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December 2006

Naming the Boy

We had a girl's name all picked out. Sort of. Let's say we found a girl's name we could agree on. We had absolutely no idea what we would name a boy, which meant, of course, that we would have a boy. I'll throw out a boy's name here or there, but Phillip has been unresponsive. The other day he said, "Picking a name right now feels too final." Which means, I guess, that we'll be naming our kid on the way home from the hospital?

Herewith are some of the boys' names suggested by ourselves, friends or family, and the reason for rejection (in some cases, instant over-my-dead-body-will-you-name-my-child-that rejection):

  • Wang. Who cares if his classmates won't have the wherewithal to ask him if he wants to Wang Cheung tonight? I WILL KNOW.
  • Jack. Love Jack. Love it. But Jack Cheung? I'm not so big on the one syllable names. Plus Phillip only likes Jack if it's short for Jackson, which he likes to say over and over in a Cantonese accent, and talk about how our boy could be Jackie Cheung, the Hong Kong movie star. So, that's a no.
  • Owen. Another name I love. But Owen is the name of Phillip's coworker's baby, due in January. And as this is the coworker who gave Phillip a Baby Names For Dummies book, it's out.
  • Asher. The little Jewish-Chinese baby.
  • Charlie, or anything that starts with a 'ch' sound. No. No no no.
  • Logan. Simply because Phillip doesn't want to be reminded of my crush on Veronica Mars' Logan every time he sees our baby.
  • Gordon. Phillip loves this name. "Everybody loves a Gordy!" he proclaims. "Everybody wants a friend like Gordo!" I think it stinks.
  • Stuart. See above, only replace "Gordy" and "Gordo" with "Stu" and "Stewie".
  • Any number of classic timeless names, as they already belong to brothers and cousins and cousins' children. I'm not opposed to using cousins' names necessarily, but my favorites belong to my brothers and we simply cannot have either of my brothers assuming we named our baby after either of THEM. AS IF.
  • Noah. Loooove Noah. But it sounds too much like one of our nephew's names and we don't want to confuse the grandparents. It's also one of the cousins' children's names. And maybe one of my friends has dibs on it. And maybe Phillip doesn't like it. Sigh.

There really aren't any names jumping out at us shrieking "I'M IT!" There's no rush or anything, but still. It'd be nice to know, if only so I can stop pestering Phillip for new ideas and making a face at everything he suggests. He's really enjoying that.


It don't snow here, it stays pretty green

Did you survive? I did. I had to spend all of Saturday in my pajamas drinking tea and Robitussin to regain the voice I lost as soon as the guests left my Christmas party, but I was in decent form for Christmas Eve at Grandma's and Christmas Day with the respective parents.

We were supposed to pick up my mom and dad at the airport Sunday afternoon, but five minutes before we were planning to leave, my sister called to tell us they were in Newark (Newark!?) and wouldn't be arriving until ten o'clock that night. They were supposed to be on a straight flight from Amsterdam, so all day I was fussing and fretting and hoping to God that my mother took the Valium I insisted she acquire before stepping onto an airplane. Turns out their first flight from Venice to Amsterdam was cancelled and my dad had to stand in line for four hours to get rebooked to Paris of all places (and I use the term 'line' loosely, as Europeans have absolutely no concept of lining up and waiting their turn, and one must use the full force of one's steel enforced suitcase to ward off the cantankerous old ladies who think they should be helped before you. Have you tried to receive communion in an Italian church? TOTAL CHAOS.)

So we had the giant present-opening extravaganza at Grandma's on Christmas Eve, brunch and present-opening at my parents' new house on Christmas Day and rib roast and present-opening at Phillip's folks' house that night. Then we crawled home, where we thought we should invite our orphaned neighbors over for hot chocolate and present-opening-debriefing before Christmas was totally over and done with. You'd think we'd have a mile-high mountain of presents stacked in our living room, but it turns out that when you are expecting a baby, you no longer receive gifts for yourself. Instead the baby's room is stacked with onesies and shoes and blankets and handmade sleep sacks and my sisters saw fit to give my husband a frigging Diaper Genie for Christmas. Hardy har har.

Oh wait. This post cannot be published without fervent and undying praise for my sister-in-law, who sent me a giant box of brand new Gap maternity clothes, all of which are super cute and, most importantly, FIT ME. We are now changing the name of this website to: Daily Adorations To C, My Sainted Sister-In-Law.

Anyway, I am now ready for spring. Aren't you? We've passed the Winter Solstice, bring on the daylight! Last night my dad and I were sitting at the train station in the rain, waiting for Phillip's commuter train to arrive, and he said, "I don't know about this weather, Mag. I don't think I can live here." And I said, "Not scoffing at my lightbox idea anymore, are we?"

It was fun to be pregnant at Christmastime. I've heard a lot of women say that they just love (or hate) being pregnant, but I haven't really thought about it that much. I mean, as in a present state of being. If that makes sense. Which it doesn't, I know. I guess I just tend to think about the baby, or what we need to do, or what bizarre things are happening to my body. Maybe I just haven't spent much time deciding if I love it or hate it. But probably my favorite thing about being pregnant so far (besides feeling the baby, which is an exceedingly strange, but strangely delightful sensation) was being prayed for at Mass Sunday morning. Father asked all the expecting parents to sit down for a special blessing. I was looking forward to it. I've been there to pray for lots of expecting couples and I loved loved loved that it was our turn. We happened to be sitting in the middle of a bunch of older couples, people who have college-aged, or almost college-aged kids. We see these people every Sunday, but we don't often speak to them or acknowledge them, other than to shake their hands during the kiss of peace. But we know they're there and I'm sure they know we're there and when we sat down for our blessing, they all converged on us with huge smiles and congratulations and hand squeezes and whispered excitement and it was so wonderful. I felt so lucky, to be able to have that, you know? It was a blessing in itself.

Although right now I am crampy and wearing uncomfortable pants, even though they are pants from one year ago aka my Fat Pants, and I don't think I ate enough breakfast and I think I'm breaking out again and I've got five months to go. Yippee.

I hope you all had lovely Christmases, with decent weather and cheery family and lots of good loot. And I will leave you with a picture of the Sainted Grandchild and his Christmas present, new baby Max. All together now: AWWWW.

Cadenmax


I can see for a long way

I had a lot of time in college to sit around listening to music. Well, that's not entirely true. I didn't have tons of time, due to whatever job I was working and the demands of the Non-Denominational College Fellowship and I usually had a stack of books I was supposed to have read by yesterday. But when I wasn't doing those things I was often sprawled on my bed or with my feet up on my desk zoned out to some terribly deep and introspective acoustic guitar music, usually the Indigo Girls or Dar Williams or one of the other terribly deep and introspective acoustic guitar female musicians. Those songs make up the soundtrack of dorm living, when you have nothing to think about but your own future, and how the boy down the hall never pays any attention to you.

I don't listen to a lot of music anymore, which makes me a little shamefaced. I rarely listen to Top 40 radio because I've suddenly become Old and all of the songs sound the same to me, which is to say, they all sound like crap. I can't remember the last time I got excited about a new album or bought a cd instead of downloading the one song I liked from a TV show. Maybe it's because I don't really sit around Thinking anymore.

Last night was a jumble of moving furniture and stashing all the junk piled up on the tables inside cupboards and closets. I made fudge, I made a spinach dip, I realized I forgot a dozen things at the grocery store. I worried about not having enough food, I worried about not having food anyone will like, I worried about being too tired to clean the bathroom and what if I am too tired to clean the bathroom today? The party will be ruined! (Did you forget? My Christmas party is tonight. Are you coming? Are you one of those people who don't know how to RSVP? Or just assume that I know you're coming? Because I really can't stand people like you. I hope you get the junkiest white elephant.)

Anyway, Phillip was out getting his hair cut and buying my extra groceries at that one fancy pants organic our-food-is-better-than-your-food store that I really cannot tolerate entering, because the regular grocery store was experiencing a power outtage. (Oh, the power outtages! How I hate you and what you did to my poor computer!) He came home all "I'm going to eat dinner! And then I'm going to lounge about! With the television on! Because my priorities are in order! And I know how to relax! Party shmarty!" By that time I was exhausted (I am STILL amazed at how little stamina I have compared to pre-pregnant. It's shocking. It's... frustrating, actually.) I poured myself a big bowl of Rice Krispies (when this child is born, he's going to come out looking like a Rice Krispie. Either that or a flake of Special K) and sat down next to Phillip to watch, what else? An episode of Scrubs.

As I've mentioned many times before, Scrubs features some pretty good music. And while it is a show mostly about one doctor trying to get into everyone else's pants, it also has a lot of thoughtful poignant scenes, and poignant in the best sense of the word. On this particular episode, a patient died, but she didn't just lie still in the hospital bed. She was suddenly standing next to her bed wearing an evening gown and singing a song. Eventually half the cast was singing along with her. It was a deep and introspective acoustic guitar song, and maybe I started crying a little bit, because come on! Phillip kept saying, "I know this song! I know this song!" and as soon as the show was over, he whipped out his wireless keyboard and pulled up his iTunes library on the TV. The song is called "Waiting For My Real Life To Begin", by Colin Hay, better known as the guy who sings "He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich."

Any minute now my ship is coming in
I'll keep checking the horizon
And I'll stand on the bow
And feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down, down, down on me

And you said,"Be still, my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in"
Don't you understand?
I already have a plan
I'm waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today suddenly nothing happened
But in my dreams I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path
And up this cobbled lane
I'm walking in my own footsteps once again

And you say,"Just be here now
Forget about the past
Your mask is wearing thin"
Let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win
I'm waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now my ship is coming in
I'll keep checking the horizon
And I'll check my machine
There's sure to be that call
It's gonna happen soon, soon, oh so very soon
It's just that times are lean

And you say,"Be still, my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in"
Don't you understand?
I already have a plan
I'm waiting for my real life to begin

On a clear day
I can see, see for a long way

It's a beautiful song. Phillip turned it up and we snuggled into the couch and just sat there, listening to an acoustic guitar and a hopeful voice and thinking about our future. I thought about being fifteen and hating myself and the entire world, about being eighteen and leaving my family, about being  twenty-three and not having any idea what getting married would mean, only that my entire world was lacking if Phillip wasn't nearby. And there we were last night, sitting in our house, on our couch, getting ready for our Christmas party, thinking about our baby. It felt very much like our real lives were beginning.

My favorite Christmas song is 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.' (Okay, maybe second favorite after 'Santa Baby'.) I like how quiet and sweet it is. Christmas is going to be a whirl- it's always a whirl- and I'm not usually one to savor stillness this time of year. I like the bustle and noise of parties and shopping and delivering gifts and opening presents. Stillness always feels like an opportunity for anxiety and darkness to slip in and leave me unsettled and jittery. But I can be still to music, leaning up against my husband, feeling that weird sensation of a zucchini-sized baby flipping around inside me.

Merry Christmas, Internet.


Six weirdish things

I have spent most of the day draped across one of my two red couches, looking at the television through half-closed eyes and strewing used Kleenexes about my living room. I got a sore throat sometime last week and it wasn't too bad. I really love the 94-year-old smoker lady voice I have when I get a little sick. But honestly, I don't remember the last time I had a cold. I live with a man who swears he is dying the minute he gets the sniffles (or is this all men?), but I am never sick. I even rolled my eyes when my doctor "strongly recommended" I get a flu shot. Because, come on. The FLU?

But last night I woke up and yes, I was dying. Eventually I dragged myself downstairs because I didn't think Phillip needed to hear me hack up every last piece of diseased lung. Then I drove to work, dropped off the cheesecake I made for my boss's birthday (can you say "suck up"?) and packed a few projects to work on at home, where I proceeded to watch all five episodes on the Entourage Season 2 Disc 1 DVD Netflix so kindly sent to me the other day, and bake sugar cookies out of dough I bought at the grocery store. That is all I have accomplished today. The rest of the time I was either asleep, staring at the work I brought home, or thinking about how I should write some Christmas cards. Oh, and I also ate some ice cream.

All of that is to say: I am achey and mopey and tired and stuffed up and totally going to phone in this post by doing a MEME, foisted up on me by Jenny. Damn Jenny.

SIX WEIRD THINGS ABOUT ME

(Isn't this entire website about weird things?)

Ahem.

1. I can count to ten in Tagalog. Is that weird? I bet you know lots of people who can count to ten in Spanish, but not many who can count to ten in Tagalog. Unless they are Filipino, in which case they don't count.

2. One time during a basketball game I attempted to catch a pass with the tips of my fingers instead of, you know, the part that would actually catch a ball, and I broke my left pinky finger. I didn't know it at the time, I thought I just jammed it, and I didn't have much time to think about it as my evil three-headed fire-breathing coach was screaming at me to, "SHAKE IT OFF, YOU CRYBABY! SHAKE IT OFF!" Then a couple days later at my piano lesson, my piano teacher was all, "Sweetheart, I think you need to get that x-rayed" and offered to have her military doctor husband do it the next day. Which is when I found out I had shattered my left pinky knuckle and had to have my pinky and ring finger taped together in a splint for all of eternity. It healed, eventually, but when I am holding a cold pint of ice cream, sometimes I have to work it a little to bend the joint. Or when I stretch to reach an octave on the piano- it doesn't always bend back. This is where you say, "Ew."

3. I hate being in the middle of nowhere. HATE. IT. I hated that one road trip where my family drove from our house to Texas, which meant driving through DESERTS and long stretches of NOTHINGNESS and what if we ran out of gas and no one found our bodies? People, I hate driving to SPOKANE. That one time we drove to Montana for a wedding nearly killed me.

4. I probably own as many feather boas as I do pairs of shoes. And whether I own 50 pairs of shoes or 5, that is still weird.

5. I had a private audience with the author of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever when I was six or seven years old. This is not weird so much as KICKASS and AWESOME. She came to my school to talk to the big kids, but my parents worked at that school and I was terribly spoiled and all the teachers knew I'd just made my debut performance in a community theater rendition of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (I believe I was Baby Angel #3) and now I have a signed paperback, just for me. Also, this is an excellent time of year to reread that book. Don't tell me you haven't read it.

6. I have been writing on this stupid website for TWO AND A HALF YEARS. That is weird. It is also a little bit pathetic, which I'm reminded of every time my dad asks me about "that blogging thing" and wonders aloud how people have the time to DO that.

Okay, now I have to go put on real clothes for the first time today, brush my hair and look presentable because my friend is coming by to pick me up and coerce me into visiting the local mall for a couple hours of Christmas shopping, and I say "couple hours" because it will take at least one hour to find a parking space. Joy!


Puppy dog tails

You guys, I am sick. Gross wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-hacking-up-a-lung sick. I have to say, though, I prefer it to the hacking-up-the-contents-of-my-stomach sick. I've been free of nausea for the last few days and I attribute it to the half a Unisom pill I take before I go to bed to help me sleep. I know Unisom is occasionally prescribed for morning sickness (along with vitamin B6, is that right?) so it's possible. And anyone who wants to berate me for drugging myself to sleep can write to me at idontgivearatsass@mightymaggie.com. I'll be answering those emails while I guzzle down my two liter Costco bottle of Yellow Tail shiraz.

Anyway. I just had to get that out of my system (just call it verbal phlegm) before I tell you about the ultrasound on Friday, where we found out we are having a boy.

BOY.

As in, cars and trucks and dirt and holey overalls and Transformers and absolutely no pink anywhere and possibly needing these things. As in, I need to clear out all of my girly stuff from the little yellow bedroom before the Little Dude arrives, because really? Would YOU have your brand new baby boy share a room with five feather boas, three dolls, a doorknob full of tacky sequinned purses, butterfly curtains and your Hawaii Hello Kitty? No? And that "gendering your child" thing made sense to me in college, but I am not like that anymore, people. That cute little pink angel I have dangling from the ceiling is coming down.

I didn't have any idea one way or the other. If I'd had to guess, I would have picked boy, simply because neither of our families seem to know how to make girls. I sort of hoped for a boy, because a boy would mean the rest of my kids would have a big brother and I always wanted a big brother, but also because I am the Oldest and a Girl and I felt like the potential for screwing up my kid would escalate exponentially if I had my own Oldest Girl. (Yes, I know that makes no sense, and blah blah Maggie you are ker-azy, but I'm entitled to my irrational reasoning, no?) Then again, it's true that baby girl clothes are way cuter than baby boy clothes, and I think our families were hoping for a girl.

But it's a boy, and I could tell even before the tech asked us if we wanted to know. And to be honest, the only disappointment I felt was about not being able to use the girl's name we had picked out, and how I was now resigned to months of arguing with Phillip over the relative merits of naming one's child Stu or Gordo or Assorted Creepy Names Of Dirty Men Who Hang Out In Sketchy Casinos.

So all weekend I was thinking about BOY. I hadn't thought much about setting up the baby room, just because it's still kind of early and we're busy and have you seen how much all that baby stuff costs? But now all I can think about is how I have to get rid of my beloved butterfly curtains and move Hello Kitty into my bedroom because I can't put my boy in that frilly girly room! I don't know. What do normal people think about when they find out boy or girl?

We are so excited. We have the awesomest cutest nephews in the world and now we're all, "We're going to have our OWN." And if my nephews are anything to go by, I need to be reading up on dinosaurs and airplanes and bulldozers.

And oh yeah- the baby looks fine. Ten fingers, ten toes, adorable profile, and apparently his mother's irritation with being told what to do, as he refused to flip around and provide accurate measurements, even after the tech repeatedly jabbed me in the abdomen with her small blunt instrument. But I really wasn't big on the ultrasound thing. I know I'm in the minority, but it kind of creeped me out. I saw my baby's spine. I saw his brain. I saw his beating heart at 2000% of the actual size. I don't know. I'm just one of those people who prefers to think there's nothing inside our bodies except fluff and cotton candy-like stuffing. For example, I would never pay money to see this, no matter how many freaky disturbed people continue to tell me it's the most amazing thing they've ever seen.  Anyway, if there was anything to worry about, I'm not sure the tech would have told me. We'll see the doctor in another two weeks and I suppose she'll let us know, although I'm not sure they were looking for anything as we specifically said "Meh" to the whole testing thing. (Can you tell I haven't read a pregnancy book since month two? Obviously I am incredibly educated about this whole process.)

My biggest priority this weekend was to replace the butterfly curtains, but I was prevented from doing so by 1. The fact that I haven't done ANY Christmas shopping, 2. The fact that the Pharmacist was coming up to help me make truffles, because apparently I lost my mind last week and decided to MAKE TRUFFLES and 3. The fact that I have not picked up my house since the weather turned frightful and I started coping by rocking back and forth on the couch in front of Scrubs reruns. Just so you know, I accomplished about half the Christmas shopping, I formed, dipped and rolled in cocoa about six dozen truffles (thank you Pharmacist!) and I turned on the dishwasher. Phillip did everything else. You can send flowers and notes of thanks to sorryyouhavethelaziestwifeonearth@mightymaggie.com.

(Although I think we should wait on those flowers until he actually gets mightymaggie.com, two years in the making, to go live, and until after he fixes the upstairs computer that suffered a stroke of sorts after the Oh Holy God The World Must Be Ending Storm of 2006. Perhaps you heard? My boss hasn't had power for five days. FIVE DAYS WITHOUT TIVO. Let us all give thanks that human beings can survive such hellish times.)


He makes up for it by fetching me ice cream

It's beautiful outside right now. Which is funny, considering a tree fell on my coworker's house last night.

I just wrote an entire post about how I woke up at four in the morning with a thick pounding headache and how I had to throw back an entire bottle of Tylenol and prop myself upright in bed before I fell back asleep hours later. But I figured it would be very unkind of me to complain at length about my husband's steady, rhythmic, you-can-sing-along-to-it snoring, especially the kind of snoring that occurs mere seconds after he asks me if I need anything, like a drink of water or another pillow. So I am quickly complaining instead. It is incredibly unfair of the universe to pair me up with someone who falls asleep so easily, and who snores to boot.

I've been told I snore, but Phillip's never been awake to hear it. So it doesn't count.

(Also, I should point out that Phillip is not a scary snorer like, say, your dad. (Not my dad, no no!) He doesn't rattle the house or anything. He's just... like a ticking clock. beat beat SNORE beat beat SNORE beat beat SNORE. It's like a big flashy reminder that he is sleeping and I am not.)

So anyway. I am way cranky today. My head still hurts. I live with Sleepy McSnoresalot and some snotty lady hung up on me for absolutely no reason and I am thinking about how one day I will be home with a perfect napping baby and writing a blisteringly evil letter on my website to all the stinking rude people who were ever stinking rude to me while I was being a normal average completely-not-rude professional. Except I am probably going to have the devil child who never sleeps, just like his mother, and I will be begging the rude people to take me back.

Really, though. What is wrong with people?

Also, I am freaking annoyed at Microsoft right now, because I didn't realize that installing the updates, but choosing to restart my computer later meant that I would be visited by the Do You Want To Restart Yet? We Really Think You Should Restart Right This Second dialog box 100 times each hour, interrupting my extremely important train of thought. This is why Santa is bringing me a MacBook for Christmas. Well, Santa hasn't quite decided yet, and when he does, he will probably bring it to Phillip, but still. I should reap some fringe benefits, don't you think?

I really wish I could be more pleasant, but I think this is it for today. I'm no good without my preferred ten hours of sleep. And Phillip is already going to be cranky with me when he reads this on his cutesy little BlackBerry on the bus home and finds that not only did I advertise the snoring to the entire Internet, I also couldn't be bothered to figure out what we should have for dinner. And I'll be all, "There's three-day-old pizza in the fridge," and he'll be all, "Someone needs a nap," and then I'll be all, "TOO BAD I NEED A SOUND PROOFED ROOM TO TAKE A NAP."

See how I had to use 'bold' there because I was already using caps? This can't be good. Time to sign off.


Soon the bells will start

You have no idea how heartened I am to find that other people know the Joseph songs backwards and forwards. The world suddenly became a more friendly place for nerds like me.

Also, my mother wants you to know that she does not want her future grandchild referred to as a "sweet potato."

I brought a bunch of Christmas gifts with me today because I planned to mail them on my lunch break. I do not, however, have all the addresses in my email like I thought I did. Lame! Now people who already think I suck are going to have to add a whole day to the suckiness. Getting these packages ready to mail was a heroic feat in itself. I am really pathetic this year. Well, I was pathetic last year too. Last year I was very on top of the gift purchasing, but not so much with the gift giving and the card sending. I don't even remember if I sent cards last year. And I didn't give my best friend from college her Christmas gift until I saw her over the summer. At which point I gave her her Christmas gift and her birthday gift all at once. LAME!

I'd like to change my slothful ways this year, but it's not looking so good. Yesterday we came home and had a dozen Christmas cards in the mail, some from people I even forgot to put on my list. What is wrong with me?! On one hand, my card-laden mantle makes me feel very popular. On the other, it's a daily reminder of my suckitude. My sad and shameful suckitude.

My other big plan is to make truffles. Yes, truffles. In previous years I've boxed up a choice selection of the Christmas cookies I've slaved over since Thanksgiving, tied them up with ribbon and left them on my neighbors' doorsteps and brought them to work and basically handed them out as "Sorry, I forgot to send you a Christmas card" penance. But there are no cookies in my house this year and I have no idea what I'm going to give my neighbors, let alone what I'm going to feed the guests at my party. But I picked up a copy of Bon Appetit the other day (because I occasionally entertain the idea that I know how to cook, shut up) and there was a not-terribly-difficult-looking article with step by step instructions for truffle making. And people, I can melt chocolate and roll it into a ball as well as anyone else. And truffles! Those are snazzy! I can put a handful of those in a tiny box and tie it with a fancy ribbon and not feel like I'm cheating people out of a big tin of cookies because these are truffles and truffles are luxury items. Right? RIGHT?

My other plan is to get the Pharmacist to give me all her leftovers and serve those at the party. Whaddaya say, Pharmacist?!

At least my house is decorated, I can say that much. So what if our tree is crooked and droopy and will likely turn brown by the end of the week? One of my favorite things to do this time of year is go downstairs in the morning, turn on the tree and eat my Special K by twinkling Christmas tree lights. It's usually still pretty dark (if only because the weather is crap and pouring down rain) and the grim morning news always sounds better by treelight. I made Phillip rearrange our entire living room so we could fit the tree in the front window and even though we now have a sofa hanging out in the middle of the room and it's harder to play Guitar Hero when you're cramped between the couch and the coffee table, I love having the tree in the window. This way I can toast my toes in front of the fireplace and snoop around the presents at the same time.

Not that I would ever snoop around the presents. As if.

Meanwhile, if anyone has gift suggestions for the devastatingly handsome computer geek who has everything except the newer flashier pricier versions of what is already sitting on his desk, could you let me know?


And purple and white and pink and orange and blue!

Yesterday while Phillip was out with some friends and I was home nursing a headache and nausea brought on by a half-hour ride on the freeway, I wrapped the little pile of presents that's been steadily growing over the last week. I actually meant to bake cookies. I made some chocolate chip on Saturday to bring to friends with a new baby and was so impressed with my newfound stamina I resolved to make more on Sunday. But after staring at my pantry for ten minutes, I realized that butter, sugar and flour make a sorry cookie: there were no nuts, no baking chocolate, no sprinkles, no cream cheese, no powdered sugar for icing, nothing to make a Christmas cookie. And I wasn't about to trek to the grocery store. I don't have that kind of stamina yet.

So I put on my new Wicked cd and sat down to wrap. I'd been pestering Phillip to download the soundtrack from iTunes (are you all mourning the loss of allofmp3 like we are? Weep) and finally I went down to his little cave office to do it myself. And right before I clicked 'BUY ALBUM', he smacked my hand away with the actual cd, grumping, "Way to ruin your stocking stuffer."

Anyway, now I like Wicked more, and I would like to see it again, please. I caught all sorts of things in the lyrics that I didn't catch during the actual show ("so happy I could melt!" HA!) and now I could be one of those annoying people who sits in the stalls and sings along under her breath. I didn't want to read about the show or listen to the music before I went, but now I wonder if that would have just enhanced everything. Like, if I knew nothing about Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, I would probably not be terribly interested, especially now that I know it is not cool to like Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals. But when I was in high school and fresh off a musicals-in-London kick, I bought the Joseph soundtrack, just because I knew I liked Andrew Lloyd Webber. And people, I can sing that entire play. I know all of the songs. I know all of the Narrator's lines. I know all the colors in Joseph's coat. And I have never ever seen the play. It was in Seattle for all of five days last year and I am KICKING MYSELF for not being on top of things and buying myself a front row seat.

So yes. While Phillip was out I produced a dozen poorly wrapped Christmas presents and learned all the words to 'Popular'.

Then I fell asleep. I swear, this whole chirpy "You should be feeling better now!" second trimester crap is a pack of lies. LIES I tell you. I feel sort of guilty, because I got away with normalcy for seventeen weeks, and even now I'm not really sick, but STILL. More annoying than that, I keep waiting for the oft-mentioned second trimester burst of energy, but I think I'm even more tired than I was before. Not the bone-aching too-tired-to-walk-down-the-stairs tired I felt in the first couple of weeks, but the kind of tired where I cannot make myself get up and make dinner, even if "dinner" is actually macaroni and cheese or heating up leftover pizza.

This morning I got my weekly pregnancy update email telling me my baby is now the size of a sweet potato. It appears we have graduated from fruit (grapes, kiwis, oranges) to vegetables (last week my baby was the size of an avocado.) This is actually the only pregnancy information I'm consuming these days. After a couple weeks reading the initial onslaught of pregnancy books (none of which I purchased, all of which were dumped on me by friends, family and my OB-GYN resident neighbor), they are now all resting comfortably under my bed where they shall not see the light of day until this baby is born. I'm just not interested anymore, isn't that terrible? I'm firmly in the Ignorance Is Bliss camp, the group that reminds itself that cave women had babies without the benefit of pregnancy books and message boards and Google and somehow the race has managed to survive. Not that I'm advocating not being Informed. Hardly! I'm just... overdosed on it, I guess. I read so much about being pregnant before I got pregnant that now I just want to sit around and eat bon bons and watch myself grow as big as the house. And maybe eat a piece of salmon at the fancy shmantzy holiday party.  Harrumph. I had a doctor appointment on Friday and when she asked if I had questions, I looked at my big list of of Ugly Wish-I-Didn't-Have-To-Think-About-These-Things Questions and said, "Nope! I'm not ready!" and skipped out. The books make me worry about things I probably don't need to worry about. The message boards make me think I should have written up my birth plan yesterday. I've allowed myself to Google a traumatizing symptom or two, but I've been lucky enough to have an appointment scheduled whenever I have something that freaks me out. So... yeah. Irresponsible? Maybe. Good for my mental health? Most definitely.

As much as the Internet and the books and the pregnancy message boards have tried to make me care, I honestly don't care how this baby gets here (or what kind of baby it will be), as long as both of us make it out relatively unscathed. From everything I've heard, almost nothing goes the way you want it to go anyway, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time harping on the details. I intend to make my doctor, who, so far, I really like and trust, aware of the things that freak me out and we'll go from there.

Oh dear God I have made my own eyes cross. I certainly did not intend to go in that direction. But that's what happens when your trusty blogger is tired, annoyed at the gray rainy weather, wishing she had a cookie jar on her desk, wearing uncomfortable pants, simultaneously listening to the Cure and belting out 'Defying Gravity' in her head, worrying about the four pounds she gained since Saturday and possibly feeling a sweet potato-sized baby rumbling around in her abdomen. Till tomorrow!


Ms. Bad Attitude strikes again

Last night's training session (if you're wondering about what I'm being 'trained' for, go here) wasn't so much a training session as yet another introductory, please help us do this, it's going to be awesome, just wait and see get together. Apparently the real training will begin next Wednesday night, when there will be discussion of phone calls and how to answer hard questions and (shudder) role playing.

I am still on board. WAY on board. In fact, I agreed and resonated with every single word our priest uttered during his somewhat out-of-character pep talk (the man used to be a monk, and like our resident nun often says, you can take the monk out of the monastery, but you can't take the monastery out of the monk.) However! This whole experience has only confirmed that I am not a peppy kind of girl. You'd think I'd be all over the enthusiasm and group cheers and motivational talks and (shudder) role playing, but no. Noooo. I can't think of speakers I've enjoyed more, a project that I believe in so sincerely, and still, the whole We Are Family! Go Us! Pep Rally aspect of it makes me cringe. I mean, this is a grown man up at the front having a bunch of other grown people clap their hands for the Bonzai Cheer.

What's the Bonzai Cheer you ask?

clap clap clap!   clap clap clap!   clap clap clap!   clap!
clap clap clap!   clap clap clap!   clap clap clap!  clap!
clap clap clap!   clap clap clap!   clap clap clap!  clap!

[in unison, with arms raised] "BONZAI, ST. URBAN WEALTHY NEIGHBORHOOD!"

We only had to do this once last night, and I still wanted to hide under the table. I may have a negative amount of pep.

It makes me think of when my brother the Lieutenant was in high school and working at the BX. I think I was in college at this point, but he would tell us these stories about getting there before the store opened and the managers having all the employees get in a big huddle to pump each other up and get excited about their day. I believe they even had their own cheer, the Let's Get The Enlisted Guys To Drop All Their Cash On Electronic Equipment Cheer. I only wonder if my brother had to wear flair.

Interesting that I just compared our church project to retail, no? Totally without thinking. Although last night our priest said that this is not about money, he doesn't care if we add one more penny to our coffers each week, he only wants to be forced to add another weekend Mass, to expand the school, to build out the parish center, all because the people who registered as parishioners are actually participating. I believe him.

Anyway. Speaking of the Lieutenant, he's about to have another baby in a matter of weeks. If your world suddenly explodes sometime around the new year, that's just the universe reacting to twice the amount of freakishly adorable sainted grandchild.

Snow


First week of Advent (point not included)

I read most of Peggy Noonan's book about Pope John Paul II on the flight to Italy, and the rest of it on the flight home. (In between I read John Grisham's The Broker, in which the title character is smuggled out of the country via the military base where my parents are stationed. Coincidence!) Anyway, I wasn't planning on reading the book or anything, I'd never even heard of it, I just saw it in the airport bookstore. It was short and I would read a book about growing mold if Peggy Noonan was the author.

So I bought it and cried all the way there. Well, that was when I wasn't crying about my iminent inevitable death by turbulence.

It's not an amazing book so much as the Pope was an amazing man and Peggy Noonan writes the way I would like to write sometimes. It's not a biography so much as Peggy Noonan's personal observations and experiences and reactions over the course of his papacy. So. If you're interested.

Towards the end of the book she talks about being in Rome for the beatification of Mother Teresa. Then she goes off on a Mother Teresa tangent and I learned something very interesting- in the later part of her life, Mother Teresa felt distant from God, what all the websites I'm looking at call her "Dark Night." Maybe this is well known, I don't know, I'm not up on these things. This is willfully stolen from First Things:

The Dark Night. Throughout 1946 and 1947, Mother Teresa experienced a profound union with Christ. But soon after she left the convent and began her work among the destitute and dying on the street, the visions and locutions ceased, and she experienced a spiritual darkness that would remain with her until her death. It is hard to know what is more to be marveled at: that this twentieth-century commander of a worldwide apostolate and army of charity should have been a visionary contemplative at heart; or that she should have persisted in radiating invincible faith and love while suffering inwardly from the loss of spiritual consolation. In letters written during the 1950s and 1960s to Fr. Van Exem, Archbishop Périer, and to later spiritual directors, Fr. L. T. Picachy, S.J., and Fr. J. Neuner, S.J., she disclosed feelings of doubt, loneliness, and abandonment. God seemed absent, heaven empty, and bitterest of all, her own suffering seemed to count for nothing, “. . . just that terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, of God not really existing.”

My thoughts upon reading Peggy Noonan's description of Mother Teresa's Dark Night was: Oh hell. If Mother Teresa felt this way, what hope is there for ME?

Not that I am experiencing my own Dark Night. Most of the time I'm in sort of a Gray Foggy Late Afternoon. I can't even be bothered to have a dark night, or wonder about a sunny morning. I'd rather watch TV or surf the internet or go shopping.

I talk to God a lot. In my car (mostly in my car), before I fall asleep, when I go for walks by myself, when I see something beautiful, when I hear good or bad news. But rarely do I sit down with the intention of talking prayerfully to God. I used to do this quite often, when the Non-Denominational College Fellowship was structuring it for me, but I'm a grown up now, with a job and a husband and I'm tired when I get home and we all know how much I love my television. Who knows what my time will be like when this baby comes.

I do churchy stuff. Tonight, for example, I'll be heading out for my first 'training' session for this home visit thing. I'm involved. I put in some time at my church. I'm trying to be a good steward.

I read a blog post a couple weeks ago, I can't even remember where, about praying the Rosary for the first time. So I decided: I should pray the rosary. I went on a hunt for one of the dozen rosaries I know I have lying around my house, but I couldn't find one. I forgot about it. A few weeks later I was at a church thing and saw a 'How To Pray The Rosary' pamphlet and I picked it up, because gosh I've been meaning to start that, and I've never prayed it by myself so it'd be good to have a guide. The pamphlet got lost in the heap of papers on the dining room table. Last night I came home with a slight burst of energy, and cleaned it all up. I found the pamphlet and laid it aside, because I would still like to try it, if I ever come across one of those rosaries. I'll get around to it eventually.

Isn't that sad?

A lot of people need proof of God. I am not one of those people. I've never worried very much about the details or the hard questions or the absurdity or any of those things people throw up to stump a Christian. God has always made sense to me. That said, I often feel like God is existing in a place far away from me. I go through the motions and fulfill my churchy duties, but I don't necessarily feel close to God because of it. I tell myself I should stop everything and pray, really BE with God. But... yeah. Instead I made dinner. I'm supposed to make dinner. I blame the distance on myself as I, obviously, am the laziest girl on earth. I will choose any number of things over God.   

Mother Teresa? OPPOSITE OF ME. And she still felt distant.

You're supposed to be in this waiting thinking place for Advent, and I confess this is the kind of thinking I'm doing. And yes, this post has no point. I'm attempting to think about other things than the fact that my breakfast seems to want to part ways.