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March 2007

Where the boys are

When Phillip and his friend Sean graduated from college, they moved into a really nice apartment (of course, anything is really nice when you've been living in the dorms since age 18) and entered the Real World. For Sean this meant going to a Real Job in the morning and coming home at night and earning an actual paycheck. For Phillip this meant reading the job ads every morning and mailing out resumes every afternoon and infecting everyone he knew with his miserable soul-sucking unemployment-inflicted depression.

I'd usually head over there in the evenings after work (I had a job, but not a Real Job) and Phillip would be wearing an apron and chopping vegetables for chicken stirfry and setting up the rice cooker. Then we'd all eat dinner together in front of Friends and this went on for two years, even after Phillip finally found a job, even after Sean and Phillip moved into a house with two other guys who shockingly couldn't quote every episode of Friends. If Sean was going to be late he'd call and let us know and so this is why, at Sean's wedding last weekend, Phillip may have told more than a few people that he was Sean's first wife.

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When Sean wasn't around...

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...we didn't have anyone to pick on.

Then Phillip and I got married and I swear, one of the weirdest things about that was now SEAN was going home after dinner instead of ME. I still remember that first night he came over to our apartment after we got married and it was dark and he was leaving and Phillip and I looked at each other like, "HOW WEIRD IS THIS?"

By that time most of Sean's friends were married. Poor Sean. We started to talk about how we'd have to buy a house with an apartment over the garage. (Just like on Friends! When Chandler and Monica's new house has a special 'Joey Room'!)

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You can see why his prospects were dismal.

Then about six months after we got married, my friend Neighbor invited a cute little blond person to her birthday party who stayed way after all the people she knew had gone home, possibly because (we said to ourselves) Sean was still there. After much conspiring, Phillip and I invited her to our white elephant Christmas party the next weekend. She came. Poor girl got stuck with the kitschy wedding photo album set one of Phillip's aunts had given me for our wedding, and when she said her goodbyes and left the apartment, Sean dashed after her. Ten minutes later we heard him bounding back up the stairs, whereupon he proudly announced, "I ASKED HER OUT FOR COFFEE!"

And we never saw Sean again.

Ha ha ha. That's not entirely true. I think he emerged from New Relationshipville sometime that fall when Friends started up again. So it was back to dinner and Thursday Night TV, only with a fun new friend who liked to bake us things and mix fruity cocktails and the Original Thursday Night TV Gang is totally down with people like that.

Of course, I didn't know that she'd insist on getting married in Michigan.

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Um, we do not have signs like this where I come from.

But we had to go. It was their WEDDING. I may have even received a long distance phone call regarding how late in the year I was willing to cram my pregnant butt into an airplane seat.  So I bought a dress and a pair of plane tickets. Phillip bought a Superman costume. (DO NOT ASK ME ABOUT THE SUPERMAN COSTUME.)

After lunch with Camilla-
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*Gratuitous Camilla Photo*

-we went to the wedding. While Phillip was busy doing things like this:

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Good lookin', so refined!

I was stuck with this:

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WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?

aka babysitting the groomsmen. I couldn't even go hide at another table because I was holding court at the HEAD TABLE between the groom and my husband and these clowns. The bride was too far down the table to hear my pleas for help. While Phillip was out and about assisting the groom with pictures outside, adjusting the video camera in the balcony, discussing Important Wedding Procedures with the maid of honor and fussing with the reception song list, I sat there using my peaceful dentist's chair visualizations as the groomsmen argued over whether or not they should take their plates back to the buffet for seconds and giddily filled me in on what horrible honeymoon 'accessories' they purchased at the local drugstore and sneaked into the groom's overnight bag when he wasn't looking.

I blame their wives, who apparently had to "stay home" with "babies" who apparently don't "travel well." YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

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Unfortunately, none of these drinks belonged to me.

Then there was a lot of toasting and flower tossing and dancing to '80s music. And pshaw, like being pregnant was going to keep me from getting on the dance floor. Get outta my DREAMS! Get into my CAR! And if God reads my website, I would please like to have a baby like the one belonging to the bridesmaid who wore her completely zonked out baby in a pouch strapped around her dress the entire night, even as she was hopping around and lip syncing to 'Livin' on a Prayer' and 'Sweet Child O' Mine'.

Congratulations Sean and Friend Who Hasn't Said If It's Okay To Use Her Name And Likeness On My Website, Not Like Any Of These Other People Told Me If It's Okay, But That's What They Get For Making Sure I Didn't Sleep At All Last Weekend!

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If I were a poofy dress kind of girl, I would wear this one.

And I guess Michigan's not so bad after all.

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The lake! It really WAS there!


Camilla! And some other people too.

Hey, my little blogging break totally worked. I am practically BURSTING with stuff to tell you. So what do you want to hear about first? The plane ride? The wedding? The three hour time difference and how that, combined with the inability of Phillip and the other groomsmen to go to bed at a reasonable hour, conspired to completely kick my butt and I'm still feeling the effects? No? None of that?

Oh, I know what.

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Guess who got to hang out with Camilla the WonderBaby?

That would be me. Jealous?

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Let's all pretend my arm is not twice the size of Camilla's head.

By the way, my real life friends were SO IMPRESSED that I was meeting an internet friend. Like, enough to somehow legitimize this whole website thing. "She's coming all the way out here to meet YOU?" they asked incredulously. "For REAL? YOU?" And I had to say, "I KNOW. I am THAT AWESOME."

But not really. For reasons beyond all understanding, Arwen, Bryan and Camilla braved the frillions of trucks driving through the great state of Michigan to meet up with me. They decided to do this even after I told Arwen I'm an even bigger dork in person. Obviously there is something wrong with them.

Michigan, by the way, looks like this:

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This is a great party trick.

"How to make a map of Michigan with your hand" was one of the many things I learned from Arwen this weekend. Another was how to effectively squish your baby into her sling and bounce up and down to get her to sleep so you can eat your lunch in peace.

I also learned that she is tall and thin and beautiful and that no one would ever guess she had a baby in OCTOBER, so of course I was inclined to hate her. I mean, look:

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Camilla says, "Mooom, get me away from this dumpy chick and her poor choice of maternity attire!"

It's hard, however, to hate someone who is the oldest of a bunch of kids, who is married to a guy who never had to share his toys, who likes all the same websites you do and eeeee!wehavesomuchincommon! Except for, you know, the tall thin beautiful thing. But I can get over that. Eventually.

(And, I am totally wondering if I flat out lied when my doctor asked me if I had any swelling in my face and I happily said, "No, I don't think so!" Because GOOD LORD my chins have QUADRUPLED.)

We went to Mass at the church in the background (another piece of Arwen wisdom: www.masstimes.org)
where Phillip and I discovered that people dress a lot nicer for church in the Midwest than they do in Seattle. (They also still say "man" in the Creed instead of the West Coast politically correct "human", and they kneel before and after Communion, which we stopped doing for some reason, and kneeling is rather difficult when you're already short of breath and in danger of toppling over from a very disturbed center of balance. ALSO, I will just say that the Catholic children of Michigan are leaps and bounds above their Seattle counterparts when it comes to sitting quietly and thumbing through their Bible story board books.)

Anyway, meeting the girl behind the brilliant website was a total blast, Mr. Arwen was the nicest guy EVER and cheerfully participated in geektalk with Mr. Mighty Maggie (although that, apparently, does not mean he rates a photo because dude! I have no pictures of Bryan!), but of course who cares about those people when you get to play with Camilla?

As for Michigan... At least the fog lifted enough for me to see the lake as we were driving back to Chicago. (And my, that is quite a lake.) Turns out there was a very cute Main Street in town where I could have whiled away some time and money in boutique stores and ice cream shops and I think it'd be a fun place to sun yourself in the summer. But driving in and out of Chicago was insane and our hotel was a pink concrete version of my freshman year dorm and did I mention the no sleep? I still feel hungover and it's TUESDAY.

(Except not really hungover, because in case you forgot, I am pregnant and therefore not allowed to partake of the OPEN BAR, where there were COSMOS and RED WINE and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE. WOE.)

Anyway, I'll have to write about the wedding later, which is a post and a half by itself, to be entitled: Too Bad They Don't Make Maternity Tuxedoes. Are you intrigued?

In the meantime, don't forget about my bleg! Thanks for all your stories so far. You guys are so cute and mushy. I guess I thought they'd be more along the lines of "The best thing about having kids is that if you don't feel like doing the dishes, you can yell at your kid and make her do them." But I might have assumed that because I have a dad who says, with a gleaming winning smile, that the only reason he had kids was to make sure there'd be someone to clean up after him in his old age.


A Bleg

Maybe I'm in a bad mood, I don't know, but I'm getting kind of bored with this website. No, I'm getting kind of bored of myself. At this point I thought I'd be all, "The end is nigh!" and writing all sorts of navel-gazing posts about what it's been like to be pregnant and what I think it'll be like with a new baby and what I'm afraid of and what I'm excited about, but I've already written those posts a hundred times and I'm BORED. I can't even imagine how bored YOU must be. Seriously, the most exciting thing that's happened to me in days has been figuring out that those weird little pulsing kicks are actually hiccups. Hiccups! And since I always feel them underneath my bellybutton, the boy is probably head down and how great is that! Super great. zzzzz...

See? I have just sat here for an hour wondering what to say next. BORING.

So I think I'm going to take a break. And by "break" I mean "tear myself away for a few days until I have something new to say, or at least until I have returned from the Michigan wedding when I can at least post a picture of my very first Great Lake." Something like that.

In the meantime I have a bleg. Bleg: to write a blog entry or comment for the sole purpose of asking for something.

A few months ago at the height of my What The Hell Have I Done Nervous Breakdown, I was reading pretty much everything I could about post-partum depression. (If you're interested, I like what Moxie says best.) I was (and still am) 99.9% certain that childbirth will be a breeze compared to post-partum depression, which in my case will be post-partum anxiety. All the things I do to manage stress and prevent anxiety are going to be seriously thrown out of whack by a newborn baby (any kind of baby, really) and I have absolutely no idea what it's going to be like or how I'm going to handle it. A few months ago I was sure I'd have to be medicated with horse tranquilizers and thrown into an Institution. Now I'm thinking it might not be so bad, because I'll have family and friends and fun and sunshine and no job where stupid people call me on the phone and the knowledge that I really really want this huge drastic change in my life. If it happens, I'll deal. Right? Right.

But anyway, I was telling an Older Wiser Lady how anxious I am about being anxious and I asked her if she had any ideas for what I could do to help myself ahead of time. She told me a story about a pregnant woman who sent a letter to every mother she knew asking them to write back with their answers to one question: What was the best thing about having a baby? She asked them to ask their mom friends, their own moms, every mom they knew, and by the time she had her own baby, she had a big stack of Best Things, stories she could read whenever life felt like more than she could handle.

I want a big stack of Best Things. Relaxation, exercise, wine, distraction, TV, sunshine, coercing my husband into giving me a back rub- all of that stuff helps me feel better in the moment, but what helps move me out of the anxious place is perspective. Reality checks. Someone else's optimism. Remembering that I don't stay anxious forever. And I have a really hard time doing that by myself. I would love to have a stack of Best Things sitting on the bookshelf in my baby's room that I could pick up and read during a bleary-eyed 3am feeding, or that I could picture waiting for me when the baby is on his fourth hour of howling and I have no idea why.

I could probably go to the bookstore and pick up some mommy version of a Chicken Soup book or a devotional or some gooey parenting book with a pastel cover and curlique title font, but I have a WEBSITE. And I know that a lot of you who bother to read this particular website have kids. So my bleg is that over the next couple of weeks, whenever you have a chance and think of it, I'd love it if you could leave me a Best Thing comment or write me a Best Thing email. And if you know someone who'd want to write a Best Thing, send them my way.  I'm going to ask my real life people too, friends and family and coworkers, even though a lot of them will think I'm a Dork with a capital 'D'. Hopefully by the time my baby arrives, I'll have a big stack, bound with a ribbon and sitting peacefully in the baby's room (or at least printed out and cluttering up the dining room table.)

So help a girl out, Internet! And while you're doing that, I'll be figuring out how much Xanax I can take for the airplane ride without giving birth to a stoned baby.


No more room, kiddo

In the last day or two the boy has decided to take up residence inside my rib cage. I don't know why this is, as Lord knows there is enough room in my belly to shoot pool and practice Wii boxing for the next two months, but no. He is lodged pretty tight up there, which means everything that was already in there is now shoved up into my throat. So I can't breathe, I can't eat, I can't bend over and I can't sit without maneuvering my girth into a most unladylike slouch. All this, even when the dad of the kid I was watching at the retreat said he couldn't even tell I was pregnant. Which means either a) something is wrong or b) I definitely know where to pack on the extra thirty pounds. Sigh.

Also, while I'm complaining, my feet suddenly do not fit into my shoes. This is most distressing as I kind of need to wear shoes. Like, to work. They are not even happy in my new shoes, which were wide and big and comfy only one week ago. I stuff them in there anyway, but I'm sort of horrified at what is going to happen to my feet this weekend when I fly to Michigan (have I mentioned that I am flying to Michigan? Where it is not eighty degrees?) Namely my ankles. Ankles everyone will see as I have elected to wear a dress instead of a long trailing bedsheet.

I'm also wearing my old $40 wedding band, the one my darling husband replaced with a prettier one for our third anniversary. The first place I lost weight (back when I was losing weight, sniff) was in my fingers and my engagement ring and wedding band started slipping around. I still wore them, even if they were in danger of flying off every time I threw my hands up in despair (what? Aren't you often throwing up your hands in despair?) I kept planning to resize them, but then Phillip gave me the Most Perfect Ring and my old rings were instantly relegated to the jewelry box. Now I'm kind of relieved I didn't resize them, because my new one is getting a little tight and the old one fits perfectly. 

I don't think my hands look swollen. My feet don't look swollen. My ankles don't look swollen. And I don't think my face has puffed up, the third trimester symptom I am dreading the most. But one single airplane ride can make that all go to hell. Right? I CAN'T WAIT.

But I am not half as crankypants today as I am making myself out to be. Oh no. First of all, today is the first day of spring. You can't be a crankypants on the first day of spring, even if it IS raining and 47 degrees. (And say it in an Empire Records "It's Rex Manning Day!" voice. It makes it much more exciting.)

And! My husband, because he did not go to the retreat and instead planned a day of go-karts and bowling and shot drinking and dressing up the bachelor like Superman and parading him through public places, suddenly found the time to start up our Sirius radio three-month trial and now there is amazing and perfect radio in my car. So much that I listened to Bobby Darin, U2, Kenny Chesney, Whitesnake, Casting Crowns and weather reports all in the same fifteen-minute car ride, commercial free. But I hadn't realized I'd died and gone to radio heaven until the 'Starlite' station busted out 'Please Don't Go Girl'. Please Don't Go Girl! By the New Kids! Auugghh!

To top off the happy thoughts I'm thinking I should give myself a little spring break. Last year we spent a weekend in the San Juans but that kind of thing's not happening this year. After the Michigan weekend I've got two weekends of baby showers (me=spoiled rotten) and after that my due date is less than a month away. No way no how am I going away for the weekend only to have my baby in some bed and breakfast in Canada. This website aside, I am not Krazy. Yesterday I suggested we turn off the phones, buy enough breakfast food for an army and spend a weekend in bed with a pile of movies and books and cinnamon rolls and bacon. Mmm, bacon.

(And people, when you visit Seattle, because all of you must, I will take you here for the best cinnamon rolls on the planet. The frosting goes on top of the mound of melting butter.) 

Anyway, all that got me was a look that said, "This is me humoring you," which I'd normally find annoying, but he can't stop me. Spring, it shall be broken!

But for now I need to do some jumping jacks to dislodge the kid's toes from in between my ribs and find something for breakfast with more nutritional value than the piece of leftover banana cream pie in my fridge. I have the Annual Fancy Event Debriefing Happy Hour this evening and I'll need to be comfortable waiting for everyone else to get sufficiently tipsy so the trashing of obnoxious guests may begin. It's the best part of volunteering and I'm not going to miss it just because I have a small person smooshing my stomach into my lungs.


Guinness and tofu

So there were a lot of things I wanted to do before I leave for Michigan on Friday. (Michigan! I know! Why couldn't they get married in, say, Bermuda? Hawaii? I'd even settle for Texas at this point. Wherefore art thou, Sunshine?!)

(Although, now that I'm thinking about it, I'm pretty afraid to go to Bermuda. Anyone else read way too much about the Bermuda Triangle when they were impressionable grade schoolers?)

I wanted to: apply copious amounts of self-tanner to my pasty white legs. Get a haircut. Pay a professional to do something about my appalling eyebrows. Research how to counteract ankle-swelling when flying during the third trimester. Find a book I won't want to put in the freezer.

But this is about all I've done so far: made a Guinness cake (and eaten the leftover ganache with a spoon.) Slept. Cried over the fact that I do believe I waddled home from the lake yesterday. Shook my fist at the universe as you know who was first to the mat on The Amazing Race. Learned more than I ever wanted to know about ecospirituality. And bawled at my husband for not telling me how absolutely gorgeous I am in fifteen minute intervals. What is wrong with him?

And this is about all I plan to do before Friday: Haul myself to a yoga class. Sleep. Eat the rest of the Guinness cake. Nerdily obsess about getting Arwen's autograph. Try not to think about the fact that my one single maternity dress makes me look like a pink elephant.

Yes. I've been (and will be!) oh so productive. 

So do you want to hear about ecospirituality? I knew you would!

Except I was pretty frazzled for most of the weekend, due to somehow getting roped into Being In Charge of things I had no idea how to Be In Charge Of. So I was worrying about childcare and evaluation forms and running out of name tags and, of course, the guy who suddenly had a panic attack in the back pew, all of which made it sort of difficult to focus and be retreaty. But anyway. First and foremost I want to say that the speaker was ten kinds of awesome. He was engaging and clear and cheerful and knowledgeable and interesting and had an excellent sense of humor, which should be required for anyone with an actual honest-to-God degree in Eastern Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness. He was not at all fazed by the woman whose hearing device emitted the high-pitched sound of going insane for nearly half an hour, which only endeared him to me more. In fact, I don't think I have ever liked a speaker so much and, at the same time, came away from his talks thinking, "Well, THAT was a load of bunk."

Because, really. After he drank a sip of water he said, "The old cosmology would say that the water is inside me. But I would like to suggest that we adopt a new cosmology, a cosmology that says, 'We are the water'."

Go ahead and draw your own conclusions. After the Friday night session a group of us young-ish folks gathered outside to debrief and one of us said, "Tomorrow we're going to hear about Gaia." And while he never ended up mentioning Gaia (we were so disappointed), we sat through what amounted to Biology AND Astronomy AND Chemistry 101, and Internet, I made sure to avoid all of those things like the plague when I was in college. It was interesting, to be sure, and I don't even know that I disagreed with his point, which amounted to something like "When we destroy the earth, we destroy the divine" or something like that. But, I swear, he did not get around to the God part of the discussion until the very last 15 minutes and by then I was no longer paying attention. And I only half caught the part where he argued that the idea of a 'soul' is a holdover from a "mechanistic cosmology". Honestly, there is only so much Big Bang talk my poor English major brain can handle.

My final reaction was, "So?" Which isn't really what I was hoping to get out of a Lent retreat.

However! What was most interesting to me was how reactions to the retreat could be broken down by demographic. The elderly people were all pretty much, "Uh, this is a bit too scholarly for me. When do we start the Ignatian prayer?" The young-ish folks were, for the most part (and obviously excluding my vegan friend who spent 6 weeks on a commune learning how to, uh, live communally) not completely convinced.   And the people our parents' age were totally stoked. "It was FASCINATING," they kept saying. "I SO ENJOYED IT."

Blah blah blah. I went home and made a Guinness cake. And babysat a non-screamy, non-shrieky but still not interested in napping 5-month-old for a few hours until her mother came over bearing vegetarian phad thai for dinner. I think if I'm going to worship something "of the earth" I am going to worship phad thai with tofu. YUM.


Oh you silly readers

Thanks a lot, Internet. I'm pregnant, not stupid. Like I'm going to get a puppy. Now. When I am 32 weeks pregnant. I haven't lost my entire mind.

That said, I'm bummed to hear that Sara's bulldog  is not a perfect angel dog because OH YES I am going to get a dog EVENTUALLY. Like, when I am 75 and very lonely sitting by myself in the nursing home.

I had dogs growing up. Sort of. When we lived in the states my parents had a bunny (which I don't remember) and took care of my aunt's dog when she moved away. This dog was a large black hairy mutt and my fondest memories of him involve finding giant clumps of disgusting dog hair all over the backyard. His name was Gaylord, I kid you not, and one time he ran away and my dad was extremely disappointed when our neighbor found him walking along a road miles and miles away and brought him home.

Then we moved and there were no more pets for a long time (unless you count the endless lizards that crawled into our house in Sicily, whose tails fell off every time one of my brothers picked them up and waved them in my face) until I was 15 and a neighbor left a little mutt puppy on our doorstep. I'm not sure why the neighbor thought this was a good idea, seeing as how my dad steadfastly refused our cries of "Pleeeeease let us have a pet pleeeeeease!", but then again, that might be exactly why. In return, my dad named the puppy Newton, as this was the Newt Gingrich era and our neighbor was a hippy drippy 1960s leftover. (Also, my mom is going to email me and say THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED, but that is how I remember it, which is all that matters.)

So then we had Newt. Newt was super super cute in the beginning, like all puppies. I don't think I paid much attention to him (hello, I was 15, I had much better things to think about, like boys and how to extricate myself from the basketball team) and then he turned into a Dog and you know what dogs are like. Smelly, messy, needy, loud. And Newt began to develop a need for doggy-strength schizophrenic medicine, which we all think is a result of spending too much time with my brother Alex.

My parents had to put Newt down a few years ago and apparently the experience was so awful they will never have a pet again. Unless I convince them to get a puppy because, as we all know, the best dogs belong to someone else. No, I don't really mean that. I really like dogs. The yappy ones and the ones that can knock you over. I'm just too lazy to take care of one. I hear you have to go for walks and things and you all know what I think about physical exercise.

Phillip would prefer a cat, but we are never getting a cat because cats are the devil's minions. We're going to have the baby instead. And a Roomba.

On a completely different note, I will be Lent Retreat-ing all weekend. The topic is "Spirituality: Learning the Language of God" and the speaker is a Passionist priest with a degree in Eastern Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness. I am half very interested and half suspicious (look at that degree! Is that even real?!) but mostly I am tired and not at all excited about staying up late and waking up early and making sure people have nametags and evaluation forms. Beware all ye who dare to advertise your administrative skills to the general public!


Puppy dog tails part two

Sometimes Phillip is done with work at a reasonable normal-person time, so I go pick him up and we drive home together. I work a little bit north of his building in Belltown and it takes me ten to twenty minutes to get to his office depending on the traffic. Yesterday afternoon was gorgeous and I drove too fast with my moonroof open and the radio drowning everything out. Because of all the one-way streets I have to pretty much drive in a circle around his building until I get to the loading docks in the back, where I wait, with the radio on, until he decides it's time to leave (almost always 10 minutes later than when he tells me he'll be ready.) Blah blah blah, this is a standard routine.

Except this time, as I was waiting at the light to turn the first corner, I was pulled up next to this*:

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Internet, I about died. Even though the puppy was, you know, doing his business on the sidewalk, and everyone who walked by stopped to coo and block my view, I couldn't take my eyes off him.  He was, I felt certain, the absolute cutest thing I had ever seen in my entire twenty-seven years on planet earth.

Maybe he looked more like this:

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Thankfully that light is crazy long and I got to sit there and drool for a few minutes, wondering how I could talk Phillip into getting me my very own bulldog puppy. The cuteness was such that I could feel my insides dissolving into goo. Goo! His owner squatted down to do what dog owners must do, and then he gave his puppy a little treat and I realized I was wrong. Seeing the puppy chew his treat- that was the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life. And then I pretty much decided I was going to die unless I got my very own puppy.

When the light turned I whipped around the block and willed Phillip to show up in time to drive by the puppy again, but of course the puppy was halfway to Alaska by the time Phillip sauntered up to the car.

"PHILLIP," I said. "I MUST HAVE A BULLDOG PUPPY." And I did not shut up about it the entire way home. So much so that Phillip said, "Okay, when we have a house with a yard, you can have a puppy." That made me feel a little better.

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Then I remembered I'm pregnant. With a human baby. And that I have never ever gone berserk over an animal before** and that maybe I just needed to have my baby already. You think?


*All puppy photos willfully stolen from puppy breeding websites.

**Well, except for Phillip's cousin's Yorkie and our friend's bunny that she used to keep on her city apartment balcony, but not enough to want to take care of them myself. One time Phillip and his roommate bunnysat and when we tried to play with him, the bunny got away and pooped all over the living room because he was so frightened. So the bunny wasn't all that fun. You try coaxing a terrified bunny out from under the dining room chairs.


I got nothing

I have nothing to write about today. I have been staring at the Compose A New Post window for hours with nary a thought in my empty little head.

(For those interested, the governor is on the radio right now doing some damage control regarding Seattle's rather impressive No and Hell No vote yesterday. And what she is saying is, "I have decided not to decide right now and in the meantime, we will spend $900 million to retrofit the viaduct, even though I cannot use the word 'retrofit' in public and expect to keep my head." Freaking Seattle Process. $900 million!)

Smart people, when they are lacking in posting topics, decide not to post. "Oh," they say. "My readers will not desert me if I neglect to offer them my fascinating delectable tidbits one day out of the week! It's better to wait until I have something meaningful and insightful to say! So I shall wait patiently for my Muse and not think about how the last topic I posted had to do with local politics, which no one really cares about, and for which I have no interesting opinion to offer anyway. Where is the wine!" But not me. When I am bereft of something to say, I write about television. (And all of you who haven't been watching, shoo!)

First of all, props to Maureen who up and got herself a tricked out Cheung-style TiVo. Or, rather, watched while her husband did the work. Now that Maureen and a real life friend of ours have gone to the dark side, Phillip is positively bursting with geek pride.

Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot to say about television today, since television decided no one turns on the TV in March. What's up with that?!

Well, ok, there is Lost. HO HUM. I think Lost is on some kind of super sucky - super awesome - completely boring - kick ass programming schedule. I mean, what can account for the Hurley episode (and I love me some Hurley) and then last week's episode? Within two weeks! I'm not one of those people who gets all bent out of shape because I'm not getting any answers. In fact, I like the multi-layer mysteries and the constant introduction of new ones. But I can't stand being bored. I should not want to fast forward through the actual show. And the Hurley show was a full hour of telling me things I ALREADY KNEW as well as things I already knew I didn't care about. Why do we need a flashback where Hurley is wondering if he's really cursed, when he's obviously made up his mind on the island? GAH. On the other hand, Eyepatch Dude is frickin awesome. I might actually stay up to watch tonight.

And I've actually been watching Gilmore Girls. I know! It's still not that great (poor Lane has the crappiest storyline in the history of TV) but Rory found her spine (hooray! Now where's Marty! Or Jess, even!) and Grandma Gilmore went along for the road trip. I love Grandma Gilmore. The Emily/Lorelei scenes are the absolute best ones. Remember when Lorelei called her out at the end of the Emily/Richard wedding? Where is that woman's Emmy?!

I'm kind of bummed about Rob and Amba on The Amazing Race. Sure they were lying liars, but  they knew how to RACE. Well, until this week's episode which was a lesson in why you do not let crazy competitive people be responsible for things when you are battling for last place. Those people get so freaked out about losing they can't even concentrate. At least they were cool about it. My favorite thing about watching that show is deciding if Phillip and I could compete. Like that navigation task? I would have rocked that one. Phillip would have to do all the bungee jumping and eyeball eating. But we would probably implode every time we had to get in the car and find the next clue, because I always know where I'm going and Phillip always thinks he knows where he's going and so does not appreciate people who tell him otherwise, like it's an affront to his manhood or something. "Why can't you let me make mistakes!" he yells. "Because I like to end up in the right place!" I yell back. And this is why we are never trying out for reality television.

But I digress.

I stopped watching 24. I was all excited, but I'd rather not watch the torture, you know? Just not that interesting. Also, Jack never eats food. I know I have to suspend my disbelief, but still. Sure, you can go from years in a Chinese prison to speaking full sentences and threatening your family within a few hours, but without eating? I don't think so.

Friday Night Lights is on the nobody-watches-TV-in-March schedule. I do not approve. And if this show does not come back next year I will lead the protest at our nation's entertainment capitol. Also, Ugly Betty. I miss the ugly!

Heroes... You people need to be watching that show. It's way better than Lost. It has Hiro. And Future Hiro! And now it has skeevy Eric Roberts who is, like, the epitome of skeevy. I love this show. I need them to kill off whiny Peter Petrelli and send him back to Gilmore Girls where he belongs and I also need, like, a 15-minute aftershow about how to make my hair look like Claire's, but other than that, it's super fun.

And the most shockingly fun thing I'm watching right now is The Apprentice. I know. I said I wasn't going to watch anymore, after the whole pink swimsuit thing, but the contestants this year are, I'm deciding, uniformly awesome. Even when they suck. It's like they've figured out that Trump is a pasty white scared-of-everything-that-is-not-rich-and-pasty-white-like-himself crazy person and that The Apprentice is just a dumber than dumb reality show. So when Derek got booted off for freaking Trump out about possibly having the dreaded White Trash in his near vicinity, he was all, "Whatever! Off I go to my weeks-long sequestered vacation!" And maybe you thought Michelle was just an insane and incompetent project manager, but when she up and quit? Before Trump could go through the ridiculousness of the board room firing? That was AWESOME! Michelle was all, "Whatever Trump! I don't need you and your freakalicious hair to make me successful!" Because that's completely TRUE!

That's what I liked about Rob and Amba. They didn't care about making friends and stupid alliances. It's a REALITY TV SHOW. Make friends at home!

Ok, I really hope I have something good to say on Thursday because it's not like I'm going to want to leave THIS dreck on the front page for long either. Also, I sort of need someone to email me and say, "Maggie dear, I will give you a candy bar if you get off your butt and update your website. It is not summer, it is MARCH. Of 2007.For the love of God. Love, The Internet."


Wherein I get all local blogger on you

I'm the kind of person who thinks government should stick to catching criminals and filling potholes, but OH MY do I love daylight savings time. I don't even know why it's early this year (saving energy? really?) but bring it ON, Congress! I had every intention of getting out and enjoying the perfect wonderful light after work, but I ended up sitting on a blanket in front of my living room window giving myself a pedicure (as well as anyone with a distended bloated belly can give herself a pedicure) and tilting my chin up to the sun like a plant. Or a cat. Or something else that likes to sit on the windowsill and soak in the glorious spring-is-nigh light. One day I will be wealthy enough to move back and forth between the hemispheres when the seasons change, but until then I will be a proud supporter of daylight savings time.

Aha! Finally. I am inspired to redo my banner image!

Speaking of government, today my city is holding a Quite Ridiculous Vote about the viaduct

Viaduct

Here is what you need to know about the ridiculous viaduct vote:

1. The mayor thinks the viaduct is a veritable stain on the city's consciousness. It is deathtrap and worst of all, UGLY! The mayor's office is sending out flyers that look like this:

Lomaprieta
Very frightening aftermath of the Loma Prieta earthquake in Oakland!

to make us Seattleites very very afraid and also to convince us that we should spend the one frillion dollars needed to build a waterfront tunnel, which he envisions like this:

Tunnel

See? Pretty! Trees and parks and tourists!

2. The Governor thinks we should just rebuild the viaduct. In fact, she may have even laid the smackdown on the mayor and taken his tunnel option "off the table". Whatever that means. But who asked her anyway?

Cgregoire
Unerring proof the state of Washington is governed by Mr. Burns' sister.

3. My favorite of the Seattle alt-weeklies thinks there should be no tunnel and no rebuild and instead Seattle should freaking learn to ride a bicycle already. They are heavily promoting this website: www.noandhellno.org. You can go there to learn how the folks in my industry are supposed to haul their wares down to the south end of the city on public transit.

4. Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the "options" is that even with a rebuild, a major transportation artery in a city already FUBAR'd in the transportation arena will be shut down for years. And years and years and years. The alt-weekly claps its hands in glee ("Buses! Flexcar! Skateboards!") but most of us think that's kind of a rotten deal.

5. There are alternatives-

Seattle TUBE

and

a pretty cool idea for a bridge

but

6. No one is talking about those. Instead, we the people get to vote on a four-lane tunnel or a rebuilt  (and much wider) six-lane elevated freeway. Not that this vote means anything. It's mostly just to find out what we all think, when everyone already knows that what we all think is that we made terrible mistakes when we voted for these people in the first place.

7. Here is an article in the LA Times about Seattle Process. Like one of the local bloggers said recently, "At least maybe they'll stop making jokes about the rain."

Rain_1


Glass slippers

Going to show that it always works to have desperately low expectations, we did not end up despising every minute of our all-day childbirth class on Saturday. Earlier that week Phillip confessed that he really wasn't looking forward to it, and I would have smacked him except I was feeling the same way. Mostly because we didn't want to get up early and waste a Saturday sitting in a classroom watching stomach-turning videos. But I figured that having read everything the Internet has to say on the subject doesn't necessarily mean I should receive class credit, so off we went. And it was not terrible! We were so pleased.

Even so, I should say I spent most of the class coveting the shoes of the girl sitting across from me.

First I coveted her hair (thick, blond, in a perfect 'messy' ponytail) and then her clothes (probably purchased from a store that is not Target or Motherhood Maternity, in a color that would make me look ill, fitted in all the right places yet comfortable enough to sit cross-legged) and then her shoes. Oh God, her shoes.

The fact that I cannot find a picture of these shoes online is killing me. But they were flats, like ballet flats, but sportier and without so much instep showing. They were a brownish gold color except for the tops, where white leather swooshed over the toes and three or four pearly-pink stripes swooshed over that. They were comfortable sporty-looking neutral-colored flat shoes that you could wear, without socks, with cropped pants, to work. In other words, SHOES I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR SINCE LAST YEAR. The reason I cannot recite the Seven Cardinal Movements is because I was too busy staring at these shoes.

(But this is why we have the internet. Behold: the Seven Cardinal Movements.)

So all through class I am hissing at Phillip, "Let's go shoe shopping after this!"

Phillip, since he likes shoes and buying stuff in general, was all for it. Except he wanted to go to REI. So we went to REI (me thinking that REI might actually have the sporty flat shoes I'm looking for) but I forgot that I hate REI.

Have you heard of REI? I know they're not just in the Northwest, but I think the first one was in Seattle (and my mom of all people happened to work there in college.) REI is the store you go to for things like hiking boots and sleeping bags and tents and kayaks and carabiners. But I had never heard of things like carabiners until I moved to the Pacific Northwest and met all these outdoorsy people, and walking into that store is like walking into my dorm sophomore year. REI is packed to the gills with Young People Wearing Fleece, all of whom you will find inspecting horrifically expensive camping gear and snow jackets. The store itself is a monument to the Great Outdoors, with a climbing wall in the building, a fake waterfall outside and a faux ski lodge look. And, this being Seattle, you can buy an espresso at the stand right outside the door.

When we were in college REI used to have the Garage Sale. The Garage Sale was a ginormous clearance event where the staff hauled everything into the parking garage and opened the doors to the salivating hiker types at five in the morning. People used to camp on the sidewalks the night before and it was kind of a Thing To Do. And while I got up extra early one year and waited in line at Tower Records for Lilith Fair tickets, I could never see the reason for sleeping on the sidewalk just so I could get the first crack at marked down Tevas. (Which isn't to say I never benefitted from the garage sale. I gave one of my friends orders to find me low-top walking shoes and a traveling backpack I could take on my Europe trip, all of which she scored for me, plus a few extras, for, like, $50. And I got to stay in bed.)

But REI just makes me feel... like I'm missing out on something, even though I'm pretty sure I don't care about whatever that something is. And also that in order to not miss out, I need to spend a lot of money on brand name gear. As if snow caving is more fun when your waterproof shoes cost $400, even though we know that snow caving is never fun, because HELLO, you are SLEEPING IN HOLE IN THE SNOW. Harrumph.

You thought this was going to be about my childbirth class, didn't you?

Of course there were no shoes I would actually wear at REI and we left as soon as I could tear Phillip away from the outdoorsyish laptop bags.

Yesterday, then, I found myself at Nordstrom (ha, I "found" myself at Nordstrom!) scouring the tables for the perfect pair of sporty flat shoes. The shoes I saw at my class were nowhere to be found, because they were Holy and Perfect Shoes and not available for the likes of me. And after a little bit of hair-pulling and asking Phillip a hundred times which ones he liked, I ended up with these. They are decidedly weird (and if some of those shoes online had been at the store I probably would have bought those instead) but I think they're neato. And they make me feel like I have a little cloud strapped to each foot.

Shopping is such hard work. But after I bought my shoes I found two (two!) maternity shirts I can wear to work that 1) do not display my cleavage for all the world to see 2) do not make me look like I belong in an aquarium and 3) do not hang from my shoulders like a tent. SUCCESS. I went to congratulate myself with an Orange Julius, but they have CLOSED THE ORANGE JULIUS. Have you ever heard of a mall that didn't have an Orange Julius?! This is a travesty! Call your congressman!

Perhaps I will write about my childbirth class. Maybe. But it will require shaking off the denial I conjured up as a defense mechanism during the nineteenth video- the one after the epidural but before the c-section.