Monday, December 31, 2007

there are years that ask questions and years that answer them

Via Sundry's blog...

Here's my 2007 list:

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Made a baby. Started a blog. Celebrated a 4-year wedding anniversary. A couple of other exciting things.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, no I didn’t. And yes, I probably will.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. My Grandma, the last of the living grandparents.

5. What countries did you visit?
In my mind: Spain and Ireland.
In the fake Disneyworld Epcot Center way: Mexico, France, Canada, Russia, China. Possibly a few more.
In the real-life, actually WENT THERE kind of way: none except for the U.S. Unless Florida counts.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
A healthy baby. This is currently in progress.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 11, 2007: The people involved all know why. It was an AMAZING day.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The baby thing, absolutely.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I lost my temper a few times too many.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Thankfully, not much. I broke a bone in my foot in April – rendering me sort of gimpy for Florida in May (there was significant time spent in various amusement park wheelchairs). I also still have that back problem, but it’s been wonderfully cooperative so far.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Besides mine?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Besides mine?

14. Where did most of your money go?
The typical stuff like house payment, insurance, car stuff, life stuff, etc. Also: our savings.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The same thing I’m getting really, really, really repetitive about: THE BABY.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Unfortunately, Young Folks by Peter Bjorn & John.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Happier, fatter, and richer – in all the ways that count the most

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Express my love and appreciation for those closest to me.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Complain and worry.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Quietly, with Chip.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Yes – over and over again with Chip. And also Yes – with that baby person I keep mentioning.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I’d like to say Battlestar Gallactica – if it had been ON; instead I’ll say The Office

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Beyond a couple of contestants on The Amazing Race? Just kidding. And no.

24. What was the best book you read?
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Andrew Bird.

26. What did you want and get?
Is it tiring that I just keep returning to the Legume? Also: job promotion, amazing new car, Florida vacation, hardwood floors, fantastic new job for Chip, good health care. Man, I’ve been ridiculously blessed this year.

27. What did you want and not get?
World peace.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
On DVD: Stranger Than Fiction.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Chip took me to a tiny and WONDERFUL restaurant that made me feel very shee-shee. I turned 33.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I believe that everything happens for a reason – even the BAD. Especially the bad. I can’t say I’d change anything, even though it was a rough and tumble year in many ways.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Comfortable, off-beat.

32. What kept you sane?
My faith, my husband, my very closest friends, my family, our cats, email, blogs – mine and others, my shrink.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Can’t say there was anyone.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
This thing in Pakistan has me very concerned. As does Iraq.

35. Who did you miss?
The Wife, Winston’s eyebrow.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Can’t choose just one. M, B, and A– even though we won’t actually MEET in a face-to-face way until January. Also, I want to add all of my bloggy friends. Because they’ve been amazing.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
You never know what life will hand you around that next corner.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. –John Lennon

Saturday, December 29, 2007

i never update on saturdays

And yet... here I am. Posting. And I'm not even posting something interesting. Just posting. I like the bits of random advice (GOOD and BAD) that I'm hearing about pregnancy/babies/life in general. So don't stop. This is just an intermission. I want to hear MORE. It makes me laugh. It makes me think. It makes me feel like I'm not the only one on the planet that has heard more conflicting advice about pregnancy, labor, babies, and parenthood in general than I know what to do with. And which, to be honest, I'm taking with a HUGE grain of salt. (All except the wonderful things that YOU'RE ALL TELLING ME, OF COURSE).

Isn't that just one of the best things about blogging? That you get confirmation that you really ARE that weird, OR (as is more often the case) you find out that a good dose of other folks have gone through exactly the same thing. That's comforting.

Move along now... nothing to see here...

Friday, December 28, 2007

request for advice

So I know that about 99% of you are Away right now, but I'm going to ask anyway. You can get back to me, oh, sometime next year if you'd like. (Does that New Year's joke EVER get old? Yes, yes it does.)

Today's golden question:
--If you have/had children, what is one of the best pieces of advice you received - both before you had the baby, and after.
--If you don't have/are about to have children, what is one of the best pieces of advice you've heard or witnessed?

I don't care if it's practical or weird or totally serious or absolutely goofy. Come on, share!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

navel gazing

You know, I have to say that we really did have a perfect Christmas. Exactly what we planned, and how we wanted and needed it to be. Thanks to me, the stress level around the house has risen immeasureably as my due date grows closer. We reach the milestone 30-week mark this week, and it's a bit strange to think how quickly the time has gone.

10 weeks until the Bean is full term. How crazy is that?

The nesting instinct has hit and we're working off a 4-page To Do list - typed, of course, and also organized by month and subject because I'm just that crazy. There are other deadlines out there besides March 10. Deadlines for work, deadlines for church activities, deadlines for visitors, deadlines for taxes. It's an interesting exercise, trying to get it ALL done - and knowing that some things are going to fall through the cracks, no matter what. When I'm facing a time crunch for planning, I normally go into Hyper Efficient Mode - trading little things like sleep and food and watching a movie with my husband for the much more rewarding (being sarcastic here) tasks of organizing, planning, preparing, doing, calling, editing, errand-running, delegating, and fretting (I'm good with this last one). The challenge with facing a deadline when the deadline itself is MAJOR LIFE CHANGE and also HEALTH-RELATED is that my body simply won't let me shift into Hyper Efficient Mode. I'm sure there are others of you out there that know exactly what I'm talking about. As much as my brain and my heart and my VERY ORGANIZED SOUL would like to wake at 5am on Saturday to clean out the linen closet, my own body won't let me. My body is tired. My body says that I need that additional hour (or 3) of sleep.

I'm feeling a little betrayed by this here body. Don't get me wrong, I'm taking advantage of whatever crazy juice is currently rocketing through my veins, giving me the Will to Purge the downstairs coat closet, but I just wish I could do more - be more - accomplish more.

I realize that all of these competing desires and needs occur at this time for a specific reason: BALANCE. It's a good thing that the navel-gazing and immense pleasure I get from day dreaming about the Bean's eyelashes can force me to not run a 6-day House Cleaning Marathon. And the ever wonderful, ever patient, ever AMAZING CHIP has proven, yet again, that I married the best darn guy I could have.

I might be tired, cranky, stressed, and in need of an extra month to GET IT ALL DONE-- but I'm also blessed, lucky, and grateful for the time - grateful for the loved ones - grateful for the friends - and grateful for all of the gifts that I do have.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

bleurghy all the way

Um, so. I'm here. WAAAAAAASTING AWAY. While I know that the cats are warmly ensconsed in various blankets and stripey fur. Yes, people: I'M JEALOUS OF THE CATS. For they did not awake at 4am. And then lay in bed. For the next two hours. Attempting to WILL THEMSELVES BACK TO SLEEP.

Also: despite our best efforts to dose the cats with The Lax (heretofore our New Best Friend at preventing the 2am hairball vomit-fest), they reverted to form last night. Or, shall I say, PHOEBE reverted to form at 2am this morning with the yak yak yakking. And then there was more yakking. And yet MORE yakking. Chip's statement this morning: "It sounded like Phoebe was chucking up her entire stomach in that first round, and by the second it was on to the other organs. I have no idea what she rid herself of in that last bout."

Not that you want to read about CAT VOMIT - even though it is mightily entertaining (so says I).

Our Christmas recap is short and sweet because we did NOTHING (or, next to nothing) and I LOVED IT. My girth prevented us from flying to see my family for Christmas, and our work schedules prevented us from driving to see Chip's family - so we had a quiet Christmas at home. Eve was spent at a movie, with chinese take-out for dinner. NO DISHES TO DO = AWESOME. We slept in on Christmas day and then opened some lovely gifts from the fam. Our gifts to one another included things like THE FLOOR (STILL LOVING IT) and a brand spanking new camcorder. Which, I have to add, Chip is obsessed with. I finally had to request that he PLEASE ASK ME prior to the busting out of the camera, because I was so tired of having this happen (and also very scared about capturing my cranky self for posterity). What follows is an amalgem of various filming occurances over the last week. This is an approximation...

Chip (approaching with camera - recording in progress): Look, Bean! There's your mom! Look at her belly! (see Whimsy sitting on the couch stuffing her face with sugar cookies).

Whimsy (gulping down cookie and attempting to push crumbs off burgeoning body onto floor): Hi Beanie... um, yes, this is what I look like without a shower, in my pajamas, eating cookies. Aren't I GORGEOUS?

Chip (panning around room, trying to avoid the foot I'm kicking his way): Well, Bean, this is what we've been doing today... I think your mom wants to say one more thing.

Whimsy (grimace): Yes, um, in the nicest way possible, CAN WE TURN THE CAMERA OFF? I'M NOT DRESSED FOR THIS.

Don't get me wrong, I'm totally excited for the camera. It was my idea, after all. And I think it's going to be fantastic to capture our undoubtedly hilarious pratfalls in early parenthood. I think I've just been a teeny bit cranky the last week. (Chip - you don't have to be nice here, you know exactly what I'm talking about and I've been CA-RAY-ZEEEEE.) I have decided to Blame the Hormones, because, why not? And they're at fault for most of the other exciting things happening to my body anyway. Sometimes I imagine The Hormones like little constructure workers, wearing wee yellow hardhats and using various tools to tinker with my inner-workings. When I think of them messing with my mood, however, they morph into itty bitty evil secret agents, with black hair and bushy black eyebrows, wearing dark suits and laughing evilly - all he he he HA.

Monday, December 24, 2007

merry merry

While the rest of you are wearing pajamas, making cinnamon rolls, and doing other Christmas-related FUN (in your PJ's! at home!). I'm here, rusty on the internet, wearing worky clothes and thinking wistfully of a warm bed, fuzzy cats, and an even fuzzier husband (just kidding, Chip!!!).

I was cracking up the other day at the Scared of Santa gallery courtesy of the lovely Linda.

It got me thinking about a time last year, when my office was frighteningly close to a pretty posh mall. We’re talking FREAKISHLY CLOSE. This particular mall has a very nice Santa who has been doing the gig for years. He’s what they call an “unconventional Santa” meaning he doesn’t wear the traditional red velvet coat with the white trim. This Santa doesn’t even wear the hat. He provides his own clothing – various funny flannel shirts, suspenders, boots, and red velvet pants. Think less Santa-on-his-Big-Night-Out and more Santa-tinkering-in-his-workshop-with-the-elves. The cool thing about this particular Santa is that he pretty much EXUDES a Santa vibe. Maybe because he doesn’t need all the extra get-up to really look the part. His beard is real. As are the rosy cheeks.

I made all of these observations last year because I regularly ate lunch with Santa. No – not really ate WITH the guy, but we’d find ourselves eating in the same establishments at the mall. As I ate my food, I’d catch myself staring off at Santa, wondering about the guy. Did he like kids? Did he do this for a paycheck alone? Was he someone who loved to bring Christmas Cheer to people, even in his off hours – or would he find himself stripping off the Santa gear the second he walked through his door, so happy to be rid of it for a while? What an interesting gig – doing the Santa thing, taking pictures. Asking random kids what they want for Christmas. Making some of them cry. Making others pee their pants from the sheer excitement. (I’m thinking of Buddy the Elf: SANNNNNNNNNNNNTA!!!!! I KNOW HIM!!!!!) Do all these Santa’s realize that they, by their very dress and location, are the EMBODIMENT of Christmas to some kids? The closest they’ll come to touching a living, breathing dream.

This mall Santa from last year was an interesting puzzle for me. I wondered a lot just how he handled the fame and recognition. Every time I saw him, he was alone. He ate lunch at Panera a lot – getting soup and some kind of sandwich, usually while reading a newspaper. On one particular day I was pleased to see that I was behind him in line, and I could easily see the response from kids in the restaurant as he walked by. Their eyes went WIDE as they pulled on a parent’s pant leg, whispering – DO YOU SEE WHO THAT IS? I’m sure Santa was quite aware of the reaction – and probably had seen it a million times. He ordered his lunch and quietly found a table. Sitting there, about to take a bite, a tiny girl around 4 slipped past his elbow. “Excuse me, Santa…” The guy didn’t need to look up. He was, after all, on his lunch break. But he did look up – and gave this little girl the biggest Santa smile I’d ever seen. His cheeks crinkled into round apples and he said something I couldn’t hear. The girl smiled and laughed and shook his hand before running back to her mom at a nearby table.

It makes sense that he didn't need the extra coat and hat to be Santa Claus. I'm so glad he takes his job seriously. Here's wishing all of you a wonderful Christmas and a very enjoyable new year.

Friday, December 21, 2007


As far as I'm concerned, I think that life is found in the minutia. We run through our days, focusing on the next Big Event, the next Major Happening, all the while we see and do and participate in tiny moments that we may not remember in a day or a month – but make the particular day they occur that much more savory. Without these wee bits of Daily Random, we’d be awfully bored. The strange thing is, of course, as these moments add salt and flavor to our lives – isn’t it funny how we can’t remember them? How something that was so funny, so sad, so moving, so odd, so horrible – is gone from memory in a week?

My attempt to file away some of the Daily Random I experienced this week.

- Downtown Seattle, walking to the bank. See three medium-sized dogs trotting in an orderly fashion, tongues hanging out. Each of them is wearing his own set of angel wings.

- Chip, talking to the Dish Network Helpdesk Dude about the receiver in my studio. The receiver that hadn't been working in over a week. (Imagine Chip's most sarcastic voice): "No, man, it wasn't working until the second you picked up my call. And now it is working. It's like a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE in our very own house."

- Fergus on the new hardwood floor, trying to chase after Phoebe. He loses traction altogether and does a 360 turn into the kitchen. His look of total bewilderment is priceless.

- The bus driver this morning. So excited for the weekend, he can hardly contain his glee. His attempts at "jolly" manifest more as "freakish shouting in the direction of random exiting passengers". HAVE THE BEST WEEKEND EVER! HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS! I WON'T BE SEEING YOU FOR A FEW DAYS! ENJOY MY TIME OFF!

- Chip and I trying to figure out our new camcorder. We discovered this footage when we pressed PLAYBACK. (Dialogue set to BLACK SCREEN)
Me: I don't know if it's working.
Chip: Um- I'm not sure either. No, wait. Yes it is. It's working. (jostling, heavy sigh)
Me: Where's the picture? There's no picture. Is the lens cap on?
Chip: Yes, but it's clear... so we should be able to see through it. Wait, the shutter is still closed. (more jostling, clicking)
Me: How do you open it? (rustle, click, click)
Me: THERE! (picture suddenly bursts into frame)

Now - what would you add to the list?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

gross and grossest

Blame The Wife for this particular post. She dared me with a list of topics - and this was one of them. So, you know, if you get totally grossed out, it's all her fault.

I don't think of myself as a particularly queasy person. There are some odd things that kinda gross me out (sometimes beyond reason): like MILK, or the word SQUAT (I think it’s one of the grossest words in the English language), or when Fergus or Phoebe yak up the precious spoonful of wet food we give them every night (how does it INCREASE in GIRTH and SIZE by, like, 14 TIMES???). Vomit, in general, isn’t one of my more favorite substances. And there’s this condition called a Pilonidal Abscess/Cyst/Sinus that I think is totally foul, but also STRANGELY FASCINATING (seriously, don't click the link above unless you can read the following phrase without throwing up in your mouth: basically an ingrown hair that turns into a giant sebaceous cyst inside a sinus cavity near your tailbone). It's one of those It-Can’t-Possibly-Be-True-But-It-Is things. And, there’s a support organization for it.

But when I actually think of the nastiest, grossest thing I've ever personally encountered, there is no question in my mind that it’s this thing that happened this summer. See, I wrote about it a little in my very early entries, but since then, I’ve been informed by Chip that I got some of the basic details wrong. So, for your reading pleasure, I present to you: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO WHIMSY – AND THE GROSSEST THING THAT HAS EVER GROSSED. AND IT WAS GROSSLY GROSS ON WHIMSY’S HOUSE.

The basics are there: it was an early fall/late summer evening. I was coming home after a nice evening out with Angela. We have a door from our garage into the house, so normally we don’t do a lot of coming & going through our front entryway. But on this particular night, Angela drove – so I had to enter the house through the front. Our porch light had burned out (AND IT STILL IS, YES, THIS IS A HINT), so it was a bit dark leading up to the porch. In the light of the entryway window I could see …something… on the wall by the front door. It was round. It was about 4 inches in diameter. It was dark brownish-black. It was a little bit, um, shiny. It was pulsating. And you’d think at this point I’d be RUNNING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION – but I needed to get inside the house! To pee! So I walked closer. And made the most girly screechy noise as I rushed past the seething, pulsing, slimy mass. At first I thought it was a snake or other some other um, serpent. But as I shimmied past (making the high-pitched squeaky noise) I realized it was actually TWO OF THE LARGEST SLUGS I’D EVER SEEN – MAKING WITH THE HANKY-PANKY ON THE SIDE OF OUR HOUSE. It was surreal. And tremendously disgusting. So of course I slammed the door shut behind me and started screaming for Chip to come downstairs to see the show. I was all, YOU HAVE TO COME DOWN HERE RIGHT THIS MINUTE AND BRING A SHOTGUN EVEN THOUGH WE DON’T OWN A SHOTGUN. SO BRING SOMETHING LETHAL. TO SLUGS.

When I had first glimpsed the young slug lovers (shiver), they were sort of swirled together, in one poo-like cinnamon roll formation. But in the minutes it took me to get Chip downstairs, and for both of us to come creeping out the front door – the slugs had done something else. Their woopie session had escalated into… some kind of slug acrobatics that had their entwined bodies jutted OUT from the house, with a drippy whitish something or other covering them both. At this point, both of us unable to communicate in anything beyond ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME, Chip goes, YOU HAVE TO GET THE CAMERA! THIS IS UNBELIEVEABLE! AND SO GROSS! And I’m all, I’M RUNNING! WHERE IS IT! HERE IT IS! And Chip’s all, HURRY! HURRY! THEY’RE DOING SOMETHING ELSE! And I’m all, I’M COMING!

By the time I had the camera on & ready to go - the slug nookie had, um, sort of come to its excited climax and there was this. (Seriously, don’t go to the link if you can’t handle having the image of SLUG INTERCOURSE BURNED INTO YOUR BRAIN – FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. The contents of the whitish goo? Slug BABIES, of course. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of them.

The end.

Okay - not really the end. The end was when Chip threw 30 bajillion glasses of water at the entire mess, trying to wash it off the HOUSE and to get the new generation of slugs into our neighbor’s yard. Because it was late. And they wouldn’t be the wiser. And I wasn’t of the mind to KILL them exactly, as they’d just come into existence. (Can you imagine if we’d salted the little creeps? It could be like the whale in Hitchhiker’s Guide, all “Wow! We’ve just been cinnamon-rolled into existence! We have thousands of slug brothers & sisters! We are united in an opaque viscous fluid! We are happily entwined! Hey- what’s that? It’s a white crunchy substance! It’s a new substance that is now – AHHHHHHH BOILING OUR VERY FLESH INTO OBLIVION! GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”)

Now it's really the end. (I did bring the picture to work the next day and totally showed it to some people. Who still remember it. Because yes, it is also burned into their temporal lobes. As it will now be burned into yours.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

brian watch: 2007

In case you've been dying to know some of the various locales our friend Brian has been in the last few days:

- South Seattle shipyards. To look at the rusty ferries. He was not allowed to cover the press conference.

- Side of road, Snoqualmie Pass. To show how deep the snow was getting. There were no props, but he illustrated the fierce and hateful substance known as SNOW by holding a fistful of the stuff to the camera. And crunching it between his fingers. It was a gripping story.

Monday, December 17, 2007

the things he says

He says some wonderful things to me. Occasionally things that I don’t even hear because I’ve apparently grown a type of sweetness callous. I wish I could carry a tape recorder in my pocket for some of these times – times when he looks at me with surpassing gentleness and whispers something that melts my heart.

Instead, I remember the goofy stuff. Like when I was (badly) singing a Christmas carol two weeks ago and he busts in, “You know what I think is the worst lyric for a Christmas song ever? That part in Winter Wonderland that goes ‘And then, we’ll perspire as we dream by the fire.’” To which I laughed until I CRIED as I tried to clear up the confusion. “That’s not what it says. It’s ‘Then we’ll conspire as we dream by the fire.’” His final word on the subject (as I continued to laugh myself silly): “Oh. That makes more sense. And is much better. Less sweat.”

I think of the times I've walked in on him talking to Fergus about something like the nature of the spots on Fergus’ belly. Or the songs he makes up for Phoebe. These are the precious little moments that fly by us. We won’t remember them in 6 months or a year. We’ll forget he had a name for the time he and Fergus spend hunched on the stairs (it’s called “sphinxing”, apparently, because of the way they both sit with their legs on a lower stair and their arms resting on an upper stair – looking much like, you guessed it: the Sphinx).

He talks to the Bean every night - sometimes in Spanish, sometimes in English - letting her know we’re so excited for her entrance, but STAY IN THERE – IT’S STILL TOO EARLY. He tells her that she’s lucky because she gets to spend so much time with me.

He has given me a few chestnuts that have helped me to not only better communicate with the world – but have also helped me to better understand myself. One of them is something I’ve used recently, “It hurts like MAD, but as long as I know I’m not permanently damaging myself, I can handle the pain. I’m fine with the pain.” Another one of these he stumbled upon really early in our marriage – “It’s stupid for me to be mad at you for not doing something the way I’d do it. We each have different strengths and weaknesses. Instead, I’m going to try to step in and help with the things that I do well. And I’d love it if you could do the same.”

He says that he's learned a lot from me. I can say the same. Hopefully I'm saying that now.


Friday wasn't so bad. The orange stuff wasn't so bad. It was ...orangey. Like flat orange soda. But thankfully it wasn't syrupy. I can DO orangey without the syrupy.

And now I've exhausted my use of "-y" for the day.

Except for this: Today, being a Monday, is far more Monday-y than normal. Which makes it yucky.

Friday, December 14, 2007

more than you ever wanted to know about me courtesy of my own good will and Google searches

The other day I pulled up Google to search for something and noticed the list of items for which I'd previously searched. While it was endlessly entertaining to me, I can only imagine how much fun you're going to have when you read a sampling. DON'T JUDGE ME.

- Animals that start with S
- Attack on Pearl Harbor
- Babies r Us
- Baby cribs
- Boris Yeltsin
- Brasa Seattle
- Bumbershoot
- Carpet
- Cat dressed as Star Trek character (I was really committed to bringing you a picture of Spockgus, but alas, no luck)
- Cat Star Trek costume (but I kept trying)
- Cats dressed in Star Trek costumes (and trying)
- Cats in costumes (and really trying)
- Cement water sealant on cat (you can guess what this was from)
- Cement water sealant on a cat's paws (this one too)
- Chicco (researching a car seat)
- Chuck-a-Rama (good times)
- Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel
- Crib bedding
- Doppler rental (yes, we rented one and it's the BEST THING EVER. LOVE IT.)
- Eight is Enough (because I met this guy and told you about it)
- Free clipart eyebrow (I did add eyebrows to a picture of Winston. I'm giving it to him with his Christmas present.)
- GI Joe Scoop
- Hardwood flooring water sealant (still working on those cat paws - apparently switched to different search topic)
- Homeland Security threat levels
- How long will it take to drive from Seattle to Portland with I-5 closures? (Because sometimes I just give him on the one-word searches and go for AN ENTIRE QUESTION - and this was work-related)
- Hyperventilating (I wouldn't recommend it, but luckily it doesn't hurt the baby)
- I-5 closure (because I must've tried this first and it didn't give me much)
- Is I-5 closed south of Tacoma? (trying that pesky question thing again)
- Lyrics for Starbucks Glenn commercial Eye of the Tiger (If you haven't seen it, you should - but I wasn't ever able to find the lyrics. Anyone out there have them?)
- Magnets
- Music from the swamp (I... just don't know about this one)
- Spock
- Star Trek pet costumes (still trying)
- Star Trek Spock (do I get points for persistence?)
- The Amazing Race CBS
- Travelocity Roaming Gnome

This is, of course, only a sampling. And also a scary glimpse INSIDE MY BRAIN.

In other news, I have an OB appointment today. The dreaded glucose test. I’m irrationally nervous about it – namely because I have this Just Say No policy to any weird drinks. And that syrupy-looking orange “glucose test beverage” just… looks nasty. I can actually do strange food over an icky beverage. I don’t know if it’s a consistency or texture thing or what – but I won’t drink Pepto Bismol (I did a Dance of Joy the day they came out with Pepto in pill form) – or Alka Seltzer – or Theraflu – and only under EXTREME DURESS will I drink that cold cure whatzit stuff Airborne. I have that strict milk phobia anyway – but even drinking MILK, that I purchased, that I kept in my own refrigerator, is sort of a trial for me. This whole aversion to weird beverages isn’t new. My parents tell a great story about 4-year-old me developing something of a habit for Flintstone’s vitamins. I loved the Fred’s so much (those were the purple ones, right? The Fred’s?) that I snuck the entire bottle down from the high cabinet where it was kept and snacked on the pills in front of the television until my mom found me. I had eaten nearly the ENTIRE bottle so off we went to the Emergency room. It would have been a fairly easy thing – they give me some milk to drink with an extra special dose of Ipecac or whatever to force me to throw it all up, thereby saving my body from an extreme overload of iron. However, we’re talking about ME here – even 4-year-old me had both the icky beverage aversion AS WELL AS the weirdness about the milk. So dude, do you think I just chugged it down? Nooooooo. Apparently, they begged, they pleaded, they threatened, they did everything they could to get me to drink the darn glass of milk. But I’d only take these baby sips. And it took FOREVER.

I may be weird (see Google junk above). I may be stubborn (see vitamin overdose incident above). I may be totally goofy (see milk and weird beverage issues above). I may be all of those things - at least I'm consistent.

Happy weekend, my friends. Here's to you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the ballad of brian

This guy Brian is one of our favorite topics of conversation in the morning. The dude is one of the reporters for the morning news of choice. I don't so much watch the news in the morning because I'm frantically trying to get ready for work, heading out the door while still chomping a piece of toast, jumping into my car while also opening the garage door, hoping that by the time I put the gear into reverse the door will be open enough to let me through. Then there’s the harried drive to the park & ride lot and the finding of the parking space before sprinting madly to the bus (madly sprinting pregnant woman: that’s a sight to see). Anyway, because Chip leaves for work later than I do, his morning routine is a bit more leisurely – and includes the Q13 news team. Their traffic reports are better than the others, I must say.

But this guy? Brian? Is just... well, he's an original. He’s the guy that thought he was loved and adored at school, with his love of Phil Collins and his subsequent homage to Phil during the 8th grade talent show – all the while most of the kids are either laughing until Orange Crush comes gushing out of their noses, or they’re cowering behind a raised peechee folder, just praying that the SPECTACLE WILL END because they KNOW that this is not acceptable pack behavior and man, Brian is going to be crucified after this. (Guess which one is me… just go on, guess.)

Anyway, it's possible that everyone feels that their news overstates the weather to epic proportions. It's possible that everyone sees their friendly local news people as the Harbingers of Death and Destruction because one word from THESE PEOPLE will leave the streets void of all human life (What? They mentioned that we were going to get some rain – IN THE FORM OF A 500-YEAR STORM. WITH ACTUAL ANIMALS FALLING OUT OF THE SKY.). It’s possible that you have some very imaginative news folks in your neck of the woods. But I just have to say: ours are worse. Really, they are. News people in the northwest are the most overly dramatic gloom and doom HARBINGERS OF DEATH that ever haunted the television airwaves. When we’re expecting some snow, even a bit of snow, it becomes ICE STORM 2007 – ICICLES OF THE FROZEN WASTELANDS OF JUPITER ARE COMING FOR YOU. YES YOU. AND YOU'D BETTER RUN. AND TAKE YOUR FAMILY WITH YOU. AND A GENERATOR. AND LOTS OF FOOD. TO LAST YOU FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS.

Sweet little Brian, dear Phil Collins-loving* Brian (who has a BAND, which I discovered from reading his bio on the news site) - little ninny-muffin headed BRIAN is the fall guy for the entire news team. It’s like the HARBINGERS OF DEATH need a straight man, and Brian’s their guy. Last year, when we had the wicked wind storms, we found Brian standing on the side of some deserted highway, reporting about the wind. And how bad it was! See my hair! Just blowing! Look up at the trees! How they sway! And look at my umbrella! It’s all inside out! (and then, if that wasn’t enough to show us how bad the wind was – Brian pulls out a wind velocity tester thingy (yes, that’s what we’re calling it) from his pocket and goes to SHOW US JUST HOW BAD IT IS. First off, if you didn’t click the link, let me describe the wind velocity tester thingy to you: it’s tiny, for one thing. And it’s silly-looking. With a little stick part that you hold in your hand, allowing two circular sail-things to spin around and around based on the wind speed. And then the Anemometer (yes, I know the correct term for it – but isn’t wind velocity tester thingy so much better?) gives you a read out for how strong the wind is. The wind that you’re CURRENTLY STANDING IN AS TRASHCANS BLOW PAST YOUR HEAD. I know that everyone else thought it would be funny. The news team, the cameramen, the producers—they’re all, Hey, Brian, let’s send you out into the storm and have you stand on the side of the road with a wind velocity tester thingy. And you can be our Man About Town reporting on the ferocity of the wind. What do you say? (snicker, snicker) And then Brian’s all, Oh my gosh! I just got an Anemometer for MY BIRTHDAY and I’ve been DYING to use it! This will be perfect!

Another favorite Brian moment was during a heavy fall of rain, with some subsequent flooding (not our recent storm). And as you know, I take flooding VERY seriously. But this was so quintessentially Brian that I have to tell you. Here’s the dude, standing on his favorite Side of the Road, reporting about WEATHER. And how WET it is. He’s holding a stick (you know it’s going to be good when they give Brian a prop), talking about how much rain has fallen and yadda yadda yadda – WOULD YOU BELIEVE HOW DEEP THESE PUDDLES ARE? (Brian pulls out stick) HERE, LET ME SHOW YOU. (The guy then steps into the puddle, with his stick, of course. And proceeds to poke the puddle with the stick – to show us JUST HOW DEEP THAT DARN PUDDLE WAS GETTING. NOT THAT WE WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TELL BY THE DEPTH OF HIS SHOES OR ANYTHING.

I was feeling particularly bad for Brian this morning when he was reporting about the opening of the Seattle Streetcar. Brian was all up with the anticipation of the event, and goes to show the little Seattle Streetcar Passport that they’re giving out – WITH STICKERS, FROM LOCAL BUSINESSES (which you then exchange for lots of free stuff, apparently). And then, referring to the Mean Kids News team in the studio, says, “Bill & Carmen – I picked up a sticker for you guys as well!” That’s when Mean Kids became Truly Mean as they (on camera) all DID THEIR LEVEL BEST NOT TO CRACK UP – all the while the camera crew & others in the studio (off camera) laughed themselves silly. I felt so bad for Brian. After the commercial break, Brian comes back on, trying terribly to justify his kind gesture. “Hey – hey, you guys. These stickers are really great. You can really get some good free stuff! You can save on your Pilates, Carmen."

Be strong, Brian. One day the Mean Kids will understand just how awesome you really are. Until then, you go on with your bad self. And that wind thingy.

* I have no idea if Brian is a tried and true fan of Phil Collins. It's possible that I was projecting here, thinking about this kid I knew in grade school who really LOVED Phil Collins. And did something really unfortunate at the talent show that will forever be seared into my brain. Also for the record, I was the one hiding my face. I was not a Mean Kid.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Tomorrow we will return to our regular programming (a whole plethora of topics! suggested by The Wife!) - but until then,

Please read this and also this.

This is the same area that Chip & I visited Thanksgiving Weekend. You've seen the photos - it's a beautiful place, filled with lovely and generous people. We can't even recognize parts of it anymore.

Yet another reminder just how incredibly fortunate I am. I have a dresser that isn't filled with mud. I have amazing wedding photos that don't have to be put in hazmat bags because they're floating in sewage. Things that I don't think about. But I should.

Friday, December 7, 2007


This is something I've struggled with writing. It's been written in my head a million times - and then erased, knowing that I'd hear the echo of a thousand (okay, there aren't that many people that read here, so let's say dozens of) women cackling with laughter and glee - LET'S ALL LAUGH AT THE FIRST-TIME PREGNANT GIRL! ONLY SHE WOULD SAY THIS!

Today I'm feeling brave. It's nearly the weekend and the hubris is at its PEAK. So here we go.

I'll start by letting you know that I like being pregnant. You've heard the reasons before: the beauty of life, the amazing ability our bodies have to contort and fit this growing creature, the burgeoning promise of what's to come, having a hand in creating an entire person that is bits of you and bits of your spouse and bits of that unknown ingredient that can only mean the hand of Someone Greater. I'm fascinated by this baby and I've never seen her face. I've never heard her cry. I've never held her in my arms or felt the weight of her head, soft as a peach. I've never smelled her. I've never kissed her milky skin. I've never gazed into her eyes. I've never listened to her coo or grunt or quietly sigh. I've simply never beheld this creature, but I absolutely know her. She has been with me in a way no other human being has been. We have spent our days and our nights in restless wonder - and I love her with every bit of might that is in me.

They don't tell you that the one thing that expands beyond the width of your waistband is your heart.

Early on, I was perfectly content to just be pregnant. I didn't understand the women who would talk about how ready they were (even in the first trimester!) to just have the baby already. They talked about how they wouldn't mind skipping over the pregnant part just so they could get to B-A-B-Y. I didn't feel this way. I wasn't ever one of those girls who had to hold THE BABY or touch THE BABY or be with THE BABY. Sure, I babysat and played with my nieces and nephews, but I just haven't ever been, you know, a had-to-have-baby person. Being pregnant was something of a revelation to me, and I found myself loving it. I loved the whole promise of what the Bean was - and how we were going through a whole metamorphosis together. If I could be pregnant for a few more YEARS to have this feeling of almost, of what if, of ??? - I would have been perfectly happy. It's true that this has been a relatively comfortable ride (so far), but I've had my difficulties - so it's not that I was just so peachy and comfortable. Rather, I was happy to experience this peaceful lull of quiet contemplation of the idea of Bean. And having that time of introspection was something I'd welcome for much longer than nine months. Recently, though, I'm beginning to understand the rumbling desire to see her, to touch her, to hold her, to know her in a whole different way. I'm finally at a place where it's not just the concept of Bean that excites me, but the actual girl herself. It's like there's a point where she crossed over from conceptual baby to real baby - and I can't wait to hold that real baby in my arms.

I've been trying to relish every second of this adventure, knowing that I'm one of the lucky ones. You just don't know what's around the corner - or what might happen next that will send your life crashing down around your ears. To this end, I get even deeper when I tell you this: I don't want a short delivery. (Insert even MORE cackling laughter with a side of ARE YOU KIDDING ME from across the blogosphere.) I suspect that I'm going to regret this and eat my own words, but I have a bone-deep desire to experience every little bit of this pregnancy, every little bit of Bean's entrance into the world. I don't want to miss anything, including a 40-hour labor (if that's what it takes). For some insane reason, I welcome it. People who know me best are aware that I have a peculiar relationship to pain. I'm no masochist in any way, but I think that pain is a necessary part of life. There's an old Judybats song, Pain Makes You Beautiful that I just love. Pain transforms us in ways that nothing else can. We deepen. We learn. We can become something (and someone) else through pain - someone stronger, someone braver, someone with a greater capacity to care. There's a reason that gold and silver and all other metals have to pass through a tempering process. Human beings are the same. Without pain, we would be brittle and weak. Without pain, we would have no concept of sacrifice. And sacrifice, my friends, is what makes a loving relationship work. We give up something good for something better. Our little world isn't fond of this message. Our little world tells us that pain and sorrow are the enemy, and it's best to do whatever we can to avoid them. In The Prophet, Khalil Gibran writes,

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

Later he writes of pain,

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy,
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

In my life I've learned (through pain, through sorrow) that the point isn't to search for happiness or comfort, which are both incredibly fleeting. The point is to search for peace. It's a quiet distinction - one without the fanfare of pomp and consumption. My greatest hope for the Bean's delivery - assuming general health for her and for me - is a deeper respect for the sacrifices we've made and will continue to make for her well-being. Some kind of palpable connection to this journey of ours. I know that the deeper she is carved into my being - into Chip's being, the more joy we will have that she is gracing our lives.

I reserve the right to rescind parts of this statement. I might get my first taste of a contraction and be all THERE IS NO WAY I'M LIVING THROUGH 1 HOUR OF THAT, LET ALONE 40. We'll see. In the end, that's one of the charming things about pregnancy and childbirth: we have so little control over it. It's in someone else's hands, and I'm totally okay with that.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

umbrella envy

I didn't know it was possible, but I've worn out my umbrella. There are little moth-like holes in most of the places where the joints of the metal umbrella skeleton meet the fabric. These holes, while allowing for some great cross-flow of air (!!!) also give errant raindrops a place to drip drip drip onto my face and clothes, which... sort of goes against an umbrella's raison d'etre, don't you think?

Waiting for a light to change, I cowered under my swiss cheese umbrella and looked longingly at the other umbrellas in my midst: bright chartreuse green; sleek black with a reinforced top; sassy clear plastic with a bold black graphic; larger than life picnic umbrella. None of those had holes in them, I'm sure.

Yes, while other blogs give you hilarious commentary, adorable photos, and thought-provoking tidbits about daily life, you come to The Creamery for a beleaguered and whiny treatise on the sad shape of my umbrella. What can I say - it's all about the QUALITY HERE.

I'm very happy it's Thursday, because it means we're one day closer to the weekend.

Thankful for: cold noses on warm kitties; slices of cheddar cheese with Newman's pretzels; a warm blanket to snuggle into tonight.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

a partridge in my favorite kind of tree

I've been visited by the Pear Fairy twice in the past week.

Last Tuesday L gave me a pear. Because she had had two of them ripening at home, and thought I'd like one. I had not mentioned this incident to her, and none of my co-workers read my blog, yet somehow SHE KNEW.

On Monday night, Chip and I went grocery shopping with strict instructions to one another that we NOT buy anything on impulse (a huge problem - on a regular basis we go out to buy paper towels and come home with lots of ...other stuff). The rules were simple: we could get it only if it was on the list. Lo and behold, guess what I DIDN'T get on Monday night because they were not on the list? Yes: PEARS. And I pouted about it all the way home, even as Chip OFFERED TO TURN THE CAR AROUND AND GET ME SOME PEARS. Begging off as "illogical", I said no - and then STILL POUTED. Because I'm twisted and evil that way. (The Chip must love me fiercely because Pregnant Whimsy is also Insane Whimsy.)

So yesterday rolled around and I was sitting at my desk when K walked toward me, a pile of holiday-esque boxes in her arms. "Someone sent this to me - and I've already taken the box of chocolates, but thought you might like the rest?" as she sets down the tower of gifties from Harry & David. I was skeptical, thinking that I didn't really need the fancy mixed nuts, the block of cheese, or the candy-coated dried cherries. (I actually have a whole sub-beef with this as a gift. I mean, I just don't understand giving a block of cheese and a salami to someone for Christmas. Usually the items are over-priced for their quality. And we're not fancy nuts people anyway. Planters? Yes. Something else that I can't pronounce? Not so much. Maybe some people LOVE the cheese/salami combo - but I'm not sure if I've met them. You can see by K's reaction what people really will take from these food gifts: they keep the chocolate and chuck the rest.) Then K says, "We really don't eat pears at my house, so..." My eyes glaze over, eyeing the LARGE BOTTOM BOX and speculating on its inherent pear goodness. Thank you! Yes! I'll gladly take these off your hands! Hand over the cheese, salami, nuts - whatever, JUST GIVE ME THE PEARS!

I'll let you imagine Chip's reaction last night when I walked into the kitchen and handed him a block of cheese. I dove immediately into the LARGE BOX.

I had quite the pear-fest, let me tell you. It was mildly disturbing; I enjoyed the pears so much - juice dripping down my chin, soft flesh literally melting in my mouth. So. Stinking. Good.

Monday, December 3, 2007

my wild kingdom twin, catering to the commenters

Last night we were watching Planet Earth, perhaps one of the COOLEST documentaries about our planet, like, ever made. John gave us the series on DVD, but somehow, even when it’s on TV, we still watch it. It’s just breathtaking and freaky and mind-blowing in all the best ways that a nature documentary SHOULD be, you know? Add this to the fact that I just feel like a smarty Fancy Pants while watching it… (just kidding!)

As we were watching the Fresh Water episode last night, I spied with my Whimsy-shaped eye, my wild kingdom twin, the freshwater seal. A couple of days ago I was trying to describe to Chip just what I felt like. I came up with this gem: a bulbous torpedo. Sort of rounded on the ends, but fatter in the middle. There isn’t a lot of bending for that there bulbous torpedo. But even better, in the case of the freshwater seal, I have my true compatriot, my sister, my true twin: the Nerpa. I know I'm just pregnant, not fat. It's something temporary - and I'm actually enjoying most of this pregnancy stuff, even if I COMPLAIN ABOUT IT HERE ALL THE TIME. What has taken me by surprise the most is my lack of bendiness. It’s the weirdest thing, this inability to bend and grab things off the ground without making elephantine grunting noises. And the wheezing and breathlessness! I’ve been assured, by the pregnancy books, that this is a side affect of the increase in lung capacity, but on more than one occasion, when I’ve been trying to keep up with a swifter companion, I’ve seen the look of dude, what’s wrong with you? Hello NERPA. I may not be very agile on land, but watch my incredible skill under water!

In other news, we've got hardwood floors! And cats that are no longer hiding under the bed! And properly-placed furniture! And a refrigerator in its true home: the kitchen! We also have green-spotted carpet, but I just tell myself that it will continue to be a funny story until we replace it sometime in 2012.

There have been a few questions about Fergus' feet, Phoebe's digestion, and other items recently covered. For your reading pleasure, I've created a well-organized list of answers (LOVE ME A LIST).


Fergus' feet - (or peet if you are my niece C and it’s 6 years ago): Are doing better. The green rubber is an interesting and startling shade of electric blue on his little brown foot pads. He has freed the fingers (or pingers if you are, once again, my niece C and it’s 6 years ago) on one front paw, but the other paw is still fused together. They assure us that this will come free in time.

We're still giving them the cat laxative, or attempting to, at least. Phoebe loves it. Fergus does not. What’s not to love in cod-liver oil infused brown goo that we squeeze from a tube? The kid is PICKY. I’ve also tried some unholy smelling pink pellet-things that are also helpful with the digestion, but after eating them once, Fergus has decided that these, too, are simply beneath him. Anyone have some good suggestions for cat laxative products for picky cats? He’s sort of a texture freak, mostly just eating crunchy things. I know that I’m a pansy and I’m totally spoiling him on this front, but I’ve already tried the smear-it-on-his-flurps routine, as well as the jam-it-down-his-throat method. This is Spockgus we’re talking about here – my little brown stripey baby – and he’s been ANGRY AT THE WORLD since this all began last Wednesday. I’m not sure if I can deal with him HATING me anymore. I’m worried about the access he has to my cereal while I’m at work – and I don’t want to find any special sauce in there, if you know what I mean. So I’m wimping out and looking for alternatives. Any suggestions?

Magic Salad

This one is just for Tessie, though it’s not entertaining in the least. In! The! Least! The magic salad came into my life about 4 months ago, when I couldn’t stand the thought of eating much of ANYTHING. One day I stumbled upon the concoction of romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, red peppers, a few slices of hardboiled egg, sunflower seeds, and one of various dressings – ranch, Italian, or balsamic. Not very imaginative, but I also know I can’t deviate from this recipe. If I add chunks of turkey, it is no longer the Magic Salad. And the Magic Salad is a cure-all for me. When everything else seems Yuck, the Magic Salad does the job. Fantastic.

Naming the Bean

I just know I'm reopening a weird topic here, but we’re still working on a name for this kid. We've got it down to two options, and that's where it ends. When I last brought up the Name Game, I floated the idea that I was going to answer the helpful HAVE YOU CHOSEN A NAME? question with something along the lines of “We’re not sure yet.” Swistle wisely suggested that doing so would have people thinking we’re idiots – WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU CAN’T THINK OF A NAME FOR YOUR FUTURE CHILD? I’m happy to report that this is EXACTLY what’s been happening. I’m just trying to spare you other ladies from the humiliation – don’t use the “we haven’t come up with one yet” as a way to get out of answering the question. People really do think you’re totally inept. And then they go on to suggest a million names you could name your kid. Which – how do you respond to the suggestions, “thanks”? “we’ll give that one a try”? “yes, that’s nice, but we aren’t particular fans of naming our kid after poultry”? Instead, Swistle suggested that we use, “We’re keeping it a surprise.” Which is also wise, because people don’t respond well to “We’re not telling anyone.” Even though you say that, what they hear is this: “We’re not telling YOU. We’re telling everyone else, just not YOU. Because we don’t like YOU.” It’s like Swistle has done this before, or something.

This week: THE EPIC SEARCH FOR A CAR SEAT. Do you think I can practice by strapping Spockgus in there and feeding him his Cat-Lax?