Monday, August 31, 2009

26 Days

26 days 'til my due date. I can't wait. Every week I feel noticeably huger than the previous week. Today as I was sitting at work, my back was tired the whole day. I know lots of women have bad back pain during pregnancy, and I should count my blessings that I haven't had any up until now, but boy, was it exhausting. It's 8:10 right now, and I really, really want to go to bed.

I think I am going to top 200 lbs by the end of this. I can't even express how much this depresses me. After everything I did a few years ago to lose weight I had carried around my whole life, here I am bigger than I ever imagined I could ever be. The thought of having to do it again, eat salad for lunch every damned day for a year again, makes me want to cry.

Anyway, I went to the doctor today. Since I am now in my 37th week, she checked my cervix. Apparently it is softening, is halfway thinned, and 1 cm dilated. When I asked what this meant, she said it reduces the chance that I will be late, but does not by any means eliminate that chance. She says most first babies are late, so I should plan for that, and that way if he comes early, I will be pleasantly surprised. SIGH.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our kid is going to be a math whiz

So, we have been watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? which is currently running again in prime time, with Regis as the host. Every night they use the last five minutes for some celebrity to come on, answer one question, and win $50,000 for their charity. Two nights ago, the celebrity was Patricia Heaton, and her question was this:

If one Euro equals $1.50, how much does 5 Euros equal:

a) 30 quarters
b) 70 nickels
c) 50 dimes
d) 90 pennies

Patricia Heaton freaked out. She moaned "I'm no good at math!" She whined and cried. She didn't even try, before deciding to use a lifeline to call her husband so that he could answer the question. They called, he had 30 seconds to hear her read the question and to answer it. Look at the question again: are you surprised that after she got through reading it, he asked her to read it again? He didn't answer in time. She was on her own. She moaned and moaned some more. Finally, grabbing her head like it was killing her, she managed to figure out that at $1.50 each, the 5 Euros would equal $7.50. That was as far as she could go. She moaned and cried some more. Finally Regis couldn't stand it any more, and said, "Look, how much is 90 pennies?" She wailed, "I don't know!" "How many pennies in a dollar?" "100!" "OK. So, how much is 50 dimes? How many dimes in a dollar?" "That's five dollars." "OK, 70 nickels; how many nickels in a dollar?" "That's $3.50." "OK, so the answer is....?"

When she finally got the answer right, the audience cheered.

Last night, the celebrity was Wynonna Judd. Here's her question:

If you have three shirts and four pairs of pants, how many combinations of one shirt and one pair of pants could you make?

a) 6
b) 9
c) 12
d) 16

OK, never mind that math is apparently so obscure a subject that a math question qualifies as a trivia question not once but twice in two days. What was Wynonna's response? "Oh, I'm so bad at math"! At least she didn't cry and moan like she was being killed. Regis, having been through Patricia Heaton the previous night, went straight to the coaching: "OK, you've got one shirt and four pairs of pants. Then you have another shirt, and four pairs of pants...?" Wynonna was having none of it; she called Aunt Margaret. Aunt Margaret, thank goodness, got it right in 30 seconds. Sheesh.

Watching this made me so angry. Seriously, what is wrong with these people? Shall I say, what is wrong with these women? I remember the uproar over the Barbie that said, "I hate math!" but this is just as bad. These were not difficult math questions, and they didn't even try. Wynonna even said, "This is why I became a musician, so other people could do the math."

I was an English major. I didn't like math. I didn't like math because it was boring, not because it was hard. But I already want our kid to be really good at math (I'd want this even if he were a girl). Math is important! And yeah, it does piss me off that people are illiterate (if I hear another person on TV use the egregious construction, "him and I", I might have to go on a Strunk & White-throwing rampage), but honestly, collapsing at the mere thought of doing math? Infuriates me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This weekend we started serious work on the nursery:

We put together the crib.

Doesn't Histrionic Dog look comfortable?
(Yes, for those of you who don't know him, Histrionic Dog is aptly named)

We also put together the changing table:

This was a nightmare: a surprisingly large number of holes were misaligned, and so we were doing a lot of forcing things together. It's funny: it's pretty decent quality in terms of materials--mostly solid wood, not particle board--but cheapie IKEA furniture goes together a lot easier. I guess they really know what they are doing, those Swedes.

We also had our Childbirth Prep class on Sunday, so we know a little bit more of what to expect. They showed film of some births, and I have to admit, I was checking out how quickly the women's stomachs went down after birth. Pretty quickly, I'm happy to say :-).

After that little bit of trauma, we went out yesterday and had a picnic. My sweetie decided to get in some kid practice....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Knitting for baby

There hasn't been a lot of knitting content (or, honestly, any content) on this blog recently. For the first several months of the pregnancy I completely lost interest in knitting. Maybe I figured I was creating a baby, what more did I need to do? :-)

Then, about June, I started getting the itch again. The first thing I knit was a baby blanket:

This is Oat Couture's "Auntie's Afghan" pattern. I fell in love with this pattern years ago, long before I even imagined I'd be having a kid of my own. At the time I thought, "Too bad I don't have someone to knit this for." Well, then.

I knit it in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, one of my favorite cotton-based yarns (it is 20% merino). I got a deal on "unevenly dyed" skeins on eBay--you might be able to see that the color is slightly variegated, especially towards the edges. I actually like this, because a totally solid color can be a bit overbearing. Cotton Fleece is machine washable, and the merino gives it just a smidge of fuzzy spring that keeps the knitting pleasant (I find pure cotton to be a bit tough on my hands) and makes the finished product a little cuddlier.

The only modification I made was to make it smaller than the pattern calls for; I started the border when each side was 95 stitches instead of 111. I did this for a few reasons: I was mighty sick of the acres of stockinette; I thought the blanket was already big enough (I ended up at 32" square, which I think is a perfect size); and I was a little concerned about running out of yarn (as it turned out, this fear was completely unfounded). I ended up using a little less than four skeins.

After finishing this (in three weeks, which has to be some sort of record), I immediately cast on yet another Baby Surprise Jacket, which I have finished knitting but haven't bound off or sewn up--I became irritated by the yarn in the last two rows, so I threw it down in disgust. Seriously, after getting through the whole thing without any knots, it threw up a knot in the last row, and I think I have to tink back, cut out the knot, and refinish it, and that has me so disgusted I've put it down. So, no pictures just yet.

After I threw down the Baby Surprise Jacket, I cast on the for the previously mentioned Stella Pixie Hat. The knitting on this is finished, I just have to sew the neckband onto the hat. I hate seaming, so I've put this one down, too. I have a real problem with finishing things :-). That one should be done this weekend, though.

What next? I'm thinking of a sweater for myself, even though I have no idea what size I am going to be (I measured myself this morning: my boobs are 4" bigger than they were when I got pregnant. So are my hips. Let's not talk about my waist). I've got a big, messy project in mind, where I am going to mash together a bunch of ideas and patterns. This should keep me occupied until I actually give birth. Six weeks to go (though my sweetie is convinced it will be only five weeks, since that would kind of inconvenient for him, work-wise)!

The fruits of our labor

My sweetie and I planted a small garden this year. Naturally, the hottest, driest year Seattle has had ever. SIGH. Still, we're pretty happy with our results: we didn't exactly devote a lot of attention to the plants (watering them was about all we did) and we have vegetables! See?

So we have Anaheim peppers, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and Cherokee Purple tomatoes. The Cherokee Purples are an heirloom variety that's really sweet--I really like them. Unfortunately the plants set one bunch of tomatoes, then the tops of the plants shriveled and refused to grow any further, so we won't get a lot of tomatoes from them. But after all, there are only two of us, so how many tomatoes do we really need?

Of course, once I took the above photo (styled by my sweetie), he informed me that my picture was not sufficiently arty. So, he took over the camera. I present Still Lifes with Vegetables:

(All pictures are better with coffee in them)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What is the use of a blog without pictures or conversations?

So a couple weeks ago, during the hottest heat wave on record in Seattle and all over the Pacific Northwest, my sweetie and I went to Mount St Helens.

It wasn't too bad: we had an air-conditioned car and an air-conditioned hotel room. And, as someone who finds volcanoes endlessly fascinating, I was not about to let 90-degree heat stop me from doing a little hiking.

Although the 361 steps up to Windy Ridge did almost defeat me....

Believe it or not, Mt St Helens erupted 29 years ago. Yes, you're that old. The devastation is still pretty impressive to behold (click on the pictures for a better view of the matchsticks formerly known as trees). Forest does take a heck of a long time to grow back.

Check out the dead trees still floating on the surface of Spirit Lake. Which, by the way, is 200 feet higher than it was before the eruption: the debris from the volcano raised the floor of the valley and the lake by that much. See how the hills seem to end kind of abruptly in the lake, no shore or anything? Yeah: the shore is 200 feet down. It's crazy.

And for those of you inexplicably clamoring for pictures of "the bump" (god knows why).....

Yeah, there it is. Now stop asking me!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Weird dream

Supposedly being pregnant give you weird, vivid dreams. Last night I had a rather hilarious one.

I used to work in publishing, and even though it's been a year and a half (that long?) since I quit, I still miss it sometimes. My job involved a little traveling and a lot of books, and even though I eventually became tired of books, I still kind of miss books. (This make no sense, I know. It's hard to explain.)

Anyway, my job was selling foreign rights to our books, and this sometimes included selling UK rights. This can be tricky, especially as the world economy becomes more and more borderless, because selling the rights to a UK publisher to publish our books means that somewhere in Asia both copies of the book will one day be on sale, and we will be in direct competition with our own book, if you see what I mean.

So, in my dream, I was back working in publishing. But the office was nothing like the corporate offices I knew; it was in an old building with lots of wood and a garret, like you see in movies about academics in New England, and somehow we were a scrappy little company instead of a giant conglomerate. We had a success, a book about John F Kennedy, to which I sold UK rights before we knew it would be such a big success. Since in my dream we were a scrappy company, this was our first big success, and it was really important that we not let anything kill it. Then--horrors!--the UK publisher informed us that they were planning to publish a cheap hardcover version for the international market. Visions of lost sales in Asia were causing a panic. A young man in a sweater vest and glasses (who was either the editor, the publisher, or the legal dept, or possibly all three, since we were a scrappy little company) and I were frantically figuring out what we could do about it, if there was any way we could stop them, when suddenly, it hit me. I didn't think I had sold them the right to publish in hardcover.

(I know this realization doesn't mean much to non-publishing types, but bear with me)

The young man began frantically looking for our contract with the UK house. It was not neatly in a file, it was in a scattering of papers on the floor. He was on his knees, rifling through the papers; the contract was not stapled, so he kept whipping out individual pages, none of which were the right one. The suspense was unbearable. Finally he pulls out a page, and I know the information we need is on the other side of the page. I yell, "Turn it over! Turn it over!"

He does, and lo and behold: the line for hardcover rights is crossed out.

Relief is instantaneous. We start dancing around our garret office, and I yell,

"In your face, Random House! In your face!"

OK, maybe you had to be there :-).