Monday, August 30, 2004

Eating and Growing

Hello again. I went on an off-site "group bonding" mini-retreat with my category at the end of last week. It was a pleasant time. There was eating. There was a whole lot of eating. I think I am still digesting. My company is notorious for causing a Freshmen Fifteen to anyone who works here. And when on off-sites, mealtimes are separated by brief spasms of work. Looking back on my New York trip, all I can really remember was food. Little Italy. Seafood. Times Square glazed cashews. It's all a food blur.

I bought my first maternity clothes this past weekend. I am horrified to admit that I actually bought a pair of pants for $70. But they were exactly what I needed and I reassured myself that I will be wearing them four times a week. Which might be starting sooner rather than later, because I think that I only have about a week left in my current pants wardrobe before they blow. I am walking around the house with my fly undone. I can't do that at work. Well, I can, but I don't think anyone would particularly enjoy the experience.

Little Whozit in my belly is wiggling up a storm now. Mainly in the evenings when I am laying on the couch doing nothing. It's like a little worm.

On the drive home from my Sunday maternity clothing adventure, with my little wiggle worm, I felt a rush of that baby joy that people keep talking about. I think I've been running away from it. I've either felt the fear of a first trimester miscarriage, or a sense of guilt because there are so many women out there, dying to be in my shoes. I guess deep down, I felt that, by not getting joyful and excited about it, I wouldn't jinx it and I wouldn't hurt anyone. But in the midst of the infertility roller coaster, I remember the agony of watching pregnant women. It didn't matter what they did, it was just painful for me. If they complained, then I felt that they didn't appreciate their pregnancy and how dare they. If they glowed and grinned, it seemed as if they were rubbing it in and how dare they. But it wasn't them. It was me. Even if they were just sitting there, minding their own business, growing their belly, it hurt me.

So, besides the obvious insensitive pregnancy bragging (which I have definitely witnessed), I can't spare anyone any pain, even by staying joy-free. And lack of excitement won't spare me a miscarriage either. So I guess I might as well appreciate my state and roll in it for awhile.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


My husband thinks that I am becoming paranoid. I guess I have to admit that, since getting impregnated, I might be seeing slights and undermining where there actually are none. Annoying chick (in all fairness, she annoyed me before pregnancy) is probably not trying to snatch baby strollers out from under me. Stapler-stealing co-worker might actually be clueless and just need a stapler--not neccesarily my precious stapler. That driver in front of me probably did not wake up this morning and say, "You know, today would be a good day to pull out in front of someone, drive 20mph and not use my turn signal."

But by golly, it sure feels like it! It just goes to show that as hard as you try to become a harmonious, calm, Zen-like peacemaker, all it takes is a handful of surging hormones to send you wallowing on your couch at night, cursing the Romanians for being so obnoxiously perfect on the uneven parallel bars.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


I think my stomach grew a few inches this weekend. Friday, pants fit. Monday, pants do not fit. I think I have another week or two in them, but that’s about it. I measure myself by standing over the drain in the shower and looking down. Little by little, I’ve seen less of the drain. This weekend, I couldn’t see it at all.

One of the problems with being in the same building with three other pregnant women (all due within a month of each other) is the competitiveness. A co-worker is selling some baby stuff on our classified ad page on the Intranet. I inquired about the stuff (stroller, bassinet, high chair, swing) from the guy, and he’s asking a good price for them. Somehow, between yesterday and today, a girl who is due five days before me slipped through and is trying to buy the stuff out from under me. I’m not a fighter, and I’m not getting in a bidding war, so I’ll probably just let it go.

Monday, August 23, 2004

A Small Perplexity

I’m into Johnny Cash right now. I don’t know why. He mainly sings about landing in jail for shooting people, dying by railroad tracks and sassing no-good women. But I like it. The way he sings makes me want to be sassed. Jason downloaded (legally…well, in Russia) a bunch of songs, including Johnny’s cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” I always felt slightly guilty for listening to the Depeche Mode version, because it seemed slightly blasphemous. But Johnny’s version (same exact words, mind you) sort of arouses one to have faith.

My morning sickness left a week ago, only to be replaced by a bad case of bitchiness and a new perplexity. I’m not worried about labor/delivery, breastfeeding or even post-partum depression. There may be difficulties with all of these, but I don’t seem to be that afraid of them. My current perplexity is so…well, silly, I guess. I am afraid that I won’t like my kid. Silly, I know. Everyone is ga-ga over their babies. I guess that’s my concern. Lately, I’ve been around a number of parents and small tots. Everything seems to be a wonderment to parents. And I do my best to act awash in interest, but frankly, I’m not that amazed.

Example. Yesterday, we went boating with our friends who have a 1 year old. He is pointing to things and saying words. Which I truly was impressed with, say, the first ten words or so. After that, not so much. But my friend continued to have him say every single word that he knows for my benefit. He knows how to say “freckle” so she pointed out every freckle in the vicinity. I think I heard the word “freckle” about twenty times in a row. I like their kid, he’s fine. But I just do not find him nearly as interesting as they do. And I kind of feel the same way about most of the other kids in my life.

And I find it hard to imagine that I’ll ever be that fascinated with that stuff. I know that it’s just because it’s not my kid, and I will probably feel differently later with my own child. When does the face they make while pooping suddenly become vastly interesting to you? Is there a change in your brain that causes you to demonstrate every baby face scrunch and butt wiggle to your friends? Right now, it seems a little unfathomable.

So that’s what I am currently perplexed about.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Hello in There

I think that I started feeling the baby move. I'm only 15 weeks, so I thought it was a little early, but I checked on the net, and apparently some women feel it by 13 weeks.

It's a bit like gas bubbles, except...different. Like tapping. Like some little busy-body next door neighbor tapping lightly on my door, saying "Yoo hoo!" except it's in my uterus. I just felt it again just now. Tap tap. Sort of like a flutter, but pokier. My sister thinks that it might be Morse Code. So maybe Morris is the new name, not Cletus.

I am quite thankful that Morris Cletus tapped when he did, because I was very down last night. I am really really missing my dog. I know it's stupid, but I've cried every night this week. Jason has been working late, and I've been so lonely at home by myself. Last night, my dad called to tell me that they took Squirrel to the vet to get his leg checked out. Turns out my dog is not an evil genius. Turns out that he has arthritis from a past injury. They had to muzzle him and hold him down to give him the x-ray. So that made me sad to begin with.

Then he broached the subject of new owners. Although Squirrel is doing really well at their house, they have a possible lead. I got off the phone and cried for awhile. I couldn't stand the thought of not ever seeing him again. I think I can finally understand some women's desire for open adoptions. Not seeing your dog again is hard enough, not seeing your child is a wee bit bigger.

Anyway, I was crying softly, watching Michael Phelps scoop up his 49th medal, and I felt the Morse Code. Maybe the baby was sending his sympathies to my chihuahua-less plight. It was nice.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Paul Hamm

Did anyone catch Paul Hamm win the gold in the Gymnastics All-Around last night? Incredible. Definitely in my top five favorite Olympics moments. I loved that he couldn't believe he had won. He kept saying, "No way. NO WAY."

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Klutz

How many years has Ellen possessed a computer keyboard prior to becoming pregnant? Fifteen.

How many times did she accidentally dump water on the keyboards during that time? Zero.

How many keyboards has she ruined since becoming pregnant? TWO.

Get Your Stinkin' Hands Off My Stapler

Sometimes I feel like Milton from “Office Space.” For some reason, it really irritates me when people borrow my stapler.

I went and found my stapler in the office supply room the week I got here, four years ago. It is a really great stapler. A Stanley Bostitch stapler. It never clogs up, it’s got a good grip, and it’s not too light. It has sat happily on my little desk since then, stapling a few pieces of paper per week. It hasn’t been asked to work too hard, so it’s been content.

About a year ago, I got a new coworker. From some reason, she never trucked her butt up to the office supply room to get herself a stapler. Instead, she has decided that she likes mine. Suddenly, when I needed to staple something, I found myself searching my area for my stapler. For awhile it just moved to our group’s work area several times a week. Then it began showing up on her desk. Every time the thievery occured, I picked it up, and moved it back to my desk, in it’s little stapler spot, where it seems happiest. I know it’s just a stapler, but it’s my stapler. Finally, I hid it behind my computer screen.

Recently, she wandered over, searching our work area for my beloved stapler. “Where’s the stapler?” she asked, poking around around on our work table. “Well, my stapler is over on my desk.” I said, and handed it to her to use. She gave me a funny look. “Oh, I didn’t realize it was your stapler.” She stapled something and looked at my stapler. “It’s the best one in the building, you know,” she said, handing it back to me. I just smiled sweetly and put it back in it’s hiding space.

She still hasn’t gone to the supply room and gotten herself a stapler. Ever since, she comes over to my desk and says, “Can I borrow your stapler?” and maybe I’m crazy, but I always hear a small sarcastic tone on the word “your.” She also always mentions it being the best stapler in the building and strokes it longingly. She also seems to staple her papers with a little more ferocity than before.

If something dreadful ever happened to me, I seriously think she would swipe it from my desk on the way to the funeral.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Excitement, or Lack Thereof

A pregnant friend asked me this morning, “Has the reality of the baby hit you yet? Are you excited?” I wasn’t sure what to say to that. I went home at lunch and thought about it.

Yes, I am excited about having a baby. Probably the only person that sees my true excitement is my husband. And he shares it. He has built a website for our family with all the ultrasound pictures, possible baby names and monthly pictures of my tummy. He laughs at me when I point out my belly when I get out of the shower. “Look at my bump!” Trust me, it’s a microscopic bump, so he just rolls his eyes.

But as far as showing the world my excitement, no. I think infertility changes you forever. I’ve heard the same sentiment on many other newly-pregnant infertile women’s blogs. I can’t describe it, but I feel guarded. It’s not entirely about possible miscarriage (though, it did weigh on my mind a great deal in my first trimester.) It’s about having been through an experience where most of us had to learn that sometimes the answer is “No.” Sometimes, you don’t get what you want. When people say to you, “Oh, I just know you’ll get pregnant,” you find yourself honestly saying to them, “You don’t know that. I might not.” It not only changed my approach to pregnancy, but my viewpoint on my entire life. No experience is either all good or all bad. Lessons can be learned from the bad ones, and the good ones are never perfect. I can’t pretend that this is a magical experience for me. It’s a reality experience, with the goods and the bads. Motherhood will be the same way. Screaming, pooping, lack of sleep reality.

I have also learned in my life to keep my expectations fairly low. When I was a kid, I would get so grandly disappointed when experiences were not what I expected. College, though enjoyable, was not what I had built up in my head. Relationships fell short. First kiss? Hardly earth-shattering. But I think what finally changed me was studying and traveling abroad. A good experience for me, but one of the most exhausting, emotionally nerve-wracking times of my life. That year did it. I discovered that when I don’t expect a whole lot out of something, I won’t be as devastated when it doesn’t measure up. I think that’s why the first time I had sex was a pleasant experience. (I have several girlfriends who locked themselves in the bathroom and sobbed on their honeymoon night.) I kept my expectations extremely low, and a good time was had by all.

So, yes, I am excited to be a mother, find out the sex (which is in two weeks!!!) and feel the baby kick. But no gushing yet.

Monday, August 16, 2004

I Miss My Dog

My Squirrel is gone. My parents picked him up on Saturday to take home with them, to acclimate him to a new house, then they are going to try to find him a new home. The only way I could hand him over was convincing myself that he's just "on vacation" with my parents. They promised to keep him for some time before even attempting to find him a new home. Just in case I changed my mind, which I have done about twenty times so far. Who knew you could get so attached to a 6 pound chihuahua? I really miss him. I've been sad and mopey all weekend, wandering around the house. Last night, I cried in the shower.

Sugar is gone, too, but I haven't felt sad at all about her departure. She went to a great family with five kids. She loved them immediately and jumped right in their car, eager to go wherever they were taking her.

But Squirrel...I feel a bit like my heart is broken.

In other news, I think my morning sickness is abating. Yesterday, I woke up and it was 11am before I realized that I felt...well, nothing. I felt sorta normal. This morning, same thing. I even ate a peanut butter toast. I guess morning sickness has been replaced by shiny, full hair (which is fine by me) and pimples (not so fine by me.) I was in the car yesterday, examining my face in the mirror and said, "I have pimples." Jason said, "Yeah, I noticed." He is a male who has not yet learned courtesy lying. Men, you are not supposed to say, "Yeah, I noticed." You are supposed to say, "Really? I hadn't noticed." We both know full well the pimples are there, but you could at least give us the satisfaction of pretending they aren't.

And unfortunately, I have developed another nasty case of Olympics Fever. I swear, this happens to me every freakin' two years, and each time, I swear to myself that I won't let the obsession overtake me. It's very strange, because I hate sports. But when that Olympics music comes on every couple of years, winter or summer, I am hooked. Last night, Jason got between myself and the television. "Move!" I cried, "200 METER FREESTYLE! MICHAEL PHELPS!" Like I even knew who Michael Phelps was two days prior to today, much less what a 200 Meter Freestyle was. But it happens to me every time.

The only Olympics that I completely missed was Atlanta in 1996. I was working as a counselor at a camp, so I was cut off from the outside world. (My sister watched every last minute of it, though. Even badmitton. She had her wisdom teeth removed and sat in front of the television, drugged up, for about a week.) One morning, though, our camp director dragged the entire camp out of bed and parked us sleepily in the chapel. "You have got to see this!" he said, and popped in a tape of the famous Kerri Struggs stick landing. So the rest of the week, I got to watch a hundred campers jump off of various trashcans, grab their ankles and feign agony.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

When Momma Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

Or something like that.

I’ve been thinking about this saying recently. Mainly because of my raging pregnancy hormones. I’m discovering that it’s pretty accurate.

I really think that women set the emotional climate in a home. I know quite a few people who grew up with a jerky father. My cubicle-mate, for one. His dad was a lying, cheatin’ dirtbag. But his saintly mother tolerated it, calmly carted the kids off to their strict Independent Baptist church three times a week and serenely carried on. My friend turned out okay. He learned fairly early on that dad was not to be trusted, but simply tolerated. He endured his father’s rants and affairs and went on with his life. He doesn’t speak too negatively of his father. He’s accepted his father’s faults, but also that he’s no role model. I know several people with similar father experiences and similar outcomes.

However, friends of mine who had emotional, bitchy mothers did not fair so well. My friend, Claire, from college has had a rough time. After enduring a hellacious upbringing with a loony alcoholic mother, she is now an emotional basket case. She’s never happy. She’s become a wanderer in life—never content, afraid of commitment. She talks about her mother as the bane of her existence; the catalyst that wrecked her life. Yeah, she’s bitter. Again, I know several people with wacky mothers who have ended up similarly, though maybe not so extreme. My boss, whose frequent gun-wielding mother sounds suspiciously bipolar to me, still cannot refer to her without clenching his teeth.

In my own home, Jason can be in a snarky mood and life continues along fairly normally. I just make sure that there is coffee brewing and I know things will be fine soon. But when I am irritable or in a tizz, it’s a different story. A cloud seems to settle on the house. Even the cats seem to get restless. When I am in a fun mood, the house seems to party. Problems seem less problematic. Jason hums.

I’m not saying all this to prove how valuable I am. It actually adds the burden of responsibility to me. But I really like having a happy house. So I guess it’s really worth it in the long run for me to lighten up and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” (my apologies to Bobby McFerrin, wherever you are.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Okay, I am sick of feeling sick. When I first got pregnant, I was just so thankful to finally be pregnant, I welcomed the morning sickness with open arms. In between vomits, I silently thanked God for the opportunity. It also gave me some reassurance, because the nausea meant that something was happening in there.

But the novelty has worn off a bit. I am sitting here at my desk before lunch, dreading having to decide what to eat. Shall it be broth today? Maybe a little toast? I would just like an appetite again. You never know how much eating occupies your life until every mealtime seems to gloomily loom on a constant horizon before you.

I am officially in my second trimester, and I am hoping for the Magic Fairy to descend upon me while I sleep and sprinkle me with Appetite Dust.

I apologize for the "poor me"s. I'm off to shove a banana down my throat.

Monday, August 09, 2004

A Little Pregnancy Talk

I can think of no other time, other than pregnancy, when a woman stares at her stomach every night, hoping that it's a little bit bigger. I'm still really small. For one thing, although I haven't weighed myself, I am guessing that I have lost eight to ten pounds, just from the puking and loss of appetite. Great diet, this pregnancy business.

I am poochier. There is definite poochage going on. But I am in no way showing. I guess I'm just antsy. Not to wear maternity clothes or any of that--frankly I can't even think about it yet. I think it's just that for the past eleven gestational weeks, the only sign that I am actually "with child" has been nausea and slightly bigger boobs. I am officially ready for something a little more substantial. My next ultrasound (at fourteen weeks, holy cow) is this Thursday.

Another thing that is alluding me is the desire to purchase baby items. Two years ago, before we were even trying, back when I had my rose-colored "baby glasses" on, it was all I could do to keep from buying an entire nursery. Baby things were such a novelty to me. But's just not there. Don't get me wrong. I am glad to be pregnant. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night to pee and think, "There's somebody inside me." It's a strange, yet pleasant, feeling. But I've got no drive to buy baby stuff yet. Also, two years ago, I wanted all shiny, brand-new stuff. A new white crib, a nursery full of Fisher Price toys and brand new Baby Gap onesies with the tags on. But the other day, I wandered into the Baby Gap, sort of feeling a maternal obligation in some consumer-driven way, and picked up a few items. I almost fell over. $17.50 for a sleeper?! I did a slow backwards walk right back outta there, ala "The Birds." So long, Baby Gap, see ya around clearance sale time.

I did manage go to a few garage sales on Saturday. But until you know the sex of your baby, it's kind of pointless. I've discovered that people, at least in Arkansas, dress their daughters in pink and their boys in blue. Period. You don't find many little yellow Carters numbers out there in Garage Sale Land. I bought some blue onesies and sleepers, figuring blue could be unisex, and took them home and washed them. My sister came over so I showed her my "finds." "Well, those will work if you have a boy," she said. "Girls can wear blue...can't they?" I asked. Karen scoffed. "Not baby girls." I guess I must have looked fairly confused because she shook her head and muttered something about my poor children having a fashion impaired mother.

Karen and I have also argued about the color of the future nursery. I really don't feel like painting it over, and it's a nice light bluish-purple right now. "You can't put a boy in a purple room!!!" Karen wailed. So apparently I am doomed to have a gender-confused child, no matter what the sex.

Continuing Kick

Our Joaquin Phoenix Kick continues. Jason and I went to the video store on Friday, and I tried to locate the movies that I remember him being in. I found quite a few and asked Jason which one he wanted. He looked at them and said, “Oh, let’s just get all of them.” Jason even wants to rent “Space Camp” and “Parenthood” from back when Joaquin was “Leaf Phoenix.”

Here’s what we’ve found: It is a mark of a truly gifted actor when viewers will keep watching a terrible movie just to see what happens to the said actor’s character. This phenomenon has occurred with several movies so far. “The Yards.” Yawnersville. Markie Mark Wahlberg seems to be trying out a sullen confused young man approach, but I think he’s just on Benadryl. I don’t know where Charlize Theron picked up her New Yawk accent, but it is truly awful. Joaquin’s character is actually the secondary character “bad” guy, but we found ourselves rooting for him anyway. “8MM.” Yuck. Yucky yuck yuck. Truly disturbing movie. Again, Joaquin is a secondary character—a porn store clerk. He gets killed a half hour prior to the end of the movie. At first I was in denial. “Maybe that knife didn’t slice all the way through his throat…” Fat chance. But then I was furious. “Well, who cares what happens now?!” I yelled. Jason decided that we had to finish it.

Then last night we finished up “Clay Pigeons.” I liked it, but then, I love dark comedies. Lotta sex, lotta corpses. We started “Quills” last night (about the Marquis De Sade), and judging from the first fifteen minutes, we are in for a doozy. So it is appearing to us that dear Joaquin when through a very dark phase in the late 1990’s.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

The Future of Rock?

Jason and I have been listening to a new band called The Polyphonic Spree. Has anyone seen these guys? They are loons! But they are freakishly addictive. It's kind of like a Hare Krishna cult on the Magical Mystery Tour. There are about thirty members of the band and they all dress in white robes. Some of them play electric guitar, some play french horn, some play flute. They've got a full chorus in the background. Some of them may just dance around on the stage. I'm not entirely sure what's going on most of the time.

Most of their songs revolve around the Sun. They really like the Sun. It makes them smile. Seriously, those are the lyrics. They've got one song about a tree growing. "Grow, grow, grow," they tell the tree. I swear, they are all smoking something.

But even as we sit there, rolling with laughter at the lyrics, we just keep playing it over and over. They are so cheerful. At the end of their songs, I really start believing that I too can "follow the day and reach for the Sun." (Whatever the blazes that means.)

Thursday, August 05, 2004


I've got a new theory: You don't know what you've got until it is invaded by yuppies.

I live in Northwest Arkansas. I have lived here for most of my life, excepting the years after my birth in Germany, a couple of childhood years in Kansas and college in Texas and Italy. I never thought much about being an Arkansan until high school, when I became mortified that I lived here. That was mainly due to all the exposure we were receiving because a certain governor of ours from Hope, Arkansas, was running for President of the United States. (It is a very small state. My parents went to band camp with Bill Clinton. I met him once in junior high and I remember him calling my mom by her maiden name. He was very tall. It seems a little surreal now.) Suddenly, I was quite aware that I was living in hillbilly purgatory until I could escape to the "real world."

But I'm back, for various reasons, and I've actually come to appreciate my state. It's called the Natural State, for good reason. Hillbilly stereotypes aside (which are actually quite true,) much of my state is covered in beautiful mountains, lakes and streams (if you can ignore the nasty Tyson's chicken farms sitting beside them.)

I also live in Wal-Mart land. The company headquarters is in Bentonville, Arkansas, about forty-five minutes from where I live. Things in Northwest Arkansas used to be very different when Sam Walton was alive. Love him or villanize him, he was an incredible businessman. Very ethical. He drove around in a beat-up pick-up truck til the day he died (my father once ate in a little diner where Sam was eating. Someone pointed him out, but my dad couldn't pick him out of a group of hunters.) His wife once went to buy a new car and came back with a Cadillac. Sam came home and promptly called the car dealer to come take the car back to the lot. No wife of his was driving around Bentonville in a Cadillac. He also greatly frowned upon his higher-ups having nice cars and living in big houses.

Sam also had a rule that no vendors to Wal-Mart could have sellers and offices in Northwest Arkansas. He didn't like the fraternizing with his buyers. So Northwest Arkansas stayed the same for many years. Just normal. Then, in 1992, Sam died and things started changing really quickly. My old boss worked for Wal-Mart for 19 years. He quit right after Sam died. He said that the week after he died, the headquarter's parking lot was filled with Lexus's, Porsches and Corvettes that had been hidden in garages for years. It made him sick.

That was also when the sellers started moving in. Little by little, every company that did business with Wal-Mart had an office here. Which meant the dreaded yuppie invasion. The traffic is horrendous now, and every other car is a SUV. There are Hummers everywhere. Mini-mansions have popped up left and right. We are now a land of Olive Gardens and Linens-N-Things. I heard a rumor that Starbucks is about to settle upon the land. Many people are cheering this news, but I see it as the hammer hitting the final nail into Northwest Arkansas's coffin.

But it's not just the "stuff." It's the attitude. Just this evening (which prompted this rant), my pathetic 1993 Honda was almost plowed over by a sparkling Eddie Bauer SUV. They honked at me and the sunglassed woman in the passenger's seat looked down her nose at me. I felt like yelling, "Hey! I was here first!" And I mean it. I was here first. I was here before the intersections and megaplexes and spas.

I drove home and looked at a field that I always enjoyed passing. I remembered that it was going to be bulldozed in the fall to built a new Sam's Club. I drove home to my little small town, bedroom community. One of the only towns in the area that Wal-Mart has yet to envelop. In my town, I rarely deal with Eddie Bauer SUVs. My annoyances are more along the lines of Maynard Magee tootling ahead of me, going 22 mph, in his spray-painted Chevie with the decal of Calvin urinating on a Ford logo. Which, truthfully, I will take any day over Miss Mochachino in the Hummer. But it's only a matter of time. My town recently began a "beautification" project. You only know where that leads.

Arkansas, I will miss you.

Thoughts on a Thursday

Happy Anniversary to Ellen and Mr. Ellen! Four years ago today, my husband saw me naked for the first time. And he actually stuck around.

I almost had a morning sickness sniper attack in the car this morning. I considered pulling over, but determined I wasn’t going to cave this time. Kept driving, and mentally kicked myself for throwing away those air sickness bags that I swiped off the plane two weeks ago.

We’re past our Tobey Maguire Movie Kick. We watched pretty much everything he’s made, except some B movie he made way back in the early 90’s. Favorite Maguire movie: "Seabiscuit." Least Favorite Maguire movie: "Pleasantville." I don’t know why. It was a good movie, by movie standards, but parts of it gave me the heebie jeebies. Maybe it was Joan Allen getting it on with herself in the bathtub.

So after seeing “The Village” last week, we’re onto our Joaquin Phoenix Kick. I’ve been fascinated by him as an actor since I saw him in “To Die For” way back in the day. But I seem to have missed quite a few years of him along the road. We watched “Inventing the Abbotts” this last weekend. I found it to be very touching and truthful about love. That’s one of my big selling points for a movie. If love is not presented with honesty, I get turned off. For instance, true love is kind and gentle. From what I’ve experienced and what I’ve seen in life, that’s the honest truth. A movie like, say, “Sweet Home Alabama” turns me off because, although the “love” may be passionate, it is innately selfish. That’s not real love. “Inventing the Abbotts” showed a wonderful parallel between one brother’s selfishness and another brother’s sacrifice.

Last night, we watched “Buffalo Soldiers.” Another great movie, but man…it made my head spin. I like movies where the lead character is a rogue, but you love him anyway. The Han Solo Effect.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


I made a very difficult decision this weekend. I’m finding new homes for Squirrel and Sugar, my dogs. The tough decision was actually the Squirrel one. I’ve only had Sugar for a few months, and only after we found homes for all her puppies did we decide to just go ahead and keep her. She’s a great dog, but I know that we can find another loving home for her. She'll be happy anywhere. Squirrel, on the other hand…

Okay. Yes. My chihuahua is horrible and unmanageable. But I’ve also had him since he was six weeks old. And I love him despite his awfulness. But can I deal with him and a newborn in six months? I have serious doubts.

I listed him on PetFinder and was completely honest in the description. I basically wrote, “He’s a nightmare. He bites, barks, poops in the house, can’t be trained. He’s a mean little dog. Trust me, you don’t want this dog. But in the offset chance that you are a glutton for punishment, here’s my number.” I had no hope that it would lead to even a small nibble. But I got a bite today at lunch. A lady, who already owns two chihuahuas, wants to give him a try. I talked to her on the phone, repeatedly asking her, “Are you sure? Are you certain that you aren’t under the influence of drugs right now and will come to your senses tomorrow?” No, she really wants him. She’ll probably come get him Saturday.

So now I’m dealing with other twists and turns in my emotions. I’ve felt mainly exasperation at this tiny creature for a year and a half now. But the thought of turning him over to a complete stranger almost makes me hyperventilate. It’s the right decision, I keep chanting in my head. The right decision. I have a good feeling about this lady. He’ll have other little mean dogs to buddy up with. She’ll let him sleep in bed with her. For pete’s sake, the lady used to run a MinPin/Chihuahua Rescue.

But even “right decisions” are difficult sometimes. I picture him crying and howling. Hiding under their bed shaking with fear. And I’ll miss his little warm body tucked in next to me at night. And his little forehead that I kiss even though he hates it. He’ll adjust in time, I know. And I’ll adjust. But I just feel very sad right now.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Post Freakout

I'm feeling better. I think I was having a Pre-Baby Freakout. I went home and listened to "Bootylicious" for awhile and I felt better.

I listened to a little Spice Girls also. Sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Yes, I know most of the words to "Wannabe." Except that weird rap thing that Scary Spice does at the end. I can never figure that one out. I actually went on a date once and dragged the poor guy to "Spice World." Brilliant plot. Posh was simply robbed of that Oscar.

Slam your body down and wind it all around, baby.


Being inspired is both a blessing and a curse for me.

When I see a great movie or read a wonderful book, it overwhelms me. All of my creative life-long dreams come racing back. At first, I am joyful in it’s return to my day-to-day life routine. I pull out those cartoons I’ve been working on, and the remnants of the comic book that I’ve been attempting to write for ten years. I start thinking again about dying my hair blue. I get inspired to research and read and dream again, like I did from birth until adulthood hit.

Then I wake up a few days later and my dog has pooped on the floor, the laundry is building up, the toilet needs scrubbing and I am still sitting at the same desk after four years. Four years of sitting on my ass, trying to look busy. I don’t feel so inspired anymore. I feel a little bit sad. Sad and fearful that my life is getting away from me, and I haven’t the faintest idea how to catch it. People warn you that when you become an adult, life just seems to fly by. I guess I didn’t think that warning pertained to me.

Knowing that a child is going to be added to this equation in about six months is also very frightening. Lots more poop to wake up to.

How do you slow down your life? How do you remember who you are, and what you were made to do? How do you keep at your dreams when there is a very good chance that it will all come to nothing?

And what is success? I know, I know…I constantly hear, “Success is being happy with your life, blah blah blah.” Then what do I do with this nagging, eating-at-me creative yearning that I’ve had since childhood?

Maybe it all comes down to risk-taking. But I’m from a typical middle-class upbringing. I don’t know how to take risks. The word “risk” isn’t even in my vocabulary. I wouldn’t even know where to start.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Blow Off

While in San Diego, I realized that Jason and I had learned a valuable marital skill. Somewhere along this road of marriage, we have learned how to blow each other off. I know that doesn’t sound very romantic, but it’s important, nonetheless.

After four years of marriage, and two prior years of dating, I am now aware of two key time periods to blow off Jason. The first is in the morning, before he has his coffee. I can’t take anything that he says personally during this time. He is a class A grouch. “Stupid cat hair all over my clothes and it’s all your fault!” “Where are my keys? You’ve hidden my keys!” “(Grumble grumble grumble).” Thankfully, he is an early bird, and I am a late sleeper, so I rarely have to deal with him in the mornings.

Another blow-off time is when Jason is hungry. Especially when we are driving and aren’t sure where to stop and eat. The way to counteract a crabby hungry Jason is to just smile sweetly and say in a soothing manner, “Let’s get some food in your tummy.” Also, the hungrier he gets, and the crabbier he gets, the less able he is to make a restaurant decision. Not only do I need to keep smiling and soothing, but I have to be the one to say, “Stop at that taco stand right there.” Otherwise, he will just keep driving and grumbling.

I’m not sure of the exact incidences of when I get the blow-off from Jason, but I’m fairly sure that he’s gotten a lot of practice since I’ve been pregnant. Man, I’ve been a bitch. I guess it’s the hormones, but I have little patience right now. “Stop touching me!” That was a big one on our flight home. I was in the worst mood and everyone, including him, was in my personal space. At one airport, he finally just got up and moved across the room to watch “Run Lola Run” on his laptop. And on the airplane, I told him to get his stinkin' appendages out of my chair area. "I paid for this seat!" I also insisted that he only take up half the armrest. "I paid for half of that armrest!" (Never mind that we are married and his money is my money.)

You watch these romantic movies where the guy and girl can’t get enough of each other and hang on the other’s every word. The guy lightly caresses the girl’s face tenderly and vows to always be there for her. What you don’t get to see is three years down the road, when the sweetest, kindest thing that they can do for each other sometimes is to simply smile and leave the room for a few hours.