But then again, I am talking about Steelers fans.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Both a weekend and midweek update in one day!

I am happy to report that we are now Comcast free!! We managed to get the free Google wifi working for us, using a signal booster. Since we don’t really watch tv, we figured we could cancel Comcast altogether. Yay!!

We just started watching season 5 of The Wire. We are half way through and totally hooked. They definitely are going out with a bang! If you haven’t seen this HBO series, I definitely recommend it. It took us a few episodes in season 1 to get into the series, so don’t give up too early. The Wire is probably my favorite HBO series, followed by Rome, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Sopranos. Deadwood is another good series, but it can be a little gory and intense for me. If you watch Deadwood, pay attention to the dialogue because it’s really good, almost Shakespearean.

We started our labor and delivery class last night. It’s a 9 hour class over 3 days. We watched a birth on video last night. I was a little nervous it would gross me out because I tend to get queasy with gross stuff, but actually it was quite fascinating. The husband, on the other hand, is more convinced that he needs to be somewhere else during delivery. Too bad he doesn’t really have a choice. During the video, when the mom saw her baby, she said “that doesn’t look like a baby.” And it was true. When babies are born, they are usually covered in a layer of something (can’t remember what it’s called) that kind of looks like Crisco. It’s to protect and help get their skin used to the new environment. But it also makes the baby look like a white alien.

In addition to the typical signs for the onset of labor (water breaking, labor pains), there are a few other ones that could signal the start of labor. These signs included a nesting behavior, where the mom suddenly goes into a getting ready frenzy. This kind of freaked me out because over the weekend, I had a bit of a nesting frenzy myself. I started reorganizing the house and was hanging up pictures, moving stuff into the garage, organizing my crafts. I had also noticed a shift in the baby’s position and now I feel as if I’m carrying the baby lower (the baby “dropping” is another sign of labor). But I’m hopefully just being paranoid because we are only at 29.5 weeks and the baby needs to bake for another 2 months.

In taking these classes, we’ve figured out that most people find out the sex of the baby before it’s born. We tend to be the only couple waiting for a surprise out of 10-15 couples. I find that odd. But then again, I find it very odd that I myself am really excited about waiting. I guess my competitive self beat out the control freak in me.

I love mole, especially when my dad makes it. Making mole is a very involved process, so I don’t usually request that my dad make it for me. But it’s become customary for my dad to have 1 or 2 frozen containers of mole for us to bring home whenever we visit him. The recipe calls for at least 4 different types of dried chilies, sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, and chocolate, in addition to another 10-15 ingredients. There are different types of mole, too, such as sweeter, spicier, and even green mole. Each region in Mexico has its own unique style of mole. My dad’s tends to be spicier with the flavor of the chilies really obvious. Mole is usually made with chicken, but my uncle’s tell me that my grandmother’s signature recipe is turkey mole (I’ve never had it). I’ve also had mole with fish (the fish choice wasn’t great) and with potatoes (fantastic). My dad has also mentioned mole with different kinds of squash. Maybe with leftover turkey, I’ll try to make mole. Oh, and what’s the best beverage to accompany mole?? Coke. Seriously.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

Another Good But Busy Weekend

Here’s the highlight reel:

We completed another one of our baby classes – baby care. I am really glad we took the class because I feel a lot more confident that we won’t screw up too badly. I am sure we’ll constantly do things wrong but hopefully they will all be minor mistakes and we’ll be smart enough and observant enough to not mess up with the big things. Here is an interesting tidbit...did you know that babies knead? Yup, soon after they are born they start kneading very similar to cats to help get the milk going for breastfeeding. For the first week or so, not only will we need to monitor the baby’s milk consumption, we’ll also have to keep track of the pees and poos. The instructor passed around a chart with pictures of…well, you can imagine. They also taught us how to swaddle and soothe the baby. We saw part of The Happiest Baby on the Block and it was amazing to see a baby go from screaming to completely quiet and relaxed in a matter of seconds. The trick – swaddling and the reverse football hold (imagine carrying a football, except the baby’s face faces away from your body).

We also got the crib delivered this weekend. We inherited our friend’s crib and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Once we get the guest/baby room more organized, we’ll be sure to send out pictures. Surprisingly, the cats haven’t jumped in the crib yet. They probably associate the crib with my friend’s two little girls who gave the cats more attention than they wanted. But the cats were great. They tolerated all the petting, holding, and running around without a single scratch. Phew! I think they will be excellent with the baby.

Over the weekend we went to the Computer History Museum with our friend Leonard, who was visiting from NY. It was ok. Definitely not my thing, but there were a couple of great highlights. I enjoyed the demonstration of the Babbage Difference Engine No. 2. It’s really a remarkable machine made of over 8000 parts. Mr. Babbage came up with the design over 150 years ago but it was finally built in 2002. It takes a brilliant mind to design something so complicated (so many moving pieces!) without the help of computers. I also enjoyed some of the old computers they had on display such as the recipe organizer from the 70’s that cost $10,000 but you had to input/output everything in binary. Useful.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Weekend Update

So this weekend we did something that we rarely do...we went to the movies. On Sunday afternoon we checked out the new Bond movie. It was pretty good – action packed but not too over the top and not too long. Plus, the new Bond guy is hot.

Overall the weekend was quite busy but fun. We had brunch with some friends in San Jose and then strolled through the San Jose Rose Garden. It was a gorgeous day and the smell of the roses was very pleasant.

On Saturday afternoon we had a baby class – breastfeeding. It was basically all you ever wanted to know about breasts and then some. The husband tried to get out of the class but I made him go, and I am glad he went because I was a little overwhelmed with all the info. Plus, it was a couples class so my husband was not the only man in the class and not the only one making weird/shocked/disgusted faces.

Saturday evening I took my coaches out to dinner as a thank you for being my assistants. After dinner I became DD for the husband’s poker night.

On Sunday we also sorted through baby clothes and tried to figure out what we already have and what we need. Since we didn’t actually know the names of most of the clothing items, our inventory descriptions read like this: “one piece thing with a zipper down the front, long sleeves and long legs and little feet.” The clothes are actually really cute and really small. The other baby thing we did was unpack and assemble the stroller. We got a stroller/car seat travel system, so the car seat can either click into the stroller or you can take the baby out and put it into the stroller. The car seat is a little bulky when it’s folded so we had a hard time getting it into the trunk. I think we might end up getting a smaller frame that adapts to the car seat and use that when we don’t need the full stroller.

In other thoughts:
Costco rules. The husband bought a sweet, custom built HP laptop through Costco. A couple of weeks ago, the laptop died. So we called Costco’s Concierge Service and they put us through to HP. HP sent us a box and next day FedEx label. I shipped the laptop on Thursday evening and we got it back, fixed, on Monday. Amazing! The best part was not getting transferred overseas for customer support. Yay for Costco.

I think I prefer Facebook over all the other friends sites such as My Space and Linked In.

There are a lot of spiders all over the place. I think they are making their final push before they all die.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Great Game Last Night

The Patriots vs. Jets game last night was really good. The Pats lost in overtime, which was a bummer. But the Jets did win the OT coin toss. Don Banks has a good recap of the game here. Well, once you get over the nauseous “Bret Favre is a god” section. The NFL network announcers have a huge man-crush on Favre. It’s really weird.

I guess I am a little biased, but I lost respect for Favre after all his drama between seasons.

"For one game, the Favre magic was real, and he delivered when it mattered most."

Not really. The Jets got lucky, after blowing a 24-6 lead. I can’t imagine an unbiased person saying that Favre was really the hero. If anything, Favre should thank Keller who was wide open at their last opportunity in OT and the Pats’ defense for screwing up and leaving Keller open. Without that play, the Jets would have turned the ball over and given the Pats an opportunity in OT.

Anyway, the game was good. Welker didn’t do awesome but he was fairly reliable. Moss didn’t do much until the game tying touchdown catch with 1 second left. That was pretty awesome. And Cassell had an awesome game with over 400 yards throwing and 62 yards rushing. I guess that’s a sole NFL record. If I were a quarter back, I would run a lot like Cassell. Now, don’t think Cassell is my new hero. I still prefer Brady’s precision and elegance as a quarterback. But Cassell is stepping it up. Plus, Welker is still my favorite player.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pregnant Updates

I woke up on Tuesday morning with incredible back pain. I was walking around like I had a stick up my butt. I have a bad lower back and I was afraid the added pregnancy weight and the changing center of gravity would really mess up my back. That’s why I was doing pilates up to 3 times a week, to keep my core muscles strong. While I wasn’t able to avoid back pain altogether, I have no doubt that pilates really helped me avoid it thus far.

My doctor checked me out and ruled out pre-term labor. I was pretty certain that it was back pain and not pre-term labor, but at the same time I hadn’t felt the baby move all morning and it was a little concerning. But we listened for the heartbeat and everything was fine. At 27.5 weeks, we would prefer it if the baby stayed inside to cook for another couple of months.

I went to Physical Therapy and it turns out the left side of my pelvis was rotated forward and causing all the strain in my lower back. The rotation was probably due to sleeping on it wrong and relaxed ligaments in my body (due to pregnancy). So the therapist massaged my back and gave me a few stretches to do. The next day my lower back was almost all better, but my mid-back was super sore from compensating for my lower back. I felt as if I did 1000 situps. After another PT session that included more massage, I am almost back to 100% today. Phew!

We took our first baby class yesterday. It was the infant and child CPR class. This is the class you hope to never have to use, but it’s good to know what to do in an emergency. Choking is a big concern, especially with small children. We have a bunch more classes this month – breastfeeding on Saturday and next week we start the labor class. The labor class is the one the doctor said we should really take (all others were optional), and it’s a 9 hour class over 3 days. I can’t imagine that we need that much time to discuss labor.

We are also trying to figure out if we want to bank the baby’s cord for potential future use. It sounds like a great idea in theory, but we are not convinced yet.

Pros:
Why wouldn’t you do everything you can to help your children?
There’s a 75% chance this baby’s cord could help other children we have, and a smaller but viable chance it could help us as parents and others in the family.

Cons:
The up front fee is over $2000 and the yearly fee is ~$125. Insurance will not cover any of it.
The probability that you will actually use it is small due to the limited number of standard procedures cord blood can be used for, but at the same time this is changing constantly with increased research.
It seems like a standard procedure might use up all the cord blood, thus making it only available for 1 treatment/person/etc.

The investment actually doesn’t sound that bad. But at the same time it could be ~$5000 for a 20 year investment for 1 child. The big question is, will we regret it if a situation arises and we don’t have cord blood available. Maybe. But you can’t prepare for everything, right? Even when you weigh the pros and cons of any situation and feel as if you made the right choice, sometimes the decision you make will still end up being the bad one. I expect this is the first of many hard decisions we will make as parents. It’s definitely a lot easier to make a decision for yourself, but when you have to make a decision that so directly affects another human being, it gets a lot tougher.

We’ll continue to do the research and probably ask new parents who were faced with the same question and see what they decided and why.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bitter-Sweet Celebration

The husband and I couldn't be happier that Obama will be our next president. Early on election day morning we walked over to our local polling place and connected our arrows. We used to vote using touch-screen machines, but this time around, at a new place, we had the huge ballots - they were about 2 feet tall and made out of heavy-weight paper. Talk about old school.

California has a weird process where the citizens vote on a lot of stuff you would expect the state government to take care of. There are always a ton of measures and propositions (some that can even amend the constitution) on the ballot. This really annoys the husband. Makes you kind of wonder what the legislative body does all day.

This year we voted a definite YES on proposition 2, for the improvement of living conditions for farm animals. It passed with a pretty strong majority. It's a start for farm animal well-being.

We voted no on proposition 4, to not require parental notification before the termination of a minor's pregnancy. The husband and I both support abortion rights. I'm actually surprised this didn't pass (no notification will be required), but I expect it was the strong young voter turnout. There were actually quite a few measures and propositions around the country relating to limiting abortion rights and none of them passed. That's an even bigger surprise.

One of the bigger political disappointments I have experienced is the passage of proposition 8, amending the California constitution to ban gay marriage. Wow. How hateful and unjust. In banning gay marriage, California is basically telling gay people all over the world that they are second class citizens. Melissa Etheridge doesn't believe she should pay taxes as a second class citizen.

I can think of two reasons why the propositions passed. The first is because the "Yes on Proposition 8" campaign ads claimed that unless proposition 8 passed, all schools would be required to teach about same-sex marriage. That's BS. I learned about marriage in high school, but that's because I went to a private, Catholic HS. We never discussed marriage in K-8 grades, not even in sex-ed.

The second reason proposition 8 passed is because of the church influence. Fine, believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman because that's what God intended. It turns out that the Bible does have a few passages that mention homosexuality, but the big surprise is that Jesus said nothing about it. You would think that if it was such a big issue, that God would make sure Jesus did not forget to mention it. Huh, miscommunication? And same-sex marriage is not what's ruining the American family. Sumana counters this quite well:

"I say to those opponents of same-sex marriage: If you care about the stability and happiness of the American family, then work to subsidize daycare, lengthen paternal and maternal leave and move us to single-payer healthcare. If you care about the sanctity of marriage, then work to institute a federal waiting period and separate the civil contract of marriage from your religion's requirements and ceremonies. Widows, grandparents, uncles, nannies, foster children, step-parents and same-sex partners all contribute to and sustain households everywhere."

I love my husband. I know that even if we weren't married, I would still be happy on whatever other path in life I had chosen. But I can't believe that another path would be as fulfilling and as happy as the one we chose together. And now that we are a few months away from growing as a family, I can't imagine a greater joy we might experience. To deny a group of people this right to happiness is heartbreaking to me, to say the least.

Sorry about the rant. I feel a little guilty that maybe I didn't do enough to help stop the passage of proposition 8. I could have talked to more people or perhaps I could have had better answers to the religious arguments. Hopefully California's judicial system will recognize that it's unconstitutional to deny a minority group their right to happiness.

I know this post is over a week late but I had been working on it for a while. Just had a enough time to proofread and publish.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Weekend Fun

Over the weekend we went down to Orange County to hang out with my family and the very excited grandparents-, uncles-, aunts-, granduncles-, and grandaunts-to-be. My family threw us a baby shower and it was loads of fun. The shower was coed so it was fun to see the brother, cousins, and husband participate in all the shower games. One of my favorite games was when people would measure out toilet paper to try to guess the circumference of my waist. There was a three-way tie, and the tie-breaker was to guess the husband’s waist circumference. I am happy to report that his waist was only one toilet paper square smaller than mine. Now I don’t feel like a giant blimp. At least compared to the husband.

It was a little weird to have a lot of people fawning over my belly, giving it rubs, and talking to it in baby talk. But I didn’t freak out with all the touching as I expected to. As long as I see a hand coming, I can kind of brace myself. It’s a little weirder if I’m hugging someone and they start groping my belly unexpectedly.

We had a guest poll to see what everyone thought we were having. The tally was girls – 11, boys – 18. So if my family is right, we’re having a boy. But a couple of women my mom knows, that I would consider modern-day sages (in tune with nature, spiritual, you know what I mean), both said we are having a girl. So that still leaves me undecided. I used to always picture us with a baby boy, but now I’m starting to picture us with either.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pregnancy Updates

25.5 weeks and counting...

I went to the dentist last week and I am happy to say that everything looks great. Pregnancy can cause problems in the mouth, such as bleeding gums, more plaque buildup, etc. But my oral hygiene has been great. Phew!

Most people that see me are surprised that I am already 25 weeks into the pregnancy. Everyone says I look great. I'm not sure whether or not I should believe them. What else would they say..."wow, you look more like you are in your 30th week"?? I have actually gained more weight than I should have. Well, that's according to mine and my doctor's plan. I am close to 20 lbs. with 3 months to go and my doctor suggested I gain 20 - 25 lbs. total. Although most people say 25 - 35 lbs. is average. The good thing is that I can still do my pilates workouts (I'm pretty good at the plank) and I can still run, although my stamina is way down.

Don't you just love the feeling you have when you stretch your body the first thing after you wake up. You point your toes, stretch your arms, and then the bloody pain of a cramp in your calf hits. If you are pregnant, that happens to you every morning until you learn to stretch with your heels flexed and toes pointed up. I'm not sure people know why your calves turn into a muscle spasm waiting to happen. Some people say it's the imbalance of hormones and nutrients in the body while others say it's dehydration. I've been eating more bananas and that seems to help. But I definitely think dehydration is a factor because during the night I pee a lot and don't drink much water. I tend to loose 3-4 lbs. overnight, and I think it's mostly water weight.

We are finally putting together a list of stuff to buy. And we are discovering that there is A LOT of baby stuff out there. It's almost overwhelming. It's kind of like the car industry, you have lots of different types of cars you can buy (sedan, suv, truck, etc.). And within each type you have loads of brands to choose from (Ford, Toyota, Honda, etc.). Well, the same goes for any baby product. If you are looking for a stroller, there are lots of options including traditional, travel system with car seat and other functions, double strollers, and a couple other more specific-function strollers. For a traditional stroller, Consumer Reports has rated 32 different strollers. Yikes! And the prices vary from $35 to $900. Double yikes. We are trying to keep things simple, so I've armed myself with Consumer Reports, a baby stuff buying guide, and the internets.

I am back to being tired a lot. But it's not the same feeling as it was in the first trimester. Now, by around 9 pm, I am ready for bed. And I am tired as if I had a long day full of activities. I can push myself if I really have to (like staying up well past midnight last Saturday night for multiple Halloween parties). And I am still sleeping terribly. I am not yet uncomfortable, as I probably will be in the last few weeks. It's different. I usually sleep about 6 hours, with a bathroom break, but then after 6 hours I wake up and can't turn my brain off for 1 or 2 hours. I'm not stressed out about stuff, I just can't stop thinking...about everything...work, soccer, movies I've seen, when to do laundry. Some people say it's practice for when the baby comes but I'm sure that whether or not I get plenty of sleep these last few months, I am still going to be tired when the baby is around. So I prefer the sleep. I'll eventually get back to sleep and will wake up between 7 and 8 am, without an alarm.

Soccer Week and Weekend

My girls’ team played on Sunday to a decisive 3-0 victory. It felt great to win, especially since we beat the team that had tied us in the last minutes of our previous game against them, which dropped us to 2nd place. We have two games left in the season. I am looking forward to the end of the season so I will have more time to do other stuff (scrapbooking, baby planning, etc.).

I have been a little annoyed lately with the lack of players at practice. We tend to only have 6-8 players at practice, out of 17. And I often get emails or texts an hour before the game letting me know that a player isn’t going to make it. I guess this is only recreational soccer but it’s still kind of rude. Regardless, I still have been having a great time coaching and I will miss the girls when the season is over.

We had an English soccer trainer, Rhys, stay with us the past week. He was fun to have around. I talked lots of soccer with him and the husband played lots of xBox with Rhys. Even the cats were happy to have another set of hands to pet them. Except Monkey. She was very unhappy to have to share the guest bed with an actual guest.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tough Loss

The girls team I coach finally lost. We lost 2-1 in rematch against the other city team. The last time we played the team we beat them 3-2. The other team just wanted the game more than we did and it showed. Even though this game is our only loss, we have a tie while the other team has no ties, so the result bumps them up to first. We tied against the second-to-last place team in the final minutes of the game. We had no subs and the girls were just tired. It sucks that our season will be determined by a few minutes of one game. Oh well, that’s soccer. Now we just look forward to our last 3 games, win those games, and hope the other team looses or at least ties a game.

Regardless of the loss, I am still having more fun coaching than I imagined I would. Coaching at this level is a lot more satisfying than coaching at the younger levels because the players just get it. We tell them to do something or teach them new strategy and they adapt pretty well.

I can’t wait to be a soccer mom. And no, I don’t mean the suburban driving, warm-up suit wearing, Starbuck’s drinking, Republican voting soccer mom, but a real soccer mom. One that actually coaches soccer and watches the games.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Latest Cravings

I have The baby has been craving Mexican food lately. Fortunately I can only stand it for 1 meal.

The husband calls the baby el bebe. It's cute.

The baby has been quite busy in my belly and I can even feel the motions when I put my hand on my abdomen. But every time the husband tries to feel, the baby stops moving. I wonder if the baby can tell that someone different has put their hand on my belly.

We have two books we've started reading to the baby: Make Way for Ducklings and La Oruga Muy Hambrienta (The Hungry Caterpillar).

Boston Highlights

Our week in Boston was a lot of fun. It was definitely the break we needed. We didn’t have a lot of downtime because we were busy hanging out with friends and family. Although it was hard to be back at work on Monday morning, I did feel refreshed.

My high school friends Kelly and Linette, and Kelly’s friend Joni, met up with us in Boston. It was fun to have Bostonian visitors around because we ended up doing a lot of the touristy stuff ourselves.

I think the highlight of our trip was Tuesday. We started off the day with a tour of the Christian Science Church. For those of you who have never been to Boston, the Christian Science Church grounds take up a huge city block. The tour was mostly an excuse for me to use the toilet. Our tour guide was an extremely friendly old lady who started off by saying that the Christian Science religion is not Scientology. They never explained that. There was actually a point in time when we were supposedly finished with our tour and were moving towards the exit down a narrow stairwell behind the altar when I wondered if perhaps a couple of us should have stayed back just in case. Fortunately we all made it out of there alive and non-converts.

The next tour was at the Berklee School of Music. The husband and I skipped out of this tour since our only excuse at music is that I listen to it and he sings in the shower. I promised I would bring my kid back in 18 years but I lied because my baby is going to be a superathlete.

In the evening, we went to a Boston Symphony Orchestra performance of Previn, Stravinsky, and Beethoven. I was wary of the Previn piece since it’s a modern piece, but it was actually pretty good. The best description I can think of is that it was organic and it reminded me of nature. I guess that makes sense since it was titled Owls. The baby liked Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto the best, especially the 4th movement. And the Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 was ok. I prefer Beethoven’s more common pieces.

After the symphony we moved on to Wally’s Cafe, a hole-in-the-wall jazz club a few blocks away. It was loud but the music was really great. We only stayed about 1 hour, since that’s the exposure limit to loud music that the baby should have.

So we moved on to Jacque’s Cabaret Drag Karaoke. The husband knew of the place – how, I don’t know. But it was loads of fun. We arrived shortly before the place closed down, so we didn’t have a chance to perform a piece. Next time!

After drag karaoke, we went to a 24 hour bowling place for candlepin bowling. For those of you who have never played candlepin bowling (it’s a New England thing), it is a lot of fun. It’s the same lane as regular bowling, but the pins (same number, I think) are narrow and cylindrical (2”-3” in diameter), and you get three tries, but the pins that have fallen aren’t cleared between tries. And the ball is much smaller so you can palm it and even throw it if you want to.

Other highlights included a yummy Italian dinner in the North End, a trip to Salem, catching up with the husband’s old friends and getting to know my friends a lot better, and of course hanging out with family and the grandparents-to-be.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dear Congress,

The Markets aren't doing well. So I think you should take the $700 billion and save yourselves. It's the least that we, the American people, can do to thank you for all that you've done. It's hard work to run a country and to make decisions about what to do with our money. So please, save yourselves.

Sincerely,
Cleaty

Thursday, October 9, 2008

In Boston

And loving it! We are here for 8 days and having a great time. A couple of my high school friends are also in town so we've been doing a lot of touristy stuff with them.

Over the weekend we went to a wedding on Long Island in NY. It was the fanciest wedding I have ever attended. The ceremony was low key at a local church and the couple's dog, a well-behaved black lab, was the ring bearer. The reception was at a large estate/mansion. What characterized this wedding as fancy for me was that it took place in many rooms of the mansion. First there was the drinks/reception area. Then they opened up two large rooms with heavy (and yummy) appetizers. We spent most of our time in the Library appetizer room, among the Syphilis Illustrated and Women's Diseases books. As we debated whether or not we would get a formal dinner, we were shuffled into the banquet room for dinner.

After dinner, we moved to another two rooms for dancing, cake, and more drinks. The dancing started off with the largest car bomb toast ever (I think). The wedding was loads of fun. The best part was getting together with family we don't get to see all the time.

On Sunday we met up with some old friends who had moved to NY. Sumana and Leonard who we met on the internets and were from the Bay Area and our grad school friend Pablo and his wife AnaMaria. It was nice to hang out with our old friends and just catch up on our lives, relive old memories, and have great conversations.

More about the Boston experience in a future post...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday Tidbits

So you can see Russia from Alaska. That was Sarah Palin’s claim for why she has foreign policy experience to Katie Couric. And when Couric asked again, she replied “because our neighboring countries are foreign countries.”

The husband has a couple of clips on his blog of the Couric-Palin interview which are priceless. He also included an question-answer session with Ms. South Carolina for comparison. They are just a precursor to the debate tonight. Enjoy them here.

During an NPR interview, McCain was asked what foreign policy qualifications Sarah Palin has. McCain’s response:

“she has the knowledge and background on a broad variety of issues, including probably the major challenge of America, and that's energy independence...She has the world view that I have. She is very highly qualified and very knowledgeable.”

If you have an IT department at work, have you noticed what theme was used in naming your computers at work? We used to have a feline theme, but we started moving towards a professional cyclists name theme. The new trend is because our IT guys are big cyclists. Some other offices from my company have a Lord of the Rings theme.

We are going to Boston and New York for about a week so I may or may not be posting. We’ll be in NY this weekend for a wedding and we hope to see some of you NY people. We’ll spend the rest of the week in Boston. Two of my high school friends also planned their vacation to Boston around the same time as we did, so I’ll get to hang out with them during the week.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Shopping Pains

I went shopping yesterday after lunch. Who hangs out at the mall midweek during the day? Pregnant ladies and moms with their babies and young children. I was at the mall looking for a semi-formal dress to wear to a wedding in NY this weekend. I was very unsuccessful. Actually, I did fine two really great dresses that were extremely flattering to the pregnant belly, but they were $200 each. I’m not sure I would spend that much on a dress if I wasn’t pregnant and would be able to wear it multiple times.

So I went back to work extremely frustrated. But by the evening my new shopping mission was to find a nice pair of slacks and fancy top. I succeeded. Tonight I go shoe shopping.

While I was out shopping, I also found a great pair of jeans at The Gap. Some The Gaps have maternity (and baby and baby furniture) sections. I highly recommend The Gap for maternity clothes shopping – at least for pants. They are affordable and fit great (but the length may need to be altered a bit). For nice work tops I would go to Motherhood Maternity or Ross. They are cheap and will do the trick for the few months that you need them. If budget is not an issue or you just want to try on some really nice clothes for fun, go to A Pea in the Pod. That’s where I found the $200 dress (and it was on sale). For lounge type of clothes, I would shop at Target or Motherhood Maternity.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Reality Check #17

On Saturday morning we went to the local fire house's pancake breakfast. We rolled in (on our bikes!) around 9:30 am. It was swarming with kids.

After breakfast I went shopping and the husband played video games.

Around 2 pm, we were both lounging on the bed, when I said to my husband: "You know, we only have about 20 weekends left to do whatever we want."

My husband thought about it a few seconds and then said: "That's right. You don't get weekends off with a baby."

That's right, we won't. But, despite our realization, we are both really excited. And the thought of a baby brings a smile to our faces. Can't wait!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

War, What Is It Good For?

I recently had to do inventory at work on a bunch of body armor belonging to non-surviving soldiers from Iraq. Here are my observations.

The equipment arrived in a large wooden crate, with sets of armor in large plastic bags. There was sand everywhere. Most sets of armor had front, back, and 2 side plates. The plates are small, maybe about 10 inches x 15 inches, and weigh about 6-10 lbs. On some of the plates you can see bullet holes.

The helmets were a little harder to deal with. A couple of the helmets had bullet entry and exit holes. I noticed one helmet was quite muddy, and then realized it was dried blood. A few of the helmets were no longer the shape they started off.

As I sorted through the equipment I managed to keep my emotions out of it. It took me a lot longer than my boss expected to go through the inventory. I think I was just handling each piece with the utmost care, out of respect for the dead. Later in the day, when I recounted the experience to my husband, I felt a little more emotional about it.

We are going to try to figure out how the armor failed to make improvements to the armor. I am happy that we are doing something to help, but unhappy that we have to make protective equipment for war.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Sex is a Surprise

We've decided to not find out the baby's sex until the baby is born. So we'll be calling it "it" for a while more. Actually, the husband really wants to know but I have veto power since I'm the one that's pregnant. The weird thing is that I'm the one of us who's a big planner and almost a control freak while the husband is a lot more easygoing about stuff. We have an idea of what the baby will be, but that's not foolproof. My friend was certain she was having a boy and when the doctor announced it was a girl, she second guessed the doctor.

We had the big anatomy checkout last week and everything looks good. The baby moves around a lot. I am barely starting to feel it and probably only feel the really big motions the baby has. When the baby moves, it feels like little (sometimes big) bubbles popping in my lower abdomen. It's a really neat feeling. Although the first time it happened and I realized what it was, I thought I was going to pass out from the sensation. When you think about it, it's really weird - there's something growing in my belly that's going to turn into a person like you and me. Have you ever seen the Aliens movies??? But now I really like the feeling of the baby moving around. It's most pronounced after I eat and when I am not too active.

So we are coming up with both girl and boy names. Some names that have been vetoed include Beau Flex and Chlamydia Rose (we won't have to worry about her in HS) and Therem (a derivative of Theorem). We'll probably pick something more traditional but we are having trouble agreeing. My maiden name will be the baby's middle name.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Randomness

Random Thoughts for a Happy Tuesday

You know how sometimes you have to move the mouse a lot to try to find it on your computer screen. Well, now I have two monitors at work so it takes me twice as long to figure out where my mouse is.

Did you ever wonder where the phrase “cockpit” comes from? Is it because traditionally it was a pit full of… I don’t even want to think about it.

Pregnant people have a super sensitive sense of smell. The only thing that causes nausea without fail is something stinky, such as the trash or stagnant water in the kitchen sink. Someone suggested that it is probably a defense mechanism from the cavemen days, when, without refrigeration, people would rely on their senses to figure out if food had gone bad. It’s a good thought.

We bought a camcorder last week, for the baby (and the cats). I think the minivan is next. Actually, the camcorder has been fun since we’ve been doing lots of videos/interviews of each other regarding the baby. It will be interesting to come back to them years from now and see if we actually had a clue about what having a baby was going to be like.

I am really annoyed that the government is considering a bail-out for all the businesses and people who made bad financial decisions. Why should my taxes go to help the idiots who jumped into mortgages they couldn’t afford and the scummy business people who lied to them? We are financially responsible people and we didn’t jump in when everyone else did so why should we have to pay for it? I don’t want to think about it anymore.

I am still doing pilates twice a week. All the ab work is getting harder – a lot harder. Part of it is because my lower abdomen is in the way (like when I try to do a sit-up) and the other part is because those muscles are getting stretched out and they are loosing functionality. There’s not much I can do about it.

I take back what I said about Brady coming back in 3 months after ACL surgery. It turns out he tore 2 ligaments. And I spoke to my athletic trainer friend about it and she said that you can’t beat the science with technology. Your body needs the time. The body will “break down” the ligament and build it back up and that takes time. That’s too bad.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend News

We had a good weekend. It was mostly relaxing but I got a lot of stuff done. I finally got back into working on my scrapbooks and I made decent progress over the weekend.

On Sunday my girls played. We tied, 1-1. It was a tough tie since we were winning most of the game and they came back and tied us in the last 5 minutes. We had no subs (again) and everyone was just exhausted. Plus, the other team was playing extremely physical – lots of shoving our players off the ball and slide tackling – but I couldn’t get my girls to step up their physical play. The team was from a less nicer city in the area (if we were from Southern Cali, the other team would be from LA and we would be from Laguna Beach), but still, we should have stepped it up. Regardless, the girls played well and I am glad that they managed to survive the whole 90 minute game. Oh, and my other excuse was that the field was quite dense (the grass hadn’t been cut in weeks) and the ball would often just die in the middle of a pass.

I guess that’s all we did this weekend. Oh, I did go to a party with my friend. It was a kickball/BBQ party with a keg at 2nd base. I missed the kickball game so by the time I got there the keg had been floated and everyone was drunk. The food was really, really good – traditional BBQ with some Phillipino lumpia. Yumm!

I just realized I had a dream where I drank half a beer and tried to justify it by saying that most people say it’s ok to drink a little wine while your pregnant (a glass with dinner on special occasions). But everyone was chastising me because I had drunk beer (miller lite, of all beers) instead of wine.

Another interesting happening this weekend was that I bought my first baby gift. I got a little after-bath blanket (it has a little triangular cap in one corner) made of organic, sustainable, yadda, yadda, yadda, cotton at Whole Foods. It’s a creamy gray color with little animals on it. It’s really cute! I almost put it back because I started wondering if it was bad luck to buy baby gifts before the baby is born. And I almost cried when I told the cashier it was for my baby.

Oh, the lowlight of the weekend was the Patriots game. I only got to see the 1st quarter because of the soccer game. That sucks for the Patriots.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Husband Is Not Very Sympathetic

Instead of gaining sympathy weight while I'm pregnant (as most husbands do), he's actually lost weight. He rides his bike to work every day and is eating healthier than ever (salads for lunch instead of burgers). And on the days he doesn't work, he often lifts weights with his home gym. My doctor told me to be in the best shape of my life and I think my husband took that as his cue to set an example for me. That way he can nag me about working out without feeling guilty himself. Actually, he looks really good and I'm very proud of him. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Soccer Weekend

On Saturday night I went to the San Jose Earthquakes (new expansion team) vs. Houston Dynamo (old Earthquakes team that moved) soccer game. The game was at Santa Clara University. Although we got super cheap tickets because of an AYSO promotional, the seats were really awesome. The stadium is small so all seats are really good. The game was pretty good with lots of action and lots of yellow cards (and even a red). The only bad part was that since it was an AYSO promo night, there were A LOT of little kids around us. By the end of the night I had sticky blue stuff (cotton candy?) all over my pants.

On Sunday, my GU19 team had their big game against the other city team. Both teams had won their first match by wide margins (6-2 and 8-0) so this was going to be a good game. And it was. We were down 1-0 at half time with 2 game ending injuries resulting in no subs, and about 3 other players that were playing despite their injuries. The other team had pounded our defense with loads of shots but we had managed to hold them at 1 goal.

I’ve decided to try a non-traditional lineup. Most American teams play 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, with a sweeper and three defenders in the back (the lineup notation is the number of defenders-midfielders-forwards). A variation that is often seen in Europe and is starting to catch hold in the US is the flat 4 in the back (without a sweeper). The idea is that there’s always one free defender that can act as the sweeper or last-man back depending on where the play is. I decided to go with a 3-4-3 lineup, with a flat three in the back and two center midfielders – one offensive and one defensive. My idea was that with a strong middle field and lots of forwards, we would be able to maintain most of the play in our offensive half of the field. On defense, the defensive center-mid would come back and act as a fourth defender to help on defense. It had worked great in our first game when we absolutely dominated the match and control of the field for most of the game. But this weekend we were playing a much stronger team and as we discovered once the game started, a much faster team.

I had actually lost some sleep in the days leading up to the game but I consoled myself thinking that we could easily and quickly change the lineup if we needed to. Plus, I was going to play one of my strongest (in skill, speed, and stamina) and hardest working players at center defense. Although, my heart did skip a beat when I got an email from her on Saturday. She was just confirming that she was going to make the game after all (I didn’t know it was an issue).

In the second half we had an unbelievable come back and scored three goals in the third quarter, all off of corners. Due to another injury, we ended up playing the last quarter down 1 player and ended the game 3-2 and with a victory. It felt sooo good to win, especially with such a big comeback.

After the game, as the teams exchanged hand-shakes, there was a bit of confrontation with some name-calling between players from both teams. We tried to resolve the issue from our side as soon as possible with the official “I’m sorry,” but the other player disappeared after the game.

Despite the issue after the game, I was on cloud-9 the rest of Sunday. I even had trouble going to sleep, just playing back the game in my head. I am sooo glad we won!

Last year I coached GU14 and comparing the two age groups is a difference of night and day. The GU14 was fun and mostly relaxing. We never would have had any major issues between players on the same team or between teams. It was usually hard for me to do the post game debrief because the girls were always chatting it up with each other regardless of the score. So far the GU19 age group is a lot more fun for me, despite the drama, which I hope does not become an issue (although I’ve heard the other city team is having a lot of attitude issues). By this age the girls just get it. Most players have been playing for years and they come to the game and practices because they want to not because their parents signed them up. When the coaches tell them something, they listen and incorporate the advice. And they work really hard with minimal complaint. My only complaint is that it seems that at this age they are way busier and so we tend to have trouble having a full roster at practices or games. There’s only 1 player that has come to every practice so far.

I had originally decided to coach the under-19 team because I wanted to be able to play with the girls during practice scrimmages. But now that I’m pregnant, I can’t. Still, I’m having fun. Plus, I have some great assistant coaches that I often feel like a GM. While one coach handles the keepers and the other gets the girls ready for the game, I go over last minute line-up changes and walk around from group to group (forwards, midfielders, etc.) offering advice and trying to get them excited about the game. Too bad I don’t get paid to coach.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Brady Tore His ACL

Update: I have a new resolve to watch the Patriots play. I will not be one of these women:

"More than 90 percent of female football fans were lost for the season on Sunday...Brady left Sunday's game against Kansas City after suffering an ugly anterior cruciate ligament tear in his incredibly handsome left knee after being hit by merely average-looking Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard."

Original:

As most of your who care have heard, Tom Brady tore his ACL in the first quarter of his first game this season. It sucks. I tore my ACL in my left leg (just like Brady) about 6 years ago. I had a long day of hiking and biking and then played my first coed outdoor soccer game. I was playing right forward and I dribbled the ball down the line and took a cross with my right foot. My upper body turned but my lower left leg did not, tearing my ACL. I'm pretty sure I cried from the pain and I remember it was pretty swollen for a while. I was told that at least it was a nice cross.

After I tore my ACL, I continued to play soccer until my doctor advised me not to since I could cause more damage. So instead I focused on getting the muscles around my knee as strong as possible with bicycle riding and weight lifting, which would help my recovery. I had about 1.5 months to do so before my surgery.

The surgery was a weird experience. As the anesthesia was administered, I remember being told that I would begin feeling a little dizzy. I remember thinking, "I don't feel dizzy," and the next thing I remember was a nurse fussing over my knee. I asked her if the surgery had taken place and when she said it had, I sat up in bed and asked her if she was sure. It was as if I had lost a few hours of my life. It's definitely different from taking a nap and it's probably hard to understand unless you've experience it yourself.

Immediately after surgery my knee was placed in a passive motion machine (I think that's what they are called) which caused my knee to flex and extend in a bike-riding motion. This would get my full range of motion going and prevent scar tissue from building up. My left knee has a few more degrees of motion than my right knee. I also had a morphine drip with a clicker that I could control. I think I was pretty clicker happy but it turns out that I had a 10 minute window so at most I would get a morphine shot (drip?) every 10 minutes. My hospital visitors later told me that I would phase in and out of our conversations.

Anyway, so the whole point of my story was that I think Brady will be back in 3 months. Although my husband just told me that Brady can't come back this season even if a miracle occurred (something about football rules) and we don't really know what happened to his knee. So, assuming Brady did tear his ACL and suffer minor meniscus damage and assuming he can come back this season, he'll be back in 3 months. I was walking without crutches about 2 weeks after surgery (probably shouldn't have) and I was running within 5 (and playing a little hallway soccer instead of studying). I was a lowly graduate student without access to state of the art facilities and doctors as I am sure the NFL has. Plus, I had research to do and I couldn't focus on my recovery.

Another thing, I had a hamstring graft used to replace my ACL. This was a good option for me since the incisions would be small, the recovery would be less painful, and I was only playing intramural soccer. My alternative was a patellar graft which would require a larger incision and make recovery more painful. This would have been a good option if I was play collegiate soccer. There was also the option of using cadaver tissue, but, at least back then, the risk would have been sacrificing the tissue elasticity to sterilize the tissue (prevent the transfer of diseases, etc.). I'm sure Brady will get a graft from one of the many supermodels that are all over him.

I'm almost done talking about Brady, just a bit more. So I keep hearing all this talk about how the NFL lost its marquee player in the first 15 minutes of the season and how that's a really big deal. If Brady is the NFL's marquee player, why the hell are Eli and Peyton Manning in every single commercial on TV?? I am so sick and tired of those guys. I think the biggest fallout of the super bowl, apart from not getting to witness history, is that Eli and Payton are going to dominate commercials for years to come. Ugh!

I really hope Cassel doesn't forget about Wes Welker. Welker is actually my favorite player because he is so under-the-radar and his soccer skills show up in the way he runs and cuts. Cassel seemed to be looking only for Brady at the game on Sunday. Hopefully he worked on looking for other targets this week.

So I go back and forth about being excited for the season. As the husband said, anything can happen and the Brady loss adds excitement to the game and season. The Patriots still have some really good players, so they can still go to the super bowl.

Ok, that's enough. I promise not to take up too much time talking about football.

Monday, September 8, 2008

So Behind!!!

So I am way behind on my weekend posts and I know everyone is dying to know what I do on my weekends. I’ll try to be brief but we’ve had a lot going on.

Over Labor Day my high school friend Linette came to visit. Linette was probably our second highest frequent visitor (after my mom) when she worked in the central valley. However, it’s been at least a couple of years since she visited last so it was nice to see her again. And she is a cat person too (although she only has 1) so the kitties got lots of love from another human. Linette’s main reason for visiting was to go to a wedding on Sunday afternoon. So Sunday morning we went on a bike ride, I took the husband’s and Linette took mine. We were seconds from getting on the trail I take to work when Linette crashed her bike going down an overpass. All I remember was hearing the crash, jumping off my bike, and running up the hill and almost crying with joy when I saw Linette moving around. Nothing was broken thank goodness but she did have some pretty bad road-rash on her palms, elbow, and knee. We are not sure why it happened, but she flew over the handlebars and skidded to a stop on her belly (she remembers thinking “I wish I had gloves” as she was sliding on the asphalt).

The husband came to pick us up so we could take Linette to the hospital and a nice lady offered us her truck to take the bikes home. Even some nice off-duty firemen stopped to talk to Linette and make sure she hadn’t hit her head and was suffering from a concussion. In addition to her road rash, Linette also had a bruised heel (there was an actual bruise on her heel – never seen that before). The emergency room is about 1.5 miles from our place and I was happy to find out how professional and expedient they were. We were there in the early morning hours which is actually the least busiest time of the day (note to self, go to the ER in the morning). Linette had both of her hands bandaged up (kind of like the prewrap boxers wear), with some white mesh gloves over the bandages. It actually matched the dress she was wore to the wedding and most people assumed it was a fashion thing until they noticed the elbow and kneed bandages.

When Linette left our house, she headed east to the central valley for a business trip. Linette is a wildlife biologist and was doing some construction inspection. On Thursday she called me to let me know that her rental SUV had be run over by a tractor. Luckily she wasn’t in it. We think Linette’s luck is about to turn because that’s her third accident in a few weeks (she got rear-ended a few days before the biking accident). We suggested she buy some lottery tickets.

Over this weekend, Linette came back and we went to the downtown art and wine festival. It was very hot so we spent more time inside the local bars and restaurants than outside with the vendors. I got a wood frame that I can use to make a cork board out of the hundreds of corks I have from drinking too much wine. I've been collecting them for over 4 years now. Now all I need is a glue gun.

I'm coaching a girls under-19 soccer team, so basically high school girls. It's been fun so far. The only annoying thing is that only 1 girl has come to every practice and I tend to get only half the team at practice each day, and half of them are late. We had our first game this weekend and we won, 6-2. The team we played wasn't very strong and we'll have a much more challenging game this coming weekend, against the rival city team. I know the coach and I DON'T want to loose to him.

We are fostering a couple of kittens right now. We actually haven't taken any pictures of them yet but I'll work on that in the next couple of days. We wanted another kitten to keep Noodles busy so he would leave us alone but I think it's backfiring. More later.

Well, I'll keep it at that for right now and I'll expand on other stuff later.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Morning

I woke up this morning to the sound of the alarm clock. Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I’ve refused to use the alarm clock – I need my sleep! I am usually awake by 7:30 am anyway. I picked out what I was going to wear – black (maternity) pants with a green blouse. I noticed the blouse was a little wrinkled so I threw it in the dryer for a few minutes and continued to get ready for work. I had a teleconference at 8 am so I wanted to be sure to have my cheerios before then. When I tried to put my blouse on, I realized it didn’t fit anymore. I don’t know about you guys, but when I figure out what I want to wear in the morning, it’s really hard to change to something else. I tend to know my clothes inventory pretty well (what’s clean, etc.) so I tend to know what I want to wear even before I start getting the clothes out. I even had a dream about the shirt (won’t go into the details of how it was involved in my dream). As is expected, I am having a bad hair day too.

If I were to psychoanalyze my response this morning, I would say that the underlying issue might be that I am having trouble letting the pregnancy take over my body. Even though I am super excited to be pregnant, I could be having trouble accepting that my body has become a baby making machine and everything else is secondary. I may be feeling that it’s enough that I have to give up soccer and drinking, adding disproportional weight gain to the equation could make someone quite depressed. Fortunately these would just be my thoughts were I a psychologist and I am way beyond that.

On a happier note, my BellaBand arrived today. Thanks Sumana for the great find!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Foods I Crave

I get a lot of questions about whether or not I’ve started getting food cravings now that I am pregnant. The short answer is no. At least I don’t have any of the "I want chocolate ice cream with pickles" cravings. Usually my cravings are pretty short lived and they tend to be quite attainable. If we go out to eat and I look through the menu, I might suddenly crave French fries or a salad with ranch dressing. A few weeks ago I really craved taco bell and had to have it for lunch. Fortunately that only lasted a couple of days.

Fruit is the food I can’t get enough of. I love and crave citrus fruit, peaches, nectarines, melons, and especially plums. Unfortunately fruit doesn’t really satiate my grumbling tummy so I tend to only eat it between my every-two-hours meals. I need to have a protein rich food when I’m hungry otherwise I will still be hungry.

I like sweets like chocolate and ice cream, but during my pregnancy I have been fortunate enough not to crave them (they aren’t very nutrient rich). I will probably eat them if they are in front of me. My coworker brought brownies to work today and I had one. But I won’t go out and buy them. If I do want some sort of a treat, I’ll probably have a croissant or a turnover. I tend to prefer the buttery, salty food that is bad for me.

The only other weird thing is that I get very frustrated if the husband and I can’t figure out where we want to go when we go out to eat. I can’t decide because the possibilities are endless (Thai, Indian, Mexican, sushi,…) and that seems to frustrate me to no end. However, once we decide and I have a menu in front of me, I tend to decide on my meal almost immediately. Before I was pregnant I used to have a hard time deciding from a menu and I would often have regrets (I should have had the quesadilla).

Speaking of food, there’s a long list of things that I should not eat, including:

Alcohol – duh, and I’ve had no trouble remembering

Deli meats, cheeses, and unpasteurized items – I’ve eaten these quite a lot, not intentionally, but I am getting better; the risk here is Listeria; pregnant women are more likely to get Listeria, which can cause early labor among other things; I also need to wash my fruits and veggies properly

Sushi – this is a controversial one and if I do indulge in sushi, I tend to eat the cooked rolls; the risk here is the same to everyone – parasite infection; the only riskier bit for a pregnant woman is that major abdomen surgery (to remove the parasite along with part of the intestine, if necessary) would be bad

Anything but well-cooked meats – again I run the risk of infection of certain bacteria that would be bad for me and the baby

Caffeine – has been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage if consuming more than 200 mg/day; I am not a coffee drinker, so no problem there, but I do feel that I have been drinking a lot of caffeine in teas and coke; however, even on a bad day, I am not exceeding 200 mg of caffeine

Seafood – there’s complicated table of what seafood products are low in mercury and sustainable and the subset of the two is pretty small; even still, I shouldn’t have more than 2-3 servings per week; this is too bad because seafood is a great means for me to get protein and keep the fat/calorie count low

I have still been eating all the time. I am struggling a bit with my calcium intake. I get the extra calcium milk, OJ, and yogurt but it’s still a little tough to get 1200 mg/day. Tums are probably the greatest invention because one little tablet has 400 mg of calcium. The only bad thing is that I tend to forget to eat 1 or 2 a day and I think they are pretty gross – chalky, yuck!

Protein is also tough. I think I end up getting all the protein I need, but I have no craving for a big hunk of meat. The husband and I were trying to become vegetarians before I got pregnant but we decided to put that off so that I could get as much protein as possible. I love fish and seafood but I can’t have too much of that.

The final order my doctor gave me was to consume enough iron. I need to have either a large handful of spinach or a 6 oz lean meat serving every other day. This has not been much of a problem. Beef is the meat I struggle the least with (at least in it’s barest form) and I love fresh spinach.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just One of Them Days

Today is one of those days when sleep sounds so much better than eating. But it's been 3 hours since I've had breakfast and my stomach is grumbling. I'll have to figure out what to do about lunch. Blah!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Baby Bulge

I woke up on Monday morning and my belly bump was a little bigger than when I went to bed on Sunday night. I woke up this morning and it was significantly bigger. I had a couple of pairs of jeans that used to fit me since they were stretchy and sat low on the hips, but they don't fit anymore. I need to go shopping for more maternity clothes, or fatty clothes as I like to refer to them. Oh, and I can't suck in the belly any more. It's weird.

I am supposed to gain 20-25 lbs. during the pregnancy. The breakdown is: 3-5 lbs. in the first trimester, 1 lbs. every 2 weeks for weeks 13-36, and 1 lb./week for the last 4 weeks. Give or take a few lbs. of course. This means I should add about 300 calories to my diet every day, which is not a lot of food. I've basically been eating when I get hungry and my weight gain has been what I would like. I'm at the end of week 15 and I've probably gained about 5 lbs. It's actually kind of hard to really tell because I have a big fluctuation in weight between night and morning (about 3 lbs.). Since I tend not to drink a lot of water during the night, but I do pee at least twice during the night, it must all be water weight.

My mom was surprised that I'm not a lot heavier considering how much I eat. But I think what helps is that I have tried to stay pretty active. My doctor recommended that I get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. I go on walks or walk/runs, ride my bike to work, and just started pilates.

I used to have time in a day to come home from work, go to the gym, make dinner, and even work on my crafts or watch a movie. Now I barely have enough time to do a couple of those things. Everything I do just takes a lot longer - figuring out what to wear in the morning, unloading the dishwasher, standing in front of the stove barefoot and pregnant, it all takes so much time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Productive Weekend

I had a great week and weekend. My mom was in town all week and then my dad joined us for the weekend. It was great to have my mom around. I always had a workout partner and while we were at work she did stuff around the house. I think the kittens will miss her now that she’s back at home, especially Noodles. I am sure he enjoyed having a person around all day.

My dad arrived on Thursday night and so we spent most of Friday and Saturday doing stuff around the house. My mom and I tackled the boxes that we still had in the guest/computer room (and will soon also be a baby room) and the husband and my dad installed a new door and finished setting up the projector and screen. The new door replaced the old laundry room door. The project turned out to be a major pain since we got the cheapest door available at Home Depot and it didn’t have the hinge grooves marked off. Plus, the door frame wasn’t quite right so my dad and husband had to grind down part of the door. They also installed a kitty door in the laundry room door so that we can keep the door closed to keep the litter dust contained. We’ve been working on the kitty door with the cats, using food, treats, and catnip to coax them through the door.

It’s nice having the projector mounted on the ceiling and the screen on the wall. We finally have our coffee table back (which doubles as a dinner table). The projector looks really, really nice. Especially movies and pictures and computer stuff. TV doesn’t look that much better (something about HDTV not really being HD). We watched Casino Royale in blue-ray last night and it really looked amazing.

Has anyone been watching the Olympics? Particularly the swimming? We saw three amazing Olympic races over the weekend, and even the husband was impressed. The first was Michael Phelps’ incredible finish over the Serbian swimmer. When we first saw the finish, I seriously thought it was the Serb who had won the race. But the frame-by-frame footage actually showed Phelps touched ahead of the Serb. The other priceless image from that race was Phelps’ mom’s reaction. You have to check it out here. I get a kick out of her and his coach’s reactions. The other great swimming race we saw was the 400 m relay medley, that the US won to give Phelps his 8th gold medal.

So I am not totally biased towards Olympics swimming (I liked it even before Phelps made it cooler). I also like watching track and field events, especially the sprints. We watched the Jamaican Usain Bolt win the 100 m dash and break his own world record by 0.03 s. This may not seem like a lot, but it's significant in a 9 second race. The most incredible part about this was that Bolt actually started celebrating with 20 m to go in the race. While everyone else around him was going full speed, Bolt had stretched his arms out (creating some drag, I'm sure) and then pounding his chest in excitement. I can only wonder what the world record would have been had he gone full force for the entire 100 m. Bolt definitely left himself some room for improvement.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Must Be in the Water

So I know of at least 8 babies, including ours, that are due in January or February. I know of a baby on the way that is due in October and another baby that I have no idea when it’s due. Either spring is a good time for making babies or there’s something in the water. Drink at your own risk.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My New Favorite Phrases

“mommy brain” – it’s a justification for why I forget things. I haven’t used it myself but our secretary uses it often to justify why I forget things. I think there is some truth to the “mommy brain”. My body is too busy making a little person to remember why I walked into my boss’ office.

“but I’m pregnant” – it’s a good thing to say when the husband is giving me a hard time for not riding my bike to work (6+ miles each way, uphill both ways) or when I want to watch something on tv while he wants to channel surf. It doesn’t work 100% of the time but it’s pretty effective.

“it’s what the baby wants” – one of my favorites. This is usually 100% effective but I try not to overuse it. Unfortunately the husband now claims to also know what the baby wants and it’s often in contradiction to what I understood the baby to want (Indian food for dinner, going for a walk).

Friday, August 8, 2008

Good Week

Had a good week. I had enough energy to make it through the day on about half the days and nowadays that's a good thing. Fortunately I've switched to a more flexible schedule at work and so I can leave early if I need to.

They Olympics are starting. Yay! I love the Olympics. I love the concept of the Olympics - athletes from around the world coming together to compete in the sports they are passionate about. I don't like that the US wins a lot, I prefer to spread the happiness. But I do love all personal stories. My favorite sports are soccer, swimming, diving, track, and gymnastics.

I won free burritos again at Chipotle. Without even trying. They hold the contest every week, but the last time I went to Chipotle was about 3 weeks ago, and I didn't even drop a business card in the bowl. Nevertheless, my coworkers were pleased with the free food.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Big News, Big News!

So the husband and I have a secret that we're finally revealing...I'm pregnant!!! I am in week 13 so we decided it was safe to share the news. We've already seen a couple of ultra sounds of the baby and we've both seen and heard the heart beat. I've gained a couple of pounds and I've moved into maternity pants (they are so comfy!). So slowly but surely it's starting to feel more real.

I plan on relating the pregnancy adventure on my blog, leaving out the gory details, of course. I'll present more of a G-rated version and let you find out the other details for yourself (if you don't already know) when you or someone close to you gets pregnant.

So what are a few things I've discovered about pregnancy so far:

First and foremost, fatigue. It's like nothing I've ever experienced. Sure, I've been tired before and had to push myself to get through the day. But this is different. It's not really a feeling of sleepiness, just exhaustion, both physically and mentally. For the first time in my life I actually started taking naps during the day. I usually didn't sleep for very long, but being able to put my head down for at least a few minutes was very refreshing. It's been very weird. Even the husband was taken aback by my constant desire to sit on the couch and do nothing. Fortunately, that has mostly passed. I seriously woke up at week 12 and felt normal again. While I've had a few days where I still feel tired and need to rest in the middle of the day, I mostly have my energy back.

The need to eat when hunger strikes. I used to have days at work where I would be too busy to have breakfast and would have my first meal around lunch time. That happens no more. Now I usually eat a good sized snack every couple of hours (sometimes more often depending on the protein quality of the snack or mini-meal). If hunger strikes (my stomach growls), I have about 5-10 minutes to eat something, otherwise I start to loose it. Now I always carry around snacks and water with me, much to my husband's amusement.

Heartburn! I shiver at the thought. Around week 7 I discovered heart burn. It sucks! It's basically due to a relaxation of the ligaments and muscles in the body (don't quote me on that) that will allow my hips to expand for delivery (too much detail??) but that has other consequences including heartburn (and loose joints). So no more marinara sauce and spicy foods (two staples in my diet). I discovered I hated heartburn more than I loved spicy foods. The good news is that I think the heartburn is passing a bit. I've started introducing spicy foods back into my diet and so far so good.

So there you have it. Stay tuned for more in the coming months.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Tribute

I wanted to say how proud I am of my husband. Last week he rode his bike to and from work on 4 out of the 5 days. It's about 3.5 miles each way. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but from experience when I was trying to ride my bike to work from our old house (all 1.5 miles each way), it's often easier said than done. It's mostly a motivational factor, versus time or effort. If the husband drops me off at work and then takes the car himself, it usually takes him longer than if he were to just let me take the car and ride in to work. Usually by the time he gets off work and heads him, the afternoon wind has picked up so he'll have an extremely strong headwind for about 1 mile. But by that time he's pretty excited to be going home and that gives him energy. So the hardest part is getting up in the morning and convincing yourself to ride your bike to work.

Great job, honey!

Update: The husband just corrected me on the mileage. It's actually 4.1 miles each way. And it takes him between 20 and 25 minutes each way. I'm even more proud!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Funny

Good conversation lead to great bumper sticker line:

"I'm not happy because the world sucks."

Would work on a t-shirt too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Exciting Time of the Year

So I am a few days away from the big 3-0. I’m fairly excited. 30 sounds fun and promising. 35 sounds a little scary. 40 is way to far away to even imagine.

I love birthdays. Especially mine. When the husband and I first started dating, we would have competitions for each other’s birthdays, to see who could outdo each other. I typically won, but considering that it was his birthday I was planning, we were both winners. He got me a great tv and alarm clock for my birthday once. I still have and use both of them. The alarm clock was one of the best gifts ever because I can wake up to a burbling stream or the sounds of the ocean instead of an annoying beeping. One of my favorite gifts to the husband was a kitten footprint painting. I got a blank canvas, some paint, and I had the kittens Monkey and Major dip their paws in pain and walk all over the canvas. The husband became concerned when he found green stuff on Monkey’s paw. Fortunately the paint was non-toxic (children’s finger paint) and the husband forgot about it until he got the painting.

This year I’ve requested a dinner at Benihanna and an ice cream cake.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Weekend News

Had a great weekend. We didn’t do one big thing but lots of little things that added up to lots of fun. Now granted, most of the fun things we did were very domestic in nature but I guess we’ve moved on to that stage in life. I overheard the husband telling one of his friends that now he would get excited over fancy ranges and huge refrigerators and modern couches and he didn’t understand why. He’s friend responded with “yeah, it’s called a wife.”

Friday I went to Sacramento with my boss for a meeting. We drove 2.5 hours for a 2 hour meeting and lunch and then drove another 2.5 hours to get home. This wasn’t very environmentally conscious, I know, but it was worth it. We had a great meeting and will even get more funding to do more work. Another agency had done work similar to us but had gotten different results, but it turns out that they did a lot of things differently so we would have been comparing apples to oranges. Friday evening we worked out in the husband’s home gym and then went for a walk around the park, which was filled with families and little kids.

On Saturday we went for a 3 hour bike ride. Our mission was to return something to Costco. We took my usual path to work (a hike/bike trail) for most of our ride and had an awesome experience. The hike and bike trail was bustling with cyclists and pedestrians. I typically see about 10 people during my 6 mile ride in to work and on Saturday morning we saw 10 people in the first 30 seconds. I guess the trail is the place to be on Saturday morning. We saw a really cute all black bunny along the side of the trail. He (or she) appeared to be someone’s ex-pet since he wasn’t shy at all until the husband tried to pick him up, and then he only hopped out of reach. The bunny drew quite a crowd and it turns out the bunny and some of his friends have been on the trail for about 1 month. By the time we continued on our trip, there were three ladies who had gone home to get supplies to try to trap and rescue the bunny. When we returned on our way home, we saw some lady walking around with a carrier and some veggies but there was no sign of the bunny.

The rest of Saturday we just hung around and did a few things around the house.

On Sunday we went to The Home Depot and Ikea. We tried The Home Depot closest to us but it’s a smaller store than the one we used to shop at and it didn’t have a big selection of some of the things we were looking for, so we went to our usual Home Depot. We bought a storage/shelve thing for the garage, a tool box for our current tools, and a cat door the husband will hopefully install in the door leading to the laundry room/litter box so that we can keep that door closed to keep out the chills (there’s a big vent in there) and the liter dust. We then went to the Ikea across the street and were exhausted, hungry, and dehydrated by the time we found the exit (and we even took the shortcut). We didn’t buy anything at Ikea.

This morning I rode my bike in to work. It was great a ride. The weather was cool and I felt I was going pretty fast but I still couldn’t get my ride time to less than 35 minutes. Oh well. I feel great right now so we’ll see how I feel in a few hours.

On my ride, I was thinking about the differences between conservatives and liberals. I always figured the conservatives are just the people who don’t know – the ones that don’t travel, have lived in the same small town all their lives, don’t have any friends who are different from them, and are probably religious. But I figured that you could still be really religious and liberal, as long as you respected other people and other people’s views. For example, you can be a devout Catholic, but still respect other people’s religious views and understand that this country was founded on religious freedom. Often this respect for other people and their views comes from traveling and meeting other people who are different from you and realizing that while they may attend different churches, have different activities at family reunions, eat different things, they really want the same thing as you – the opportunity to provide the best life for themselves and their families. The thing is that I’ve met quite a few people who are well traveled and have done lots of different things (like the peace corp and living, and not just traveling, in other countries) who are still quite conservative. The only other reason I can think of for being conservative is that you are super rich and you don’t want too much government involvement in your everyday activities. It doesn’t pay to be poor or middle class and a conservative. So that’s my political two-cents for this week. I used to always listen to my ipod on my bike rides, but I’ve been lazy about updating it and charging the battery. So now it's just me and my thoughts.

I can’t believe it’s a Monday again and that it’s another 4 days before the weekend. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blah...Can't Think of a Good Title

My mom was in town over the weekend and it was nice to see her. We mostly just hung out. We went to the farmer’s market and church on Sunday. It had been a long time since I had been to a Catholic mass and it was not as bad as I was expecting. Before each reading, the reader would give context to the meaning by explaining where it came from and what the source was about in general. After the brief introduction, and a long pause, the reader would say, “And now, a reading from…” I found that bit a little silly. The priest’s sermon was also pretty good. It was brief and he discussed some of the major topics of today – capital punishment, gay marriage – without sounding preachy. The priest basically said that the church is starting to get involved in the discussions of today’s important topics and that it may lead towards reform. That would be a good thing.

Noodles has been extremely whiney the past week. We think he misses his little friend Biscuit. Monkey and Major don’t give him any attention and when Noodles gets in their way too much, they tend to beat him up (Major smacks him and Monkey hisses and growls at him). We got Noodles a new toy (a fish with feathers on a string attached to a stick) which he loves, but we have to play with him constantly. We probably played a few hours with him over the weekend (everyone would take turns). He barely got tired and was whiney when we stopped. We are considering fostering another kitten to keep Noodles busy.

I learned a new word today, locavore. A locavore is a person who wants to consume food that is produced locally. And that has generated a new business:

But who has time to get to the farmer’s market, let alone plant a garden?

That is where Trevor Paque comes in. For a fee, Mr. Paque, who lives in San Francisco, will build an organic garden in your backyard, weed it weekly and even harvest the bounty, gently placing a box of vegetables on the back porch when he leaves.


Not only does eating locally support the local business, but it’s good for the environment. We were pretty good at killing our plants in the past, but we now have a basil plant that has survived for almost 1 month. The key is to not do anything to it apart from giving it water (in other words, don’t pick it’s leaves).