Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tempting fate

When you are dying to get some closure and be done with a house sale, what you don't want to have happen is for the phone ring on Christmas Eve and hear that your realtor has bungled a simple form so completely that he has put the sale of your house at risk. Want to know what else is no fun? For your real estate lawyer to vanish completely when he is most needed and to find yourself navigating a really bad situation alone, despite the fact that you are paying through the nose for these professionals to represent you and be on your team.

This was why our Christmas wasn't what I'd call relaxing.

Basically, our realtor forgot about a form that's required for the condo sale to go through, a form that had to be signed by at least two of the other owners in our condo association (but somehow he thought he only needed one signature). In the process of scrambling to get this form signed a few days before the holiday, the realtor somehow managed to piss off one of the units so badly that they refused to sign the form. He also tipped off SMTT that the house was about to be sold and she declined to sign the form. Our lawyer, the one we were paying to help us with events such as these, promptly vanished. We actually never heard from him again, except when he sent one of his minions to the closing to notarize documents.

After days of panicking and feeling completely disempowered and getting no sleep whatsoever, we finally consulted a lawyer friend, without whom I don't think the sale would have gone through. He helped us understand our rights in the situation and suggested how we could move forward, and on Sunday night we finally got the signature we needed. At the closing on Monday, the lawyer and realtor dropped the ball again and so the sale wasn't legally on record until Tuesday morning. But it's done. Closed. We deposited our check and handed over our keys. Our relationship with that condo is over.

Yet for some reason I don't feel closure. I am still grappling with so much anger, frustration, and resentment over what happened and these are feelings that I don't particularly want to be feeling. I want to be letting go and cleansing myself of all the negativity that we experienced since October. I am trying to focus on our new place, which we LOVE, how happy we are here, and how we can now focus on preparing for the bean. But mentally I'm still putting nails in SMTT's tires and upbraiding the realtor and the lawyer. I need a ritual or something to put this behind me--any suggestions?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

For real! Our first Christmas with our own tree, our last as nonparents. So goddamn it, we are happy! Life is good!

A fuzzy tree shot with a curious Griffin looking for ribbons to eat:

A scrubby me, wearing one of Lunchboy's shirts because at 33/34 weeks my shirts no longer cover my belly:

That's part of the new living room, as you probably guessed. I've been unmotivated to take pictures lately but I'm working on that.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy holidays

I kind of had a feeling something like this would happen. We moved, we signed the P&S on our condo over a month ago, and we have less than a week until the closing. I knew that SMTT was dying to know what was up with our unit because she was pestering our condo president for information that no one was giving her. Still, there was a voice in the back of my head that said, "She's not going to let you out without a fight." But did I expect her to try and block the sale of our condo, on Christmas Eve no less? No. And yet, she is. I don't even know what to say or do. We have our realtor on the phone with the lawyer trying to figure it out.

Monday, December 22, 2008


We've been in the new place for a week now and, with only 3 boxes left to unpack, we're feeling pretty settled. The cats agree--we really thought they would freak out at all the change that's occurred in the last week but with the exception of some momentary episodes of fear/hiding/messing up the bathmats, they are relaxed and seem happier now than they ever did in the old place. I guess they were picking up on all the weird energy there, too.

Friday was a bit scary for me. After only having a handful of Braxton-Hicks contractions over the past 6 months, I started having them that afternoon around 2pm and they kept coming every 5-15 minutes. By 11pm that night I was really uncomfortable and starting to get worried. I just didn't want her to come too early. Or during a blizzard--I could just see the stories for years to come--but though the doctor was concerned, I felt like all I needed was a good night's sleep, so we stayed home. The next morning I felt much better but noticed that the bebe was sitting much lower than she had been the previous day. Little feet that were once kicking off my ribs all day are now down around my belly button. I've had a series of dreams in which people tell me that she'll arrive before the end of January and I wonder if the dreams might be prophetic.

Saturday was a big day for us. We took our infant CPR class and then picked out our very first Christmas tree. The past three years we have gone to Florida for the holidays and we had neither the room for a tree nor the inclination to leave the cats alone with a tree for a week, so we simply enjoyed Lunchboy's mom's tree. This year, however, the year that we start our own family, we got our own tree and decorated it while the snow was falling heavily outside. Some of the ornaments were early childhood toys that were repurposed by my parents and passed down. It was really lovely. Amusingly, the cats seem less interested in the tree than they are in the ribbons on the gifts under the tree, but it was very cute to watch them be so fascinated with the strings of lights. Then Lunchboy went upstairs and put together the bean's crib. I stayed out of the way (there was crashing, swearing, and at least one beer involved) but when he was done it looked amazing.

Otherwise, though, I feel tired but good. Walking for 30 minutes feels me feel like I've done a 10-mile run, which is amusing and frustrating, so I am definitely slowing down. Winter, it seems, is a good time for that, though. There's nothing like a 3-day snowstorm for napping and avoiding the gym. The part that really makes me giggle is that for the first time ever, I'm not freezing my tuckus off despite the arctic temps. Incubating really does make you a walking space heater. I'll be walking home from the T and everyone else is all bundled up and I'm like, "Wusses! It's not that cold! I'm not even wearing a hat!" Then I go home and kick the covers off the bed all night because I'm too hot for the down comforter. Lunchboy is like, who are you and what have you done with my wife, whose feet are usually at zero degrees Kelvin this time of year?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


At the risk of being crass, I hope this doesn’t portend some entrepreneur coming out with baby-shaped dildos.


We are in the new place! I don't even care that yesterday was a really long day. I don't care that we're surrounded by boxes. We lay in bed last night and it was *quiet* No stomping. No bad vibes. No feeling trapped. Just quiet and a deep sense of peace.

We'll be unpacking for a while but I'll try to take some pictures soon, especially of the bean's room. There's not much to see right now except a crib in a box (want to make a JT joke but am failing) and some stuffed animals, but it's THERE and it's sunny and ready to be prepared.

The bean seems to approve. She got the hiccups at 3am and has been super active, though that might be because I have a really hard time not lifting things when they need to be moved. It's bad, I know, but I have a hard time slowing down. Even the cable guy told me to stop but what can I say, I'm stubborn.

The cats are in heaven. After a brief freakout when they got to the new place yesterday, Scully and Cringer are busily exploring and staking out new napping spots. Griffin is still a little wary but came out of her shell for some roaster chicken last night. Territory issues begin...NOW.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

Things I would rather not have going on in the 'ville include this.

I, along with other lady friends in the Union Square area, walk alone at night all the time, so having a robber/attacker in the area who is preying on women walking alone at night is unsettling. Why are we so unsavvy as to walk alone at night, you might ask? It's called commuting. Here's hoping the Somerville police catch this winner ASAP so we can all resume going to and from work without having to fear for our health and safety.

On a more positive note, this could be the perfect holiday gift for about 90% of the people on my gift list.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Steady as she goes

In the midst of packing mania this weekend, we took a break and went to our Prepared Childbirth class at the hospital where I'm delivering. Eight hours later, we emerged more informed and with a look of something resembling mild panic on our faces. I pretty much knew before the class that I wanted to have pain medication during labor but after watching the labor videos during the class my mind is now very firmly made up on the pro-drugs side of the argument. Also, during the part of the class when we toured the labor, delivery, and postpartum wards, the class was presented with a baby that had been born the day before. It was beautiful and pink and clearly brand new…and it weighed in at 12lbs. Want to freak the shizz out of a childbirth class? Present a bunch of soon-to-be-parents with a gigantic child. Even the husbands were like, "You'll TELL us if that's going to happen, right? RIGHT?????" Meanwhile, we moms were huddled in a group in the corner, rubbing our bellies and crossing our legs.

We move into the new place a week from today and boy can we not wait. We picked up the keys over the weekend and have been bringing over carloads of stuff because even though we hired movers for the actual we move, we are that impatient. Also, I don't think either of us can quite get over the amazement of realizing that this beautiful, new space? It's actually ours.

Did I mention that there's a perfect, nursery-sized room located right off the new master bedroom and it's already painted a lovely, sunny yellow? Or that there is a master bath (!!) and it contains a tub deep enough for the water to actually cover my belly?

Another event that is adding to our happiness is that we got news this weekend that a couple of great friends who had been waiting for their adoption referral got their baby on Saturday!! We could not be happier for them--they are already amazing parents, especially given that they had like 36 hours notice to prepare for their new daughter. Hearing their news felt like witnessing a true holiday miracle. Huzzah!!!!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

What's the scoop?

Something weird is going on. I'm having tons of abandonment dreams these days. Last night I dreamed that Lunchboy fell in love with the chick from Juno and left me for her after they'd been carrying on a not-so-secret affair for a while. The night before I dreamed I was married to Jon Stewart. We had three kids. Then he left me for another woman. Am I working through some deep-seated fears here or do I just need to lay off the Daily Show for a while?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Little discoveries

Hola. Happy Thanksgiving! It is 55 degrees outside and I am happy as a clam--the longer it stays like this outside, the better life will be. Above 40 is my winter mantra. Because, you know, I live in a place where anyone has a right to criticize the winter weather.

The long weekend was lovely, full of naps and long, hot baths, and…packing. Yes, we are moving! More than that I cannot say for fear of jinxing things. Now we are in the midst of boxes and while we cannot wait to get into the new place, which is really a dream come true in many ways, I am realizing how in denial we are about leaving our house. It has been our first home together and it is full of love and memories and lots of happiness. We know we are doing the right thing but there is still something in my head that won't quite accept that this isn't the place that I will be bringing our baby home to. Then again, I am a giant hormonal mess at the moment, so please take all of this with a grain of salt.

Four things I wish someone had told me when I found out I was pregnant:

1. It is entirely possible that your boobs may decide to leak well before the baby is born. Like, many months earlier. This is ok.
2. Babies do not know better than to refrain from kicking you while you are using the restroom. This can be a very strange experience.
3. You are neither dying nor about to go into labor if you are walking down the street and suddenly you have to stop in your tracks because a very sharp elbow/knee/whathaveyou has found its way to your birthing region/bladder. From the inside. See above re: strange. Also, painful.
4. Telling someone "you are only going to get bigger" is never the right way to go. At any given moment I feel like I have reached maximum density, and there are still 8-10 weeks left. I have no idea how that's going to work.

Lately I find myself standing in Target or Babies R Us feeling like I'm supposed to be buying everything, yet I buy nothing because it is too overwhelming. So much depends on how big the kid actually ends up being. Nesting + ambiguity + hormones = chaos.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Griffinator

In addition to sleeping on my feet at night, head-butting my belly, stepping on my boobs as often as possible, and keeping a quiet vigil on the bathmat while I take my nightly bath, Griff is now the self-appointed guardian of the box that holds our new crib:


Usually things like this happen to other people, people I envy a bit as I sit on the green line for 20 minutes trying to be Zen about the fact that it takes that long to get from Boylston to Arlington on a Monday morning. Someone must be looking down on us favorably, though. Today started off in a harried, stressful way--the city is doing work on our street, so I had to go running out the door half-dressed to move our car before we got a ticket, and then had to drive around for a while to find parking that wasn't affected by street cleaning. I got home and was like, is this how the day is going to be? Then I saw that I had voicemails on my cell phone. One of them was from work saying "Do not come into work." So I didn't. I've got a cat on my lap and I'm working from home. Woohoo!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Disparity studies

I started chatting with one of the other pregnant ladies in my yoga class today. There are usually 3-4 of us who rotate in and out of the lunchtime classes. This one particular lady has, until recently, always looked like she was a month ahead of me. Then somewhere over the course of the last week, I expanded to the point where she looked like she was a month behind me. It turns out she is due almost approximately one month before me. She is tiny. She can still do koundinyasana. I cannot do koundinyasana anymore. My body has decided to be a gigantic sponge this week and I feel like I am toting around an extra X number of pounds of water weight in addition to the 30 extra pounds that is strapped to my midsection. Even chaturanga makes me grimace now. I am a water balloon.

Anyhoo, this yoga lady was chatting away in the locker room and told me that she had taken off 2.5 years after her daughter was born. "You know, I'm from Canada and it's important to me to be home with my child," she said. Her tone was one of privileged disdain for us misdirected Americans, who clearly prefer to stick their kids in daycare than to marry someone with a nice job at Nokia who can afford to let his wife stay home fulltime. While they lived in SF. Gag me.

I was irked but since the yoga studio is technically in a spa, I didn't feel like being That Person, the one who disrupts the spa ambiance to give a little smackdown. Lunchboy and I do well for ourselves but not working is not an option for me. I would very much like to have more flexibility than I do, but my company is not what I'd call family friendly when it comes to messing with days/hours. My company still frowns on telecommuting for god's sake. The bean is going to be in daycare after my maternity leave is over and I'm still on the fence in terms of how I feel about that. So I don't enjoy hearing that kind of condescenscion from someone who is lucky enough to have had the option of being job-free after the birth of her firstborn. Then again, I chose to practice at a place filled with women who are clearly not returning to the office after yoga class, so I bit my tongue. Then I toddled off to ABP, where I have been such a regular at the harvest pumpkin soup bar that one of the cashiers knows me by sight. I think this is something I should be embarassed about

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Many things have been in the works. We have a pediatrician. We ordered our stroller. We signed up for childbirth classes. We are thinking about names (anyone have recommendations on good name books?) I just had my 28-week appointment and other than the fact that it turns out my iron levels are dismal (which probably explains the overwhelming fatigue), all is well. I am feeling not-so-little feet pushing off my ribs like they are a diving board, and her highness has developed a liking for doing triple layouts at 4am. Three people have said "Wow, you are REALLY pregnant!" in the past few days. Yes, I am--because you know, I was faking it before? But really, I am quite round these days.

My mouth is shut on the housing front. We have had so many ups, downs, tears, disappointments, moments of complete panic, moments of elation, and interim periods of complete resignation that at this point it makes no sense to say anything. When there is real, solid, signed-on-the-dotted-line progress, I will let you know.

Friday, November 07, 2008

This is our future

No one was kidding when they said it would go by fast

I'm due exactly three months from today.

Suddenly, three months doesn't feel like a lot of time. I felt like my first trimester would not END but now time is going by so quickly. I can feel little arms and legs doing strange things in my belly. In fact, we can see the strange things--lately my stomach has been twitching, jerking, and pulsating in fascinating ways. And suddenly I'm big. It's very exciting.

Still no news on the house front (we weren't expecting a whole lot, but it would be nice to have news!) We've had five showings since the first open house, which our realtor is ecstatic about, but people are (understandably) taking their time, so no offers yet. We can't do anything with the place we'd like to move to until our condo is under agreement, so we're crossing fingers and consulting all the gods of home buying in existence to see if we can get things moving. Otherwise we will stay put and try our luck again in the spring/summer. Ideally, though, we'd be able to get the hell out before the bean makes an appearance.

The cats, in the meantime, are having all kinds of adventures. From being shoved into their cat jails and driven around while the open house went on, to hiding while a parade of strangers ogles our house, and having all their favorite things shoved into a closet every other day, it's sort of miraculous that they haven't all decided to mutiny and claw us to death in our sleep. Well, almost. Scully did pick this incredibly opportune time to develop an anal gland infection. Yes. That is all I'm going to say about that one. I was not present for the vet visit at which her little issue was addressed and while I feel badly for Lunchboy that he had to be the tree that a screaming Scully climbed, I am SO GLAD I had to be at work. We've been giving her the cat version of penicillin, which is pink and smells terrible, and every time we try to give it to her she manages to spray pink stuff in a 10-foot radius. It's actually pretty funny at this point. Little do they know that there's another open house this Sunday. Teehee.

Friday, October 31, 2008

La casa

No major updates on the house front yet--but my fingers are crossed that I'll have news soon. We've had a lot of positive response to our open house, which was last weekend, and we've found a place that we really like that's only a 10-minute walk away, so we'll see how it all pans out.

I did have a small victory with SMTT on Wednesday. During the open house and the showings we've had, we've stored our coffee table and the cat boxes under a tarp behind the house in an area that is common space for all four units in the house. On Wednesday night, I came home to a catty Post-It note (I couldn't help thinking of that SATC episode) on the door saying that we needed to clear our stuff out of "her" space because she needed to put her garbage cans there. F* that noise. Spiteful wench. So Lunchboy and I went online, printed out the legal schematic of the house that says "common space" in the area we were using, highlighted that part, and taped the whole thing to her door with a remarkably civil note correcting her misconception. I wasn't home when she got the note but Lunchboy says there was a lot of stomping upstairs afterward. God, I cannot WAIT to get away from her.

Teeny yogini

One of the best things I've done for myself over the past year was to treat myself to a yoga membership at Exhale. It's semi-swanky and there are a lot of Lulu-ed out people wearing enormous diamonds, but the teachers are amazing and their studio, which is 4 stories underground, is one of the most calming, retreat-like spaces I've ever practiced in. I love that place. It's been my cave, my sanctuary, the place I go to be renewed, and whenever one of my teachers asks us to think about something we're grateful for, I always find myself thinking of them and my ability to practice there. It's my one indulgence and I don't ever feel guilty for having it.

Practicing in the yoga cave has been a journey in many ways. Last winter, when I felt filled with a freezing cold blackness for months on end, I'd go there and come out feeling warm, even if it was just for a few minutes. Then I started to heal, in no small measure because of the comfort and guidance I received from the teachers there. They watched as I got back to my formerly strong self, and celebrated with me when I found out I was pregnant again. They are some of the only people who don't make me feel weird when they come up and want to touch my belly. And they don't get annoyed if I have to child's pose it or modify a lot during class (this was especially nice during my first trimester, when I felt so sick and off balance that I'd sometimes only make it through 10 minutes of class).

It has been meaningful for me that I've been able to practice for my entire pregnancy so far. I like to think that the baby will have been practicing since she was conceived, whether she grows up to enjoy yoga or not. What I do know is that she enjoys when I practice--it often feels like she's practicing inside me during class, and she likes to kick in this one particular way during savasana. I think she will be a Radiohead fan, because my teachers play Radiohead a lot, and that she will know my teachers' voices almost as well as she knows my and Lunchboy's voices.

Pregnant yoga has been an exploration all its own--poses change every day as I lose a bit more range of motion, or find it harder to make room for my growing belly in lunges, forward bends, or side stretches. I've learned to practice next to a wall because my sense of balance is all off and since the baby is now kicking all the time when I'm upright, which can make me tip over. Also, doing chaturanga and some of the other load-bearing poses is getting more and more challenging as I get heavier. My body isn't used to supporting almost 30 extra pounds. At first I got frustrated that I couldn't do poses the way I used to (hello camel--my ab muscles are already overextended, there ain't no more backbending to be had), and then I just relaxed into it. Practicing regularly has kept the worst of the back pain at bay, it's kept me sane during this whole housing experience, and it keeps me from feeling calcified and as if all the blood in my body is stuck in my legs. I always feel better after class.

Today I had a really special experience with one of my teachers, who always gets the biggest smile on her face when I come to her class. I've told her before about how the baby seems to like yoga. At the end of class, while I was blissfully draped over a bolster during savasana (I have learned to LOVE props), she came over and started to rub my feet. Right as she touched me, the baby started to kick, so I took her hand and put it on my stomach. "OH!" she said, as she got kicked a few times. For some reason it felt very important to share the sensation with her. My teachers have always seemed to have a sense about who needs to be adjusted or who might just need a few moments of human contact during class, and perhaps it was a reverse of that. But she's been such a part of this pregnancy that I wanted to share that feeling with her, even just for a second or two.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A staggering work of heartbreaking genius

Last night I came home to what is arguably a beautiful sight -- my sister-in-law's boyfriend, who is a superb handyman, finishing up the paint on the new walls and closet downstairs and on the ceiling upstairs. After what feels like years of us talking about how we wanted to put these walls up, it is now 95% finished and it looks amazing. If our house does not sell within the next 8 weeks, it will be really wonderful to live with that extra room for however long we stick around. We've set the eight-week deadline so that, no matter what, we will not be moving and closing on anything new when I could conceivably be giving birth at any moment. Eight weeks is incredibly optimistic but we are being very realistic about the chances of it happening (insert mad laughter here) and are making contingency plans just in case.

So the painting and walls are lovely and the cats, all three of them, are so freaked out at this point that they are keeping each other company on the couch with minimal brattiness and taking turns giving us looks that seem to say, "WTF is going on here?????????? What are you keeping from us?????" They know something is afoot.

Given the dust that was everywhere and the concentrated paint fumes, which I could just picture doing some unearthly damage to the baby, we packed a quick bag and ended up spending the night at a Hampton Inn near Lechmere. We brought take-out from our favorite Thai place and ate on the bed while watching The Office. While I was getting ready for bed, Lunchboy flipped the channel to Comedy Central and in the middle of South Park this horrible commercial by the ASPCA came on. It was a full minute of pictures of abused animals who were clearly lonely, sad, and scared, a few of them with that heartbreaking look of desperation and resignation that comes when you know life is going to end soon and it will not be pretty. I have always been a gigantic soft-touch and an animal lover (my parents say that I was inconsolable for two hours after seeing Bambi. I say that that movie is not something any two-year-old should be subjected to. Also, there was an incident in elementary school where I had to be escorted from the auditorium during a wildlife movie in which a mother cheetah refused to let her cub back into the den. And those were just the early years). Watching this ASPCA commercial, which clearly had exactly the impact it was supposed to, my hormones and all the stress of the last few weeks took over and I burst into mad tears. I cried and cried and cried and cried. I will never understand people who abuse, neglect, or hurt animals and I hate that there is only so much one person can do in the face of thousands of animals in need of love and care. Maternal instincts, what? Even after the commercial ended and the tears stopped, I was haunted by the image of this one cat that had been found in the floorboards of a closet. A CLOSET, people. The only way I could get to sleep was to imagine how I would have nurtured and cared for that one cat and tried to make it all better.

Needless to say, Lunchboy and I are now members of the ASPCA. Who knows--if we end up buying a house in the burbs, we may have more space for other animals but do not tell him I said that. I've always wanted to volunteer at an animal shelter and the only thing that's held me back is the knowledge that I would have ended up adopting every creature that came through the door. Puppy eyes = sucker.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What not to do

When trying to relax, watching hours of the bizarre birth and parenting shows on the Discovery Channel is not the way to go. Last night I watched a show about women who opted to give birth at home without any medical support. It was...frank. Then there's Jon and Kate +8, which scares the crap out of me, not just because 8 kids is overwhelming just to WATCH but because whenever they show pictures of Kate's pregnant belly I want to crawl under the bed and not come out until the bean is a good 2-3 years old. Tonight I flipped on the TV (can you tell Lunchboy is traveling for a few days?) and the first thing I saw was a belly shot of a woman pregnant with quadruplets. Transfixed with horror, I stared as the woman was examined by a doctor, who said "Wow, your uterus is about your breastbone."


Now there's a show about a woman with three kids, a set of conjoined twins, and now she's 6 months pregnant with her sixth child.

I need a new season of Project Runway.


It's been a while. Mostly because things have been stressful beyond belief. First I was stressed and now I'm angry. I'm an angry pregnant person and frankly I just want to tell the whole world to f*ck off right now, so if you don't want to read any more, I understand and that's totally fine.

Just a few weeks ago, I was walking home from the T and relishing the contentment that I felt. I was so content. Life was great and I was grateful and I felt right where I wanted to be. Then, SMTT reared her ugly head again and I can't even get into the nastiness of her spite and her desire to make everyone around her as miserable as possible because it makes me so angry and frustrated that my head feels like it's going to explode. I've never before been confronted by a person who is so irrational, unreasonable, and completely self-involved. In the past we've tried to work with her for the sake of peace in our home, but this time we called two lawyers. Both of them said SMTT can't legally do anything without bringing her issues before our condo board. This is kind of comforting, if only because SMTT likes to harp on the fine print of our condo docs but does not actually wish to follow the protocol necessary when one is part of a condo association. She just wants to be a bully and have people do what she wants without actually having to defend her behavior to others.

This instance was made worse by the fact that one of our neighbors told SMTT that I'm pregnant and it seems to have driven her a little ballistic. Lunchboy had firmly requested that she not contact me in any way but when she found out about the baby she went out of her way to email me some things that were so upsetting and stressful that I melted down and had to leave work early. She actually said, "[Lunchboy] asked me not to include you in my emails, but I don't think that's fair." Fair? It has nothing to do with fair, lady, it has to do with respect, a concept she doesn't understand. We can discuss fair when her behavior does not have an impact on my and my baby's health. Until then, she can eat poo.

After the email meltdown, Lunchboy and I had a serious powow. At the time, we were hunkered down at D&D's house because the thought of going home and having that woman stomp around over my head was making me feel crampy. We decided that, as much as we loathe being pushed into a decision or an action because of this horrible woman, staying in our condo just to make a point isn't worth the toll it's taking on all of us. We no longer feel comfortable in our home. Every time we hear her walk around or come in/go out of the house, we tense up. Our house in no longer a place where we can relax and it makes me so furious that this has happened. Even if we call a condo board meeting and resolve SMTT's alleged issues around the cats, she is the kind of person who will just find another problem to pick on and all I can say is if that "problem" happens to be our child, then I will not be able to be polite or constructive. I don't want to bring our baby home to a place where the energy is so bad and where we are constantly tense.

So we made the decision to sell our condo (even though you couldn't choose a worse market to do it in) and either find a house or rent something until the market gets a bit better. We've spent the past two weeks going to open houses, talking to realtors, and getting our place ready for sale. This past weekend we actually made an offer on a house we loved in Andover but it didn't work out. So now we are selling without a sense of where we are going and I am not sure how to articulate how scary and unsettling this whole thing is to me because right now I am in a place where I want to feel safe and comfortable in my home, where I want to be nesting and creating a good home for our baby, and instead we are in transition with no destination in sight. True, we could choose to stay where we are and deal with SMTT. But that just doesn't feel like a better decision right now. We are constantly second-guessing ourselves and it sucks. I want to be getting ready for this baby and instead we haven't even had time to think about names or sign up for childbirth classes. I've stopped looking at nursery websites because I can't get all excited about putting a nursery together when we're not even sure where we are going to be.

I go to yoga and I try to be present, to let all the anger go, to just go with the flow and see what happens. Maybe it's the hormones but I am not finding myself able to be that person right now. I am just so mad--mad and stressed. And then I feel like a terrible mother because my poor kid is being subjected to all this. I'm supposed to be as calm and relaxed as possible. Sadly, Ativan is not an option. So if I am late in returning calls or seem to have fallen off the face of the earth, this is why.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cute is a four-letter word

I am having a hard time knowing what to make of it when people come up to me and say "Ohhhhhh, look at your cute little belly!" What do I do in this situation? Say thank you? Mostly I just nod and smile and let the person go on to something else. Today I got "Wow, I can't believe you're due in February, you're so small!" It's a little weird. In the words of the crazy lady who performed at Kripalu last spring, I love my belly, but the whole "cute" thing is open to interpretation. Does cute mean too small? Is it a polite euphemism for "gigantic"? Also, my cute belly is outgrowing all my maternity clothes at a startling pace. Pants I bought two weeks ago are already tight. How do you keep up?

That said, I love everything about carrying this baby. I love feeling her move around like a little alien. I feel a bizarre (and slightly pained) sense of pride when she spends 15 minutes kicking the crap out of my kidneys. I love her determination to grow big and strong, as evidenced by an unending hunger that necessitates two dinners and then an 11:45pm PB&J with milk. I love watching my belly get larger by the day and I don't mind when I discover that I've gone up half a shoe size, or that lately I'm finding it hard to catch my breath at night. Like, have to prop myself up with three pillows to breathe somewhat comfortably. This doesn't feel cute. But it does feel worth it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Brain has left the building

This morning I had the biggest pregnancy brain fart thus far. To date I have a solid history of leaving my keys/wallet/cell phone/iPod wherever I am not (usually at home or in another bag). I've forgotten appointments, conversations, and locations of things. I've blanked on taking my handful of prenatal vitamins at least twice and, more embarassingly, I've forgotten to put on deodorant a handful of times, particularly on mornings when I'm rushing out the door. Doh.

Today, however, I showered, dressed, deodorized, and began blowdrying my hair--only to realize, after several confusing and strangely greasy minutes, that I'd forgotten to wash the conditioner out my hair when I'd showered a whopping 20 minutes earlier.

So much for being on time. I hastily jumped in for shower #2, got dressed AGAIN and managed to get to work without forgetting something else along the way, which is semi-miraculous.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

All hail

I love this site. I used to have a housemate in Chicago who communicated primarily by leaving passive-aggressive notes all over the house and I hear her voice in like every post, with the exception of today. When I read this, I could think of about 25 people in LA who would have left that kind of note. I've wiped my memory of as much cycling knowledge as possible, but there's no forgetting the cult of the Colnago.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Girls just wanna have fun?

Yesterday my mom and I went on a bonding/shopping trip to Destination Maternity in Wellesley. The store is kind of genius--they carry clothes from three different maternity stores, have a spa and a yoga studio, and have cozy chairs and TV kept on ESPN for the boys. Until now, my maternity shopping has been sporadic and scattershot. During the summer, I just wore loose sundresses and made my normal clothes fit with a Bella band. But once the weather turned and I started getting big, it was clearly time to take the maternity plunge.

All the books say to try and hold off as long as possible on buying maternity clothes until the third trimester, when you're so big that nothing else will come close to fitting. I'm 22 weeks and nothing fits. It's not just the belly, it's everything. Which explains what the scale said at my last doctor's appointment (I was in shock about that one for almost a week). I bought a few pairs of pants from Gap Maternity a couple of weeks ago and they are already too small. Yes, I am supposed to be getting larger but outgrowing the maternity clothes? Ouch.

So, off to the store we went. Let me just say that if you think shopping for bathing suits in the spring is bad for the self-esteem, try shopping for preggo pants. They are not kind to the ass. Also, the little tags that say "buy your pre-pregnancy size" are full of shit. I think my mom thought shopping together would be filled with laughs and advice. Instead, after three trips to the fitting room, I was wishing I could have a drink or four. It wasn't pretty. I now own pants with elastic waists so high they come up to my boobs. There's nothing like granny pants to make you feel beautiful and sexy and feminine. Although I hear nursing bras come close.

Getting it done

We were at a lake house, enjoying the very last days of summer in a small resort town filled with warm, friendly people we'd known for years. It was almost time to leave. Once October came, everyone knew that the season was over and the dark, cold times were on their way. On our last day there, I refused to be inside. All I wanted to do was to walk on the beach in the sun and soak up the last vestiges of brightness. The next day was the first day of October and then we'd have to go.

This was my dream two weeks ago. I try not to read too much into dreams, so I brushed it off. But sure enough, October rolled around and the days got noticeably shorter and cooler. While the weather is actually really nice for me, seeing as I seem to be warm all the time, I'm definitely feeling the seasonal change and am not quite sure what to do about it. I know how important it is to think positive and be happy right now, so I am fighting the washed out melancholy as hard as I can. But I've been kind of down and hence pretty quiet.

A bunch of things have been going on that we've been grappling with--family employment issues, job stress (hey, who isn't wondering if they'll still have a job in a few weeks/months), and a fresh volley of stress from SMTT. I'm trying to go with the flow and be ok in the moment no matter what. It helps that I'm literally being kicked on a regular basis--the bean is apparently planning to be a kickboxer (sport of the future!) and I'm endlessly fascinated/uplifted by the way my belly reverberates with her activities.

The cats, while still mostly clueless about the bean, have begun to pick up on the fact that my belly now has a built-in pillow. I'm waiting for the moment that one of them settles in and then the bean kicks right under them. It's only a matter of time.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What goes around comes around

Last night, on our way out to a late-season picnic with friends down the hill, we bumped into our other upstairs neighbors (the ones who are not SMTT). They had an interesting piece of news: they, too, are having a baby…and they are due about a week before we are. Exciting! We like them a lot and are very, very happy for them.

Catty side benefit: this mean SMTT will have a baby next door to and a baby downstairs from her unit. At almost the same time.

Everyone in the house knows and is excited about the new crop of babies, with the exception of SMTT, whom no one has told. This is because she has made no friends in the house and so no one sees the need to share personal news with her. So it will be a trip to see what happens when she does find out eventually. Will she cry? Will she sell? It remains to be seen.

I know I shouldn't feel so much glee over this, but how can I not?????? SMTT can stomp all she wants but in a few months all her passive-aggressive noise will just come back on her three-fold in the form of babies screaming and irate parents telling her to put down carpeting if she's so upset. The other day, when the power went out on our whole block, she called us immediately to see if the outage was due to something we did. So please give me a little leeway to giggle here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stroller derby

This past weekend we went stroller shopping with some wise parent friends of ours. I was very glad they were there--not only did they keep us from getting completely overwhelmed, they let us borrow their 11-month-old to test drive a few strollers around Magic Beans.

I am still a little in shock over the whole stroller gestalt. It gives a new meaning to the term "curb appeal." Before I got pregnant, I never ever noticed strollers unless they were in my way. What's a stroller anyway except a practical means to transport little kids and their stuff without breaking a parent's back? But no. As I am now learning, strollers are complex, multilayered status symbols and they have much more to do with the parent than they do with the kid.

At Magic Beans, we encountered the Stroller Consultant, a man who asked us lots of questions about where we lived, what we'd use the stroller for (um, pushing the kid around?), and other criteria that should be very, very important to us, like storage. Did we want a stroller that came with a bassinet or not? A stroller that had car seat adaptability? Under-seat storage or rear storage? Plastic vs. rubber tires? Easy brake function vs. easy foldability? And, of course, does it look cool? All of this comes at a premium--the strollers started at $350 and just kept going up in price. The Stroller Consultant tried to up-sell us to the Bugaboo, which is like the BMW of strollers and costs $800 just for the base model. We did not bite.

Once we entered the world of strollers, I started noticing strollers--which I think is kind of like drinking the Kool-Aid. Now, when I see strollers on the street, I find myself scoping them out. What kind is it? Are the parents Bob Revolution people or Phil & Ted people? Did they go Maclaren or Quinny Buzz or UPPA Baby? Were they able to fit everything into their Mountain Buggy or does their Bumbleride look like it might topple over? And what IS the big deal about the Bugaboo, other than the conspicuous consumption factor? I seriously want to know.

I could probably ask--the other thing I recently learned is that the only thing parents love more than pushing their strollers is TALKING about their strollers. Last week I asked a mother about her stroller and, without ever exchanging names, we spoke for almost 20 minutes while her adorable, two-year-old cooed at us from ground-level. It was a new experience, the first of many I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


The loathing that has coursed through me since this woman was introduced as the GOP VP candidate is something I cannot quite find the words to describe. Angry, offended, terrified, shocked, and disappointed all come into play but that doesn't really matter. There are many thousands of writers who have written reactions to Sarah Palin better than I could hope to and since I'm neither a pundit nor a scold, I'll simply say that I have had a lot of fun playing with the Sarah Palin Name Generator because it lets me vent some of this vituperative negativity in a somewhat creative way.

Also, this article, while clearly taking a stand on the side of the issue that I agree with (though I happen to not find Sarah Palin attractive in the least), makes a point that I think is very important:

Stop voting for people you want to have a beer with. Stop voting for folksy. Stop voting for people who remind you of your neighbor. Stop voting for the ideologically intransigent, the staggeringly ignorant, and the blazingly incompetent.

Vote for someone smarter than you. Vote for someone who inspires you. Vote for someone who has not only traveled the world but who has also shown a deep understanding and compassion for it. The stakes are real and they're terrifyingly high. This election matters. It matters. It really matters. Let me say that one more time. This. Really. Matters.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Think pink

So much for mother's intuition--and all preselected baby names be damned--it turns out that we are having a girl!

Poor Lunchboy--he is terribly outnumbered. He has a mother, a sister, a wife, three girl cats, and now a daughter on the way. As his mother said, "He's got a harem." We will have to find the man regular infusions of testosterone so he doesn't go a little nutty.

We are really thrilled. For Lunchboy's sake a boy would have been a nice balance. Also, boys seem like they would be a little simpler when it comes to fashion, hygiene, and dealing with high school politics. But let's face it--girls rock. Our clothing is way cuter. Now we don't have to think about circumcision. And girls are not usually the ones shooting up high schools, so yay for lower rates of violence. They do, however, get married and need help with wedding costs. We will be calling our financial advisor pronto.

During the ultrasound we saw the kid doing leg presses against my uterus. This explains a lot. I think she is going to be athletic. Maybe a football fan? Her dad will need the extra moral support after watching Tom Brady go down for the season. Mr. Brady is my FF quarterback and I am kind of in denial. But now I can distract myself with lots of shopping for cute things such as this and this and this and this.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Prelude to a dirt nap

My sunny girl, in the back garden:

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The name game

People have been asking us if we've started to think about names yet and the answer is sort of. I feel like it's early to think about names, especially since we don't know if it's a boy or a girl. Also, I tend toward the school of thought that it's better to wait until you've met the baby to bestow a name. When I adopted Scully almost 10 years ago, I had a long list of flowery names that I'd always wanted to give a cat and once I got her home I realized very quickly that none of them were going to get the job done. For those of you who have met Scully, you will probably agree that she is definitely not a Delilah or a Guinevere. Her ladylike moments are few and far between to say the least. So I was glad to get a sense of her personality before putting a name to paper.

What I DO know, however, are the names we will not be giving this kid. For example, Track. Also, Trig. Who names their child after an abbreviation for a form of mathematics??? Seriously. Other names that will not be in the pot: Strom, Tip, Dick, Jeb, Stone, Norm, Rip, Dweezil, Brick, and Cornholio.

I have thought about Seamus Finnigan, because my mother loves the Irish so very much. But right now we're going with Hans Omar Obadiah Steveholt! Simon Le Bon as a placeholder. We hope he/she will be friends with the future T'Bucky D'Brickashaw down in DC.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Standing in the dinner line at Kripalu, tray full of veggies and something made with seitan. One one side is Lunchboy, who is, I guarantee, the only person in the room wearing a T-shirt that says "Body by Nintendo." On the other side is a Swami. A real Swami. I find this out when someone across the buffet says "Hey Swami, how's your day been?" And he says, "Fine, thank you."


We are out in the Berkshires for the long weekend and it is so lovely here. I took Lunchboy to Kripalu yesterday. We had yummy, healthy food and walked around and just being there relaxed me like it always does. Until I noticed that the trees are starting to turn. Not yet!! I am so unprepared for fall. It feels like the summer raced by and I guess it did -- I think I slept it away. Lunchboy keeps reassuring me that I'll be generating lots of extra heat this winter and that will make the cold weather more bearable but I just want summer to stay!

We're off to go laze by a lake today. Maybe we'll go back to Kripalu again later on --I really didn't want to leave. It's such a special place to me but usually I'm ready to go home after a few days because I miss my love, but when he's there I could stay for a long, long time. Though I think he'd lose his mind over the lack of meat and the restrictions on cell phone and computer use. He ate dinner happily last night but under his breath he kept muttering "so where's the Burger King? Why can't I turn on my phone?"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And a big round of applause for privacy

After years of obsessing about curtains and fretting over whether our weird and nosy neighbors could see into our house, we finally pulled the trigger on some grownup window treatments for the bedroom and living room. Lunchboy had some fun with the top-down bottom-up feature. Heh.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When you come up for air

I went to my first prenatal yoga class on Sunday night. This was something I'd been thinking of doing for a few weeks but usually by 7pm on Sundays I am semi-comatose on the couch and the idea of getting myself to anything other than bed is kind of a stretch. This, however, turned out to be only part of my procrastination. When I walked into the studio, it was immediately clear to me why I have been feeling ambiguous:

1. I was by far the least pregnant person in the class.

2. All the other, more-pregnant ladies were very in touch with their developing maternal selves. They talked about doulas and nurseries and feelings and such.

3. My primary motivation was that my lower back had kind of been hurting.

4. I do not have a doula.

5. I have not thought about the nursery. In fact, we are really unsure about where we are going to put the kid period.

6. Pregnancy really is a club. I used to think that, like fashion, one day you were in and the next you were out, but no this is not true. Even when you are technically in, you are not necessarily in. Or at least I felt very much like I was sitting in the audience rather than walking the runway (and now I leave that analogy alone).

In all seriousness, the class made me realize that I've been focusing almost to the point of exclusion on the physical side of this and have not allowed myself to think at all about the emotional side. This was not easy to realize because it came along with the awareness that I also have not really accepted that this is actually happening. I still feel like every day is just that--one more day, a gift, something to be experienced in the moment, but I haven't let myself plan at all. It's much easier to make fun of the planning in my head because frankly it feels like it's happening to someone else and I am simply a ravenous, exhausted observer who somehow needs maternity pants. But there I was, on my mat, surrounded by people who were so happy to be putting together their new crib and I spent the entire class on the verge of tears.

The instructor kept telling us to put our hands on our bellies and connect to the baby, but I still have trouble connecting a baby with what I feel right now. They seem like two different things. I am hoping that will change in two weeks, when we find out what we're having.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Window before:

Window after:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A post in which I do not whine about food

I was about to get all hormonal and apologetic for being so whiny in my last few posts and then I read this. Now I say, whining will happen. Am I happy and grateful to be pregnant? Hell yes. Is it always comfortable? JHFC no. I will let Fluffy say the rest, as she is way funnier than me.

Also, I love watermelon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fooded out

I am sick sick sick of food. Food is my master. It rules my day (and sometimes my night, too). I am supposed to eat what feels like a ginormous amount of food every day but am doing a poor job of it. This is partly because I am sick to death of the foods my body continues to crave. Yes, I am having an intimate and almost erotic relationship with cheese these days. But even that's starting to get old. Lunchboy jokes that we should just buy a few cows because other than peanut butter, the things I seem to want most are beef and various dairy products. Please tell me my stomach will expand its horizons because the idea of 5 more months of this? I am not sure how people stay on Atkins.

In the midst of our Olympics-watching this weekend, we caught a mini-bio of Michael Phelps that focused less on his bod than on his crazy training and diet requirements. Really, I think Bob Costas just has a huge crush on Michael Phelps. A few weeks ago, he did a pool-side interview with Phelps in which, after commenting on how Phelps swims like a fish (bet he's never heard THAT one before), he asked whether Phelps could also communicate telepathically with fish. Needless to say, that's when I lost all respect for Bob Costas.

Anyhoo. Mr. Phelps there spends 5 hours a day in the pool and says he is supposed to eat "between 8,000 and 10,000 calories a day." This was so hard to comprehend that I think it broke my head. If I had not just hoovered as much black bean beef into my mouth as possible moments earlier, this might have sent me to the kitchen, filled with renewed inspiration and determination. I do not think I could eat that much even if I was trying very consciously. Maybe if there was an In-N-Out Burger on the east coast. Mmmm, cheeseburgers. But still. Swimming schwimming. Michael Phelps is my new food hero.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It's all in the timing

Kid is due two days after the Superbowl.

It's raining and I'm cranky

The possibility that pegged jeans are being forced back into fashion is making me cringe. I didn't get the pegged thing even when it was big in the 80s. Not only did the cool kids peg their jeans, they knew HOW to peg their jeans and I definitely did not. I needed someone to sit me down and show me that you had to fold the cuff over itself before rolling it up. But no one ever did, so I just rolled up my cuffs and winced as they swished around my ankles. I was that out of it when it came to clothes.

It's entirely possible that I'm feeling sensitive about the pegged jeans thing because right now Facebook is bringing up all kinds of memories and baggage from the past that I am now remembering I left behind me ON PURPOSE. Hormones and high school were a bad mix then and they aren't doing me any favors now. "Join Facebook!!" everyone said. "Join my mob on Facebook!" They didn't mention that seeing the names of all those people I went to college to get away from would inspire several nights' worth of high school nightmares. Thank you, hormones. It's so much fun dreaming that the cool kids are being spare in their friend invites and very picky in the ones they accept--I love feeling inadequate because of a website. And yes, I'm just a little oversensitive!

Things I would like:

to never hear another word about Brett Favre

to fit into my pants again

to leave all those stupid freshman year hookups where they belonged--in freshman year, not in my inbox attached to a friend request.

Now I would like another grilled cheese, yespleasethankyou.

Monday, August 04, 2008


1. If you ever happen to find yourself knocked up right before a cross-country road trip? I highly, HIGHLY recommend staying home. Unless you are one of those lucky women who somehow doesn't find themselves saddled with morning sickness. I am not one of those women. As excited as we were about the drive, we discovered quickly that 24-7 exhaustion does not mesh well with long days of driving. Also, sitting in a car for 10-14 hours a day when bloated? Less than comfortable. I won't even get into the peeing thing except to say that it's hard to make progress when you're stopping roughly every 75 miles (though it does make for a scenic tour of statewide rest stops). Then there's the food thing. Morning sickness + road food = very, very interesting. I pretty much subsisted on french fries and milk shakes until we hit South Dakota, when we came across a Perkins (like the IHOP of the Midwest), which was a godsend because then I could stuff myself with pancakes and eggs for dinner as often as possible. Let me say again how much I loved Wisconsin and its plethora of Interstate cheese shops. When we finally got home I slept for two days. It was a lot.

2. You know that weird sense of guilt you get when you switch hairdressers and you feel like a total traitor? Changing OBs feels the same way, except your hairdresser doesn't get to look at your uterus. Also, hairdressers don't usually give you a line about how popular their practices are and how important it is to create a relationship with your provider. Bite me. Anyway, last Thursday I broke up with one doctor (this time we shopped around and decided on one of three really good people) and then bumped into my old hairdresser on Boylston on my way to get food. Matilda cut me hair for like 8 years but I got sick of driving to Arlington. "Where have you been??" she asks. "I've been thinking about you!" eeeep. Double guilt.

3. The eating for two thing is no joke. Though the morning sickness is mostly gone (thank god), I seem to have lost my appetite. Everyone says that your appetite gets better in the second trimester but so far I just feel full all the time. This makes eating in general, but in particular eating the voluminous quantities I am apparently supposed to be eating, kind of hard. I am basically force feeding myself on an hourly basis. On Friday I found out that eating only when you're hungry is not only wrong, it will f* you up. As in, get incoherent, faint, and feel like your blood pressure is sky high. The doctor said go home, elevate my feet, and eat as much protein as possible. Lunchboy giggles whenever the subject of protein comes up, but at the risk of TMI, I will say that when having a toothbrush pass your lips makes you hurl in the sink, putting anything else in there is only asking for something ugly to happen. So peanut butter it is. I feel like a goose with a funnel down its throat, being primed for fois gras.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Welcome to 2003

Several big things happened in the last week. First and most importantly, I did what apparently everyone else in the free world did years ago and joined Facebook. Or to be more honest, I was arm-wrestled and guilt-tripped into joining Facebook after many years of resistance. I mean, how many social networking sites is it really necessary for a person to belong to? Do I really want to get back in touch with people I knew in high school? I am still not sure about this one because once I joined Facebook, the whole weird, scary, shocking, unsettling Facebook world opened up. My first grade boyfriend? There. My first kiss? There. The childhood neighbor whose moving van ran over my cat? There. Ratio of high school and college classmates who are now parents? Very, very high.

Which brings me to important thing number two (clearly my priorities are in ORDER). We are having a baby.

On Monday we went in for our 12-week appointment and heard the heartbeat on doppler, and today we had the 13-week testing ultrasound and saw the little bugger squirming around like mad. Heart's beating like it should be. All relevant parts appear to be there. Despite the unreasoning fear I've wrestled with over the past three months, the doctor said we're in the clear to tell anyone we want now. So I'm telling.

We're having a baby!

I think it's a boy. We won't know for another 6 weeks but I want it on the record. Right now we just call it the bean (original, yes) because after the first two ultrasounds (I have had five--I am the world's biggest ultrasound whore. I basically demanded a scan every two weeks til we hit 12 weeks and took no guff from any doctor about it), the kid looked like a kidney bean. With a heart beat.

So now we actually have to deal with the reality of a baby, which we are very excited about but also very unsure how to approach. The stuff to buy? The things to plan for? Names? Fear not, however. I guarantee Lunchboy will have a series of spreadsheets set up in record time so we can optimize all baby-related activities to the utmost. Have I mentioned lately how much I adore my husband?

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Today was a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very bad day to wear a white shirt.


I forgot to mention this and I'd say I'm not sure how that happened, but I have officially lost my brain over the past few months and it seems like I remember things a lot less frequently than I forget them these days.


SMTT is gone.

(For now)

We came back from our road trip to find two "Do not park--moving" signs taped to the trees in front of the house, which was curious because we didn't know about anyone moving in or out. Two days later, we heard her making the biggest racket, dragging something (or things) around and then crashing down the stairs. Sure enough, she was dragging two suitcases, which she handed off to the driver of one of the pretentious Prius cabs that she takes. I checked my email and there it was. The best summer gift we could have asked for. An email announcing that she was off to Africa to do research and wouldn't be back until the end of August.


We danced. I'm serious--we did an actual jig.

Life at home has been so much more pleasant and relaxed since then. We're now hoping she falls head over heels in love with someone who lives in Africa and decides never to come back. Actually, Lunchboy floated an idea involving Ebola but we decided that was too inhumane (it was funny, though). If you lived underneath SMTT, Ebola might be funny to you, too. Though I can't make any guarantees.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Waiting it out

This weekend the weather alternated between oven-like heat and crazy, killer thunderstorms. Needless to say, we stayed in with our lovely air conditioners (and nice, safe walls) and were extremely lazy. We watched Dr. Horrible, which was hysterically funny, and also Recount, which was definitely NOT. I think these two have a nice correlation but that we watched them in the wrong order. Recount made me anxious, angry, and called up lots of memories. If it wasn't for the deadly lightning creating havoc around the city, I would have stormed out the door for a good long walk. Dr. Horrible, on the other hand? Who knew Doogie Howser could sing? Who knew Nathan Fillion could be a prick? Does Joss Whedon just have everyone he's ever worked with on speed dial for future projects?

Friday, July 18, 2008

See that girl

I know it is sad and bad and you can mock me if you want to, but I really want to see the new Mamma Mia! movie.

I've never been a big Abba fan. I've never seen the stage show or done more than watch "Muriel's Wedding" a few too many times. But everyone in Mamma Mia just looks so happy. Even if it's insane, fake happy, it's better than doom and gloom and destruction. Plus, I love Amanda Seyfriend. She is one of the best parts of Big Love.

The new Batman is probably a way better movie, but I'm not in the mood for dark. I want some cheesy, silly singing in the Greek sunshine. Plus, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth don't hurt. Not at all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A random reminiscence on past experiences with a cappella

For a small, liberal arts college that (when I first arrived more than 10 years ago) still allowed on-campus liquor deliveries from the local package store, Colby was a pretty clean-cut place. It had its cliques, its drug use, and lots and lots of drinking, but then what school doesn't? But when you wanted beefcake at Colby, you didn't have to look further than concerts by the male a cappella group, the Colby 8.

Preppy, handsome, and charming, the Colby 8 always recruited members who must have spent years perfecting their class clown capabilities because their concerts were always funny and always packed with undergrad girls (including me) who watched raptly with eyes full of stars and tried to be surreptitious in wiping the drool off their chins. The 8 did concerts in the library during exam week, they popped up in the Spa and the chapel, and they were pretty much like the small college version of celebrities. Girls wanted to date them. Guys enjoyed the concerts even if they refused to admit it. It was oh so very brick-and-ivy.

I coxed a bunch of the a cappella guys on the crew team and saw them do things like try to wipe their ball sweat on each other and take pictures of each other's fruit baskets on crew trips, and yet they still somehow seemed cool. And then, after graduation, I dated one of them for almost three years. And the thing was, J was in an a cappella alumni group. They continued the fun after college, and they were proud of it. So when I read articles like this, which make it sound like most former a cappella singers are mortified to admit their melodious pasts, I giggle because the alumni group did no such thing. They reveled in the singing, the paid gigs, the ability to maintain their college camaraderie, and the uniform (white shirt, khakis, brown belt, tie). And they still perform at Colby, usually during reunions and homecoming weekend. I missed their concert at our reunion last summer, but that was ok because every time I hear the songs they sang on the radio (hello, "Semi-Charmed Kind of Life" and "The Way" by Fastball), I have to change the channel because I heard them way too many times to be nostalgic about it.

Note: I have no idea where this post came from, but I read that Slate article and somehow felt like writing. Weird. Call it therapeutic?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I sense...a hatred for Friskies

Work has been insane lately, which has meant no time for anything fun, really. It also means I've been so busy that I'm not doing anything fun enough to write about. OH! Except this: last night I talked to an animal psychic to see if we can figure out why Scully is such a nervous wreck.

You might remember that last year (or the year before?), Lunchboy and I consulted an animal behavior specialist to figure out why her highness was refusing the use the litter box. The specialist's advice was really helpful and seemed to be effective until we went away on our road trip. We're still not sure what happened while we were gone, but when we came back Scully was hiding in closets and refusing to use the box again. At our wit's end, we went with a friend's referral to the animal psychic. I figured hey, what do we have to lose? She was affordable and it wouldn't hurt anything.

So last night I sat on the back porch for 45 minutes, talking to the psychic and watching our newly resident family of hawks swoop around the evening sky. The psychic was not cheesy or cliched or predictable. She said a lot of useful things about what Griffin and Cringer have apparently been doing to mess with Scully's head and suggestions for how to make the situation better. I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed the session, though not the part where the psychic told me that, before I adopted Scully, she had been with a family that kicked her a lot. She ran away from them but is still afraid of feet and slamming doors, which totally jibes with her behavior over the past 10 years. My poor puss! Also, poor Carmen, who came over to see if the session would make a good article and ended up sitting around listening to one half of the conversation because my speaker phone wouldn't work. Sorry!

My tiger and day lilies are blooming. So are the hostas. I gardened this weekend for the first time in ages and enjoyed pottering about, still not really sure what I was doing. I have an area of the side yard for all the plants that didn't do well where they were first planted. It's like the reject pile at a discount store, but it's somehow still green and thriving. Maybe not so pretty, but also not dead. Yet.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

...and the wind blew

Things I enjoy about windy days downtown:

The omnipresence of Scooter Man, a guy who looks remarkably like Dean on Weeds, who sails around Copley on his Razor using only a big sheet of plastic and a seemingly endless supply of leg power for velocity. He wears a helmet and a safety vest--he is not stupid--and he is always smiling. He seems to get great joy from windy days and he always imparts that to the people around him, even when he almost hits them.

Things I enjoy slightly less:

Feeling the building sway back and forth, sometimes violently.

When windy days coincide with days when I wear a skirt, necessitating an awkward walk to and from the T with me holding my skirt so I don't flash everyone within a half-mile.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


What happens when you try to order a lot of food? I'm serious--when you are ravenously hungry and you order a crapload of whatever food you're dying to eat, what happens? Is the food prepared and brought to you swiftly and without question? Or do you get looks?

I get looks. Apparently being petite and female means I am not allowed to eat a lot. If I go into any of the food establishments near my office and order two grilled cheese sandwiches, this is what happens without fail:

Me: I'd like two grilled cheese sandwiches, please.

Them: ???

Me: Two. Grilled Cheese. Sandwiches, please. (maybe I talk quietly?)

Them: TWO?

Me: Yes, two.

Them: Ok. (raised eyebrows, not sure if they heard me correctly) Two you said?

One thing I will say for Wisconsin is that this doesn't happen there. In Wisconsin, you can order two 4-cheese sandwiches and no one blinks an eye. All they want to know is do you want mustard with that. I wish more people could be like the people in Wisconsin.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lessons learned

From this trip:

1. The GPS is not always right or reliable.

2. Wyoming is beautiful and it never ends.

3. South Dakota is boring and never ends.

4. Don't plan to stop in the Twin Cities when you don't leave Rapid City until after 10am--it's impossible. We crashed after 11 hours of driving in Rochester and it was too late to have seen anyone.

5. Bugs in the west have a death wish. Many, many of them committed suicide on our bumper, ski rack and side reflectors. So many that by Ohio, live flies started becoming attracted to our car because the dead bugs were so crusty. We were going to take a picture but it rained in upstate New York and washed it all away.

6. Road food is novel and enjoyable for roughly two days and then it becomes vile.

7. The state troopers in Wyoming and South Dakota are the nicest police officers ever. They are so nice that it feels like they're doing you a favor when they pull you over for speeding. Somehow Lunchboy got away with a warning and I got the $150 ticket for doing 91 in a 75 mph zone. YOU try not speeding in Wyoming.

8. I hate hate hate hate Howard Stern.

9. Even satellite radio repeats the same 10 artists and 15 songs over and over. We should have invested in a few books on CD. Bligh, your mix rocked--thank you!

10. There's no place like home.

Kill the headlights and put it in neutral

Day 1: San Francisco to Mammoth Lakes, CA

Day 2: Mammoth Lakes, CA to Salt Lake City, Utah

Day 3: Salt Lake City, Utah to Rapid City, South Dakota

Day 4: Rapid City, South Dakota to Rochester, Minnesota

Day 5: Rochester, Minnesota to Ashtabula, Ohio

Day 6: Ashtabula, Ohio to Somerville, Massachusetts

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eastward bound

We're in Salt Lake City at the moment, trying to wake up and get ready for today's leg of the drive, which is to Rapid City, South Dakota. But we can't stop sticking our heads out the sliding doors of our hotel room because the view of the city is just so amazing. The mountains are amazing. This is what I love about the west--all the wide open space, the great sunlight, and the mountains.

We flew into San Francisco on Wednesday night, then drove to Yosemite on Thursday. It was lovely but very crowded. It seems like a nice place to take a family for a week in the summer. Then we drove out the Tioga Pass to Mammoth Lakes and stayed there overnight. Gas in Mammoth Lakes = $4.99/gallon. Doing a trip like this when gas prices are at their highest levels ever definitely feels screwed up--we didn't see prices under $4 until South Dakota and then they hovered around $3.96. It's crazy.

Yesterday we drove from Mammoth to Salt Lake. Reno? Not so pretty. But as soon as we hit Utah, things got beautiful. The salt flats were just so cool.

More soon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


It was a fun show, but the pixelated screens behind the stage made Michael Stipe look a lot like Nosferatu.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I actually had things I wanted to write about, but then it got skin-meltingly hot and all coherent thought got baked out of my brain. That was ok with me. The heat and humidity seemed to have almost everyone on their knees begging for mercy, but I loved every second of it.

Heat creates a striking dichotomy in our house. Being a heat-lover, I am a fan of fans, of open windows and fresh air, of going for walks and enjoying the fact that it is not -10 degrees outside. Lunchboy, on the other hand, loathes the heat. It enervates him and he uses the first day of heat as an excuse to bring out and install our window AC units, which he then cranks on high for days on end. My only problem with this is that the AC is so loud that, even with ear plugs, it keeps me awake at night. We've found a good middle ground on AC vs. fan, but the funny part is seeing how our differences extend to the felines in the house. Like me, Scully LOVES the heat. She spent all four days of the recent heat wave either sitting in the windows soaking up the sun or rolling around on the patio, absorbing sun and radiant heat from the sidewalk. Griffin and Cringer, on the other hand? Lumps. They slept and whined and moved as little as possible, usually only to stretch out on the wood floors in a valiant attempt to become as horizontal as possible. When the AC was on, they got a little less whiny and a little more mobile.

Speaking of windows and fresh air. This morning I decided to open one of our bedroom windows to get a breeze. But since it's been really humid for the past few days and our windows are ancient, the wood was stuck. When I tried to bang on the sill to get it to move, I accidentally hit one of the panes and *smash*, half the window caved in. Looking for a brilliant way to start the morning? I recommend breaking windows that are a giant pain in the ass to fix. Oh well!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Decisions and revisions

I haven't done much work on the garden lately. There isn't a lot I can do until that dratted window gets enlarged and that probably won't be until July. But things seem to be growing (mostly), so fertilizer +1, black thumb 0.

The big rhododendron, in full bloom:

Tonight I have to choose between going to my last pottery class of the session and attending a meditation initiation that one of my yoga teachers invited me to. I don't know what to do! I would love a way to build a more structured meditation practice into my life, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the dogmatic parts of Tibetan Buddhism. Or with an "initiation." But I don't want to miss out on what could be a really cool experience because of my uncertainty.

Today I am really frustrated with doctors. I have health insurance, so I really have no right to bitch, but I am fed up with going to health care providers who have no people skills whatsoever. With a very few exceptions, most doctors, technicians, etc. are so burnt out on seeing an endless parade of patients that they end up being cold, impersonal, and cruel (though probably unintentionally). When you go to the doctor, you want to feel taken care of! I don't think that's too much to ask. I am tired of seeing providers who end up making me feel small, stupid, and like a hypochondriac because I take my health seriously. Especially when I'm doing what the doctor told me to!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Duran Duran

The concert was one of the best shows I've ever been to. We had so much fun!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The Bush family compound in Kennebunkport--booooo!:

Friday, May 23, 2008

We're not alone!

"This exchange is characteristic of my overall attitude when it comes to home improvement. I am both self-righteous and incompetent, a truly American combination. The result is a kind of flustered inaction familiar to those who have lived in tenements."

Carmen, I see why you like him so much.

One day in Maine

We're heading up to Maine for the long weekend! I am so excited to get out of the house and enjoy the good weather. First we're going to Ogunquit (I've never been there before) and then to Portland (not so new, but close to other, newer places). The weather is supposed to be spectacular and I'm looking forward to having a break from the SMTT and other house-related stress (the toilet that just broke and needs replacing, the bathroom tile that is popping off the wall, etc). When it rains, it pours. At least it is no longer raining into our basement!

The garden is green and growing. It looks like we're getting that window enlarged sometime this summer, so there's an ugly patch that will just have to stay ugly for a little while longer. I can live with that. Our next door neighbor is itching for us to re-do our walkway and we'd love to make it look less crappy, but 1. it would cost a lot and 2. it would mean cooperating with SMTT and that is not going to happen right now. The same neighbor told us that SMTT is telling everyone in the house that the plumber she sent over said he wouldn't go back into our basement without a gas mask. Which is patently false--he told us he smelled nothing and that he thought she was a nutcase. It's possible he said two different things, but we've had like 5 people go downstairs in the last few days to do a smell test and just make sure we're not sticking our heads in the sand if there really is a smell issue. So far the consensus is that SMTT is crazy, like crazy taxi crazy. The theory held by the rest of our condo is that she's realizing she overpaid for her unit and is taking it out on everyone else (she calls our next door neighbor to do her handy work ALL THE TIME, poor guy. She treats him like a serf). This is the woman who didn't lift a shovel all winter but gave us crap for putting a coat rack in the foyer so we could hang up our wet coats after we shoveled. Her reason? The rack "intruded on her line of sight." Whatever, you Dwell-obsessed bitch.

Ah, nothing more interesting than other people's condo issues, right? Right. Sorry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In which it would be nice if McDreamy was real and less annoying

During 2000, when I was finishing up grad school in Washington, DC, I covered a Senate subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill. It had something to do with technology. Tom Daschle was speaking. I wasn't really paying that much attention because 1. I couldn't stop fondling my Hill credentials and being amazed that I was actually there, doing something that felt REAL; and 2. I was starstruck because, in the back of the room, joshing around with his favorite reporters, was Ted Kennedy and no Senate hearing could compete with him. Red-faced (you could literally SEE the years of drinking), rotund, with that iconic smile dancing around his face, it felt like being 15 feet away from history. Which I guess in a way it was. He was effortlessly at ease in what was shortly a target-rich viper pit (the election was like a week away), and I could see immediately why he was on a pedestal, why the Kennedy legend was still alive. I was too young for all the dramatic Kennedy stuff, but it still broke my heart to hear that Ted Kennedy has brain cancer. Being a Massachusetts native, I always felt kind of safe knowing that Ted was in Washington looking out for us (unless you're Mary Jo Kopechne, but again, too young). I hope he is able to stick around for a while longer.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The short version--updated

The main impetus for our urge to look elsewhere is that our our upstairs neighbor, who used to be annoying and kind of farcical, has now gone completely off her high-and-mighty Harvard professor rocker and is edging toward unbearable. As in, should be living in a single family house, NOT a condo where you share space with other people. My impression was always that academics could be reasoned with, but I've since learned (and been told by my favorite academic), that this is not true. She's perfectly content to pull shit that is patently false, such as insist that her leaky gas line be paid for by the entire house because "it's a safety issue" (hello, do you not understand the way condo assessments work?) and make intrusive, offensive claims, such as that her unit is being polluted by tainted air from the cat boxes in our basement and it is "affecting the quality of her life." Never mind that she is happy to stomp on our heads at 6am, midnight, whenever she decides to forget that her living room is directly over our bedroom, despite the fact that we have asked her repeatedly, politely, and reasonably to be more considerate. Or that the place she says her unit smells like cat is in her bathroom, where the previous owners stored their cat's litter box. Or that our basement is three floors below her. Or that I am OCD about cleaning our cats' litter boxes because my greatest nightmare is for someone to walk into our house, wrinkle their nose, and say "Oh, you must have cats." Or that we have complied in a neighborly way with her requests to insulate pipes and block any openings that might somehow lead to her unit. Now she is threatening to fine us $5 a day for having 3 cats. True, our condo docs allow us to have one cat, but until now no one ever gave a damn. Our condo board president has a dog that is larger than what the condo docs allow, too. So really our neighbor, who I call SMTT (which stands for a nickname that is rude enough for me to keep it to myself), is just being malicious and vindictive.

SMTT is also the woman who bought a unit in a house built in 1886 and FREAKED OUT when she discovered that the house was, gasp, imperfect. That there were spots of dry rot on the exterior walls and mold in the grout of her brick walls. Lady, if you can't handle an old house, BUY NEW CONSTRUCTION. In a single family home. Where you can be a flaky control freak and mistress of your domain. Otherwise, please check your shit at the door.


This weekend was a bit of an adventure, in some ways good and in others that were challenging. I moved the wisteria so it is now along the ugly-ass chain link fence that runs along one side of our property line (but belongs to our neighbors). Now the wisteria can climb and be free and hopefully provide some more privacy along that part of the patio. I also moved both rose of sharon bushes and got rid of the rocks that were lyng along one side of that weird patch of yard. In the process, I also found a lot of slugs (ew) and two big nests of the nasty red ants that I've been battling for a year now.

A more creative person would think of ways to use those rocks in that weird back space, maybe to create a little rock garden, but my brain doesn't work this way. So the rocks are still in a pile until I figure out what to do with them.

On Sunday, we hit a bunch of open houses in a suburb north of the city. We are still a year or so away from being in a position to sell our place and move, but some new factors have come into play that may or may not speed up our process (I'll get to that in a minute, and no, I'm not pregnant). Neither of us was terribly familiar with the suburb, but it has a good reputation, good schools, a stop on the commuter rail, and nice houses for prices that won't cause collective apoplexy. It was my first foray into house hunting, as Lunchboy bought our place right before we started dating, so I've never had the chance to shop for homes. After watching what is probably way too much Flip That House, it was interesting to see what's on the market and how people are presenting their properties for sale. Of the four places we saw, there was only one that I really liked, a bungalow with lots of light and a distinctly non-Colonial layout.

But are we really ready for the 'burbs? This is the question. And the answer is that we are not sure. Pros: space and quiet and privacy. Cons: far away from friends and community, will mean relying a lot more on the car. We're spoiled because right now we have everything we need two blocks down the hill. I know that kids will change the equation in a major way, and I wish we had St. Paul, MN-like neighborhoods in Boston, close to the city but still very lowkey and affordable. So we have a lot to think about (thankfully we also have lots of time to think!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hangin' tough

In the end, I did not get New Kids On The Block tickets. Not because I didn't try but because we couldn't get through the Ticketmaster site and were already being scalped for upwards of $200.

Am I alone in asking WTF?? $200 for New Kids tickets? I was unaware that the loss of 5 grown men's dignity was that pricy.

To console ourselves, my best friend and I have watched this video a few times. It's somehow deeply satisfying to see the looks on the guys' faces change from "What on earth have I gotten myself into? Why am I doing this AGAIN???" to "Yeah, I've still got those moves! Bring on the ladies and their hot cougar moms!"

Instead, Lunchboy and I got tickets to see Duran Duran in two weeks. I'll have to content my teenybopper self with dancing along to "Girls on Film."

Does "makes a mean mixed drink" count for anything?

Update: the full charts for husbands and wives can be found here (thanks to Lunchboy :)

I found this on The Morning News and it made me think of my grandfather, who I know I've mentioned in the past because he often (as in, every time I saw him) used to tell me that I would never find a husband if I couldn't cook or sew. "Grandpa," I replied, "If I'm dating someone who can't cook for himself than I don't want to marry him." Then learned to sew, went out and found myself an amazing cook and married him a lightspeed before he could realize that I was deadly serious when I told him I hated to cook.

Apparently, however, if we were back in 1939 I'd be begging for scraps in a boneyard or something.

As per the Marital Rating Scale: Wife's Chart, I freely own up to #9 in the demerit column: "Puts cold feet on husband at night to warm them." But hopefully that's balanced out
by #6 in the Merits column: "Neat housekeeper: tidy and clean." As for "good sense of humor: jolly and gay," I'll leave that one alone. Because, you know, I ALWAYS dress for breakfast, slather myself in red nail polish, and treasure my closet full of beloved soiled, ragged dresses to wear around the house.


I would like to know where the accompanying Husband's Chart can be found, please.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

In contrast

If you looked at the garden photos and thought, "Um, that's not so great," well, you'd be right. But here's what it looked like three years ago:

So while I am far from having a talented green thumb, I think I've made some progress.