Monday, August 29, 2011


Dad, walking me down the aisle. Giving me, and all the high maintenance responsibility that comes with it, to another man. It's his problem now, as Al would say.

Not afraid to show emotion, Alex cries, happy tears I hope, during the ceremony.

And we danced. And we cried. And we laughed. And had a really, really, really good time.

Happy 2nd wedding anniversary, to my one true love.

It appears we are supposed to exchange cotton gifts to honor our two years together. But I hope Alex will settle for me just doing the laundry. The towels are cotton, after all. And that's all I can muster for the day. As well as for our budget.

I am so, so incredibly grateful to have met this man and fallen in love with him 5 years ago this month. I knew, when I met him that day in the Tahoe World office, that red-bearded boy from Oregon, that there was something more to him. I didn't realize it explicitly, until about one month into our working together, that he was to be the man I would one day marry. Only, at the time, I cried about it, because I wasn't even sure I liked the guy in that way. And today, I not only like the guy, but I downright love the shit out of him. I love the way he claps his hands and hollers when he gets excited. I love the smell of his t-shirt when he's worn it a day too long before a wash. I love the way I catch him looking at me in the morning when I'm waking up. I love the passion he shares for his students and his players. I love his commitment to family - both his and mine. I love how he looks when he gets dressed up. I love the feel of his skin fresh from a shave. I love hearing him play the guitar out on the porch, always learning the songs I request. I love that he talks to my belly, telling the baby to take care of its mama. I love that he does the dishes, 99.9% of the time, even after I promise to start helping in the kitchen more. I love his athletic skills, watching him ski and play soccer. I love how he gets shy right before we head out for a social event. I love that he loves flannel - a true Oregon couple we are. I even love his dry, cracked, little hands and the way he obsessively plays with his sideburns when they've grown uncomfortably long. I love his open heart, his hungry mind, and his soothing soul.

Two years ago was one of the best days of my life. In part, because I was marrying my best friend. But also because it was the most fun party of our lives. Never have I enjoyed dancing, laughing, eating, and drinking so much. Nearly every one of our friends and family members was in attendance, and we got to celebrate our love and our commitment to each other among all of our favorite people. Nothing, thus far, quite matches that feeling of being utterly surrounded by love and happiness. At least for one day.

While I'm not particularly big on dates (we are eating at Little Big Burger for our anniversary date, after all), it is today that I like to thumb through our wedding album, maybe watch some of the home videos, and reminisce about how George threw up in the bushes, how DJ Primetime Nick Shine rocked the party, how Nesta was our ring-bearer, or how our bridal party was super good looking.

Thanks, again, to all who have supported us, before, during, and after our wedding, and as we continue on this lifelong journey of marriage together. Alex is simply the best, and I am so lucky to have him. Today and every day.

Penguin - I promise to water your heart garden. xoxo - Mountain Goat

Olive Juice

I am rather vulnerable to food suggestions lately. And it's taken quite the ironic twist, too. I seem to be craving whatever food says my baby is the size of. Two weeks ago, it was blueberries. This last week, olives. Seriously, I can't get enough of the pimiento-stuffed green olives. At 100% of my daily recommended sodium intake for just 10, I should probably put the brakes on my olive consumption. But I just can't help myself. The next food in line is grapes. That sounds like a bit of a healthier alternative. But then what am I going to do the week my app says the baby is the size of a turnip? That's just won't cut it. I'm subsisting solely on salt, fat, and chocolate, after all. Which is actually a step up from my non-pregnant diet of sugar, sugar substitute, high fructose corn syrup, diet Coke and ice cream.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spreading the News

Dear Readers (all 4 of you),

If you are checking out this blog for the first time, you were likely a recipient of the email Alex and I just sent to our family and some friends. I would like to remind you of a few things I included in the email:

1. I said this blog wasn't for the faint of heart. What I really meant was that if you previously thought I was the perfect, errorless angel that I always want you to think I am (this is for you grandparents, aunts, uncles, and in-laws), you might learn otherwise. If you want a rosy picture of the cheerful, optimistic, well-behaved lady, you might not want to read on. You've been warned ...

2. While we did indeed announce the pregnancy, and in a mass email no less, it still is a private matter, in that we aren't big fans of letting all our Facebook "friends" know about the increasing size of my boobs, my morning diarrhea, or the eventual dilation of my cervix. You know what I mean? This blog is reserved for the artful over-share; it means you only have to read about it if you make the trip to the website. We're pro-choice, after all. Also, we haven't had the opportunity to share our exciting news with our employers yet. So don't do that for us, please.

3. I wanted to spend a moment, on this soapbox of mine, contesting the idea that women should have to wait 13 weeks to tell. I feel like it's a bit anti-feminist that women are supposed to keep such exciting news secret. Society tells us we can't share the positive news, because of the risk of miscarriage, and then we would have to share the negative news. But shouldn't we?!? Don't we get more support and are better able to relate to other women if we share both the good and the bad?!? Just sayin'.

4. If you have made it this far in the post, the least you could do is go to the bottom of the main blog homepage and become a "follower." It helps remind me who might be reading, and to keep my audience in mind. So as not to say something I will likely later regret. Then again, my understanding of a blog is somewhere between a Dear Diary and a memoir. And I never have had the best filter.

5. Please remember that I am not working right now, so I have only vapid, self-centered things to write about. How I feel. My near-perfect marriage. My rambling thoughts on the state of the world. But I promise, should you become a loyal reader, that I will write more than just about my weight gain and swollen fingers. When I'm working again, and in the real world, I'll be able to complain about militant bosses, share crazy patient stories, or discuss the pros and cons of biking versus bus-riding for transit. Exciting stuff, I know.

Again, loyal readers, thank you for indulging in my public ramblings. Enjoy the details of my/our life, and the occasional accompanying photograph.

Best wishes,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

8 Weeks

Let me start by thanking the nurse-midwife for not sticking her finger in my butt, like I was so worried she might do during my first prenatal visit. And second, let me thanks Noah's Bagels for inventing the asiago cheese bageldog (I know, I know, nitrates in hot dogs are bad for mamas-to-be; but I figure I can get away with the occassional weiner while I am still not showing). And lastly, I would like to thank my cervix for being "really, really great."

Alex and I had our first visit with the doc yesterday, and so far so good with everything both baby and baby-mama. I was instructed to avoid eating soft-serve ice cream. I felt like a little piece of my soul died, because I happen to LOVE that fakey-fake ice cream flavor. There goes all my future trips to the self-serve frozen yogurt and topping places. Damn how I love to put Reece's Pieces, chocolate sprinkles, and graham cracker crumble on my own dessert. I was also instructed to not worry about the retinol I had used on my face the first 6 weeks, that the "may cause serious birth defects" is indeed not as significant nor as likely as the label threatens. I was told to drink more water as I should be peeing more frequently than 3 times daily. To continue taking Zoloft, as the benefits outweigh the risks (that's for all parties involved, including Alex; me off Zoloft = dangerous sitch for hubby). To no longer imbibe kombucha drinks - not because of the fermentation but because of the bacteria exposure. To not, under any circumstances, take Xanax. Or Valium. Or Klonopin. Even if I'm plummeting through the sky at nearly 600 miles per hour.

The appointment went a little something like this. We arrived, on time and with our paperwork previously completed. My nurse-midwife and new BFF, Sarah Krakauer, gave me a "gold star" for being so on top of things. This reminded me why I was the student who sat in the front of the classroom and raised my hand to answer every question. I love to be "good." Sarah is a fast-talking, New-York-Jewish-seeming lady who doles out compliments about my fetus, my cervix, and my nipples like candy. I like her. First, Sarah reviewed a number of the questions from the prenatal paperwork, such as prescription medications, last menstrual period, etc. She listened to my lungs, pushed around on my abdomen, listened to my heart (and referred me for an EKG - should I be worried?!?) She then got up close and personal with me by taking a chlamydia and some other STD swab (it's routine, I'm not gross), and then palpating my cervix, and giving me a breast exam. This is when she told me that I would be just great at breastfeeding, should I choose that route. Then Sarah rolled over the ultrasound machine. This one was transvaginal, and Sarah asked me if I wanted to insert it myself. That was a clear, resounding "no." I believe I would like to leave the doctor work to the professionals themselves. And this is when we got to see our little Baby Beluga!!! We could see its fast little heartbeat, 150, which I guess is good. She measured the fetus from "crown to rump" and dated the little bean at 8 weeks 1 day. That makes our due date April 4. I can't believe I'm going to have a little Aries child - s/he is going to be even more trouble than we bargained for!!!

I have to admit, at the exact moment Sarah oriented me to the little black and white fuzzy blob on the screen, I felt this wave of emotion threaten to overcome me. Old habits die hard, so I quickly squashed it for fear I would cry right then and there. Then I was reminded that my mom is missing out on all this cool shit, and that made me sad. Luckily, my goofy and smiley husband was just behind me about bursting at the seams with pride and excitement. When Sarah left the room to let me regain my modesty and get dressed in my clothes, Alex did a Disney-on-Ice-type move where he tried to lift me up. It wasn't pretty. But it was sweet. All in all, I give the 8 week a visit an 11/10. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed that Baby Beluga keeps up the good work and continues to stick it out in there, even if I occasionally curse him/her for making me feel nauseous, somewhat cranky, and downright exhausted. Did I mention I just awoke from a solid 12 hours of beauty rest?

The Hangover

If I were to write my own pregnancy and childbirth book, I would relate the first chapter to a big, long, low-grade, 3-month hangover. It's not unlike how I felt for most of my early 20s, actually. You'd think I would be used to the feeling, but I have long since forgotten the morning nausea, the weakness and dizziness, the propensity for juice and salted fatty foods, the bloat, the aversion to exercise, and the fatigue.

The good thing, with maturity on my side, is that I would actually, sincerely, prefer to be experiencing these symptoms as a result of a healthy, developing fetus, rather than because of a night out imbibing one, two, or seven too many greyhounds, shots of Jaeger, or mudslides. And at least I'm waking up in my own bed, next to my own wonderful man, who loves me and my morning breath - and whose name I remember.

Also, I don't have to stress quite as much about getting to the gym and working off the extra 1,000 calories I ingested in liquid alone, not to mention the additional 500 calories of late-night pizza I ate in hopes to ward of said hangover. Now, I just need to make sure I get my heart rate up as many times a week as I feel up to. And besides, there is not much I can do to avoid getting fat - it's downright inevitable - and healthy for both baby and mama!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Baby Beluga

I have been having some crazy dreams. Nothing I remember in detail enough to recount, though. The other night, I dreamed of a baby humpback whale breaching in the ocean. I had this intense feeling that this was a miraculous sight, and that I needed to remember the dream and the inspiration in order to look up the meaning the next morning. Turns out, whales are a pretty telling thing to dream about. According to, whales have a long and distinct place in folklore.

"Whales have been used to signify love, grace and intelligence in culture and in folk tales. However, whales also have significance in our unconscious dreams.

One of the symbols with which whales are associated in dreams is that of maternity. Because of the care and concern a cow has for her calf, this energy translates into some sense of maternity within the life of the dreamer. This can be a literal pregnancy, or a sense of being pregnant with ideas, bursting or full."

I don't know about you, but I think this is pretty damn cool. I grew up believing that we each have our own animal. My dad always loved sea otters, my mom collected pigs, and I always felt particularly kindred with wolves. I think my brother remains in the fantasy realm, with dragons and the like. Anyway, I'm thinking that this little Baby Beluga of ours might be a little whale. Making me the cow. Seems fitting, already, and I haven't even outgrown my current clothes yet. Excuse me while I go and save the world while watching Whale Wars.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The baby is about the size of a blueberry this week. Not sure if it's one of those big, fat, juicy perfect-tasting blueberries, or those little, tart ones that are good in pie. But in honor of our little blueberry, we went to Sauvie Island to pick some of our own - which happens to be one of the few healthy foods I am interested in eating these days.

Speaking of eating, I had canned corn for breakfast Monday, blueberry pancakes for breakfast Tuesday, a banana and blueberry smoothie for breakfast Wednesday, and chips and mild queso for breakfast today ... My mind sort of feels like this rolodex of foods. It's like it constantly scans through all the possible meal choices - Mexican (burritos, nachos, enchiladas ...), Italian (meatball sub, pizza, lasagna, noodles ...), American (hot dog, cheeseburger, french fries ...), snack foods (popcorn, chips and salsa, ice cream, Goldfish crackers ...), fruit (blueberries, blueberries, blueberries ...), Asian (pad thai, ramen, pho, salad rolls ...) - until it selects one that sounds appealing. Like that iPhone app, Urbanspoon, that works like a slot machine and spins three columns at once to select your final dining out choice. At that moment, the one where my mind decides something actually sounds appealing, I go instantly from feeling nauseous and fatigued to feeling inspired. It is then and only then I can drag my lazy butt out of my PJ's and out of the apartment to the grocery store to buy said food. And then sometimes, this food loses its appeal by the time I make it to the store. That means it's not going to be a good day. I'm grateful I'm not praying to the porcelain gods daily, but I certainly am getting my fair share of waves of nausea. Not sure how I'm going to surf these waves once I'm back in the workplace.

Overall, this little blueberry is already giving her mama a run for her money. Or at least, I constantly feel like I'm been running a half-marathon. In other words, I'm tired. Damned tired. I oscillate between feeling like I ingested two Xanax PLUS two Dramamine (as I once did to ride a ferry during a storm in Brazil), and feeling like it would take every ounce of willpower and energy just to get up and pause Friday Night Lights streaming instant on Netflix so I can pee. I usually get a solid two-hour burst of energy at some point during the day, but that's pretty much all I've got. The dishes go undone. Gizzy goes unwalked. The house goes unvaccumed. I go unshowered. You get the picture. Thank god I'm not working. And even if I was, I don't know that I'd still have a job after my energy level plummeted the last two weeks.

As for my boobs. Those are a whole different story. I have always been of the well-endowed variety. Nothing I'm particularly proud of, as I envy girls who can go bra-less in flimsy summer dresses. Or who can buy swimsuits at places like Victoria's Secret. Or who can run or jump or play without the threat of a black eye. Needless to say, this whole pregnancy thing has done a number on my chest. I feel like a circus freak. And I can't believe it's only Week 7. What am I going to do when my milk comes in?!? All the books say breast tenderness is one of the early symptoms of pregnancy. And they are correct. I have had sore boobs exactly one time ever while PMSing. I now know what I have been missing. And I am not sad.

Alex wants me to be this happy, ever-glowing pregnant lady. Boy would I like to be that lady. But at this point, I feel like a lazy beached whale - and I'm not even two months along. I keep crossing my fingers that the second trimester will be like this breath of fresh air. That's when I'll do all the prenatal yoga the women in the magazines make look so easy. Or when I'll eat a vegetable at every meal, or at least daily. And when I'll decorate a nursery, and sew baby clothes, and knit a baby blanket, and cook my husband dinner, and clean the house. And work. Since I'm going to have to go back in about 6 weeks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Guest Blog: Alex Close

My hubby and I were recently volunteer camp counselors at this amazing week-long camp called Courageous Kids. It's an organization through PeaceHealth in Eugene that provides grief support for youth who have experienced the death of a loved one. I was a volunteer with the NGO and went to camp once two years ago, and dragged Alex with me this year. Here's his take on the experience:

By Alex Close

Working with young people is funny. I'm used to the teen-aged variety, but I'm always astounded when I come up against the elementary-aged child.

Last week I had the privilege to volunteer at a grief camp in the beautiful Cascade mountains. Some 50 or 60 kids ranging in age from 5 to 18 came out to summer camp for the same reason... loss. Each child had lost someone close to them, most often a parent or caregiver. Some cases were violent, some were not, but in almost every single case the event was tragic for the child.

We all process grief differently. But anyone who has worked with children can tell you that young people tend to process death in ways that adults do not. This, of course, differs with age as well. The teen campers tended to want to talk more. The girls cried and shared their feelings. I was assigned to work with seven- and eight-year-old boys. For these little guys it was summer camp. Some were sad, but for the most part they seemed entirely happy-go-lucky and distracted by the lake, the many toys and games, the art, the music and the ability to run around and frolic for four days.

Because of their age, there wasn't as much crying and "grieving" as one might expect. Don't be fooled, these boys were very hurt, but they dealt with that pain often through play.

And, like usual, seven year old boys say some funny, funny things.

While walking down the trail one afternoon toward the mess hall with one of my charges, there was silence in the air. The camp was quiet and we walked along just taking in the mountain breeze and the soft rustling of the trees. All of the sudden he breaks his silence to celebrate the glow in the dark monkey sticker gracing his name tag.

"I got my monkey, I got my monkey, I got my monkey!" he abruptly began to sing as he skipped along dancing with his name tag. I couldn't help it and started laughing... which of course made him infuse even more enthusiasm into his song.

While the funny comments are what make me laugh, it's the unbridled sense of innocence that I cherish the most from these young people.

While swimming one afternoon a buddy of mine asked if I could take him across camp to the bathroom. Of course. When we got there he strode into the stall and locked the door. I adjusted my expectations, this was a Number Two visit. The next instant a loud, squigey sound of nastiness came barreling out of the stall. My face twisted with automatic gross-outness. How does a sound that loud and nasty come from such a small body. I would expect it in the bathroom at a hot wing eating contest between oversized bikers, but a spunky little seven-year-old? Damn.

But, when my little buddy emerged with a smile on his face and a burning desire to rush back to the lake before swim time ended, I figured all was normal. We had eaten piles and piles of eggs for breakfast.

However, two hours later my little charge once again requested an escort to the bathroom. This time it was in the middle of outdoor games - a kind of camp recess after lunch. Again the little munchkin strode into the stall, locked the door and cracked off the nastiest, loudest most liquid sounding crap I'd ever heard... from adult or child. I looked toward the stall with horror on my face. Small sneaker-clad feet were visible dangling beneath the stall wall. I heard the toilet paper rolling off the dispenser. Then, in what looked like a trick of leverage, one tiny foot shot upwards. From the angle of his other foot I imagined this resourceful little boy had wedged a foot up against the stall and paper dispenser to get added stability, leverage and angle on his wipe. My previously disgusted mouth dropped open in amazement. Why hadn't I thought of that move?

Once again, he emerged with a smile on his face. It was all I could do to to mask my concern and horror.

"You feeling okay buddy?"

"Yeah! Why?"

In my mind I thought, you just blasted out your SECOND loud semi-sick sounding crap of the day, are you sick?

"I don't know, just making sure you feel okay." I opted for a less leading explanation.

"Yeah. If I was sick I'd have to go home."

"That would be a bummer. But you feel okay?"

"Yep, let's go play tag!"

He ran out the door, leaving me to stand in amazement that this tiny little person could make such awful, awful noises and not even feel phased.

But that's how it goes with the little ones. Emotions pass in nano-seconds. Interest flutters like a butterfly from flower to flower. Usually there's a smile on their faces, but even if not the storm will pass.

For more information about Courageous Kids:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Motherless Mothers

There is a Hope Edelmann book by the same name. I haven't taken the time to read it yet, but will likely need to at some point early in this pregnancy. I know for a fact they have one used copy on the shelf and Powell's with my name on it.

Yesterday, I felt like a moose kicked me in the ribs. I was still angry with Alex about the whole staying-out-late-and-not-answering-his-phone business. And I was headed out to run errands before picking up my dad and anticipating telling him the Big News. I was driving to the fabric store and I started crying hysterically, which lasted about 2.5 minutes before it turned into hyperventilating, and then a dry heave. Once the crying turns to dry heaving, I have to use every ounce of willpower in my cells to curb the emotion so I don't trigger a puke all over my own lap. I just felt so tragically alone. And sad. This kind of grief doesn't ever last long, but boy it strikes with a vengeance. It's the kind of feeling, both emotionally and even physically, that can turn my world upside down.

After a bit of pondering, I realized how alone I felt, without my mother to lean on. I guess I can't really know whether or not we would be close if she were alive today, but I imagine that we would. I also realized that I was very, very nervous about telling my dad we're pregnant. In part, I think, it is a sadness that I am telling just my dad, not my dad and my mom. And then there is the fact that one of my mom's biggest goals, if you can call it that, was to be a grandmother. And at times, it kills me to think that this is now coming to fruition, and she's not around to be a doting grammy.

But another part of the nerves comes from some fear of disapproval by my father. He advised we should wait before embarking on parenthood, become more financially secure, professionally established. And he's probably right. But I just don't think life works that way. Still, I was scared that he would think we were dumb and irresponsible. But, of course, he was perfectly kind and open and loving. That's usually how he is anyway. He voices his strong, usually wise, opinion when there is still time to make decisions, but then once the decision has been made, he's always nothing but supportive.

I'm glad the moose-kick didn't last too long. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'll be able to handle it. And yeah, I'm still mad at Alex, but less so than I was this time yesterday. I think I feel abandoned, and that brings about all sorts of doubt about the future of our growing family. But when it comes down to it, we love each other truly and deeply, and ultimately, as The Beatles have proclaimed, that's all you need. Although a maternal grandma would be nice, too.

Designer Baby

"I hope the baby gets your musical skill," I tell Alex as he is playing a new song on the guitar he just learned the week before. Despite his ineptitude for dancing, he has surprisingly good rhythm and a nice voice.

"I hope the baby gets your athleticism, too," I tell him.

"We're both from pretty athletic families, so the baby will likely be pretty athletic. But maybe we'll get a theatre geek instead."

"I hope the baby gets your hair. For sure. Maybe not all your body hair, especially if it's a girl. But your head hair. You're not gonna bald, and you have thick, soft, hair," I say.

"Well I hope the baby gets your mouth and smile," he says.

"I hope it gets your eyelashes," I respond. Along with nicer hair altogether, Alex has much darker, longer, thicker eyelashes than I do. Like my mom, all my hair is super wimpy. And I didn't even get her good nails.

"I hope the baby gets both of our senses of humor," he says.

"I hope the baby gets neither of our short limbs. It deserves to be a bit less boxy and more leggy."

"I hope the baby gets one of our brothers' noses."

Wait, what?

"I didn't know you thought my nose was that bad," I whine. "I mean, yours is effed up because you've been hit in the face too many times. But it used to be normal, when you were a kid."

"Well it's not bad," he says, trying to backtrack, tell me that my nose is big but it's fine.

"It's just not the nose you want for your baby?!?" I ask.

Thanks, babe, thanks. Now I have something else to think about, worry about, and criticize when I look in the mirror in the morning before work.

"I just hope the baby is healthy," he finishes.

I can't argue with that.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Planning Ahead

So I guess this being pregnant thing requires more thought than I imagined. Take camping, for example. It didn't occur to me until the polish dog was browning on the skewer that I'm not supposed to eat nitrates. I'm not sure why, or how I even know this, but I remember Rachel saying something anti-deli-meat when she was pregnant. And Alex, my ever-loving-carnivorous-husband, bought hot dogs for dinner and bacon for breakfast.

I definitely don't want to be one of those women who obsess over every little things I expose myself, and my baby, to. But I also definitely don't want to be one of those women whose baby has a birth defect because she ate a hot dog while camping.

And then there's the bug spray. And the sun screen. And the campfire smoke. And the water from unmarked spigots. And the bacon. What's a bfast in the woods without a little pork cooked over the fire? Is it even worth it?

Sad face, holding the hot dogs I wasn't allowed to enjoy.


Is it too much to ask that my husband come home before 4 a.m. on a random Thursday night? I mean, I generally consider myself a pretty lenient wife, in that I "let" my husband do pretty much whatever he wants. I might be controlling about some things - which tv shows we watch together, whether or not the bills are paid on time, or wanting a diet Coke NOW after a long hike. But I'm not much of a nag in the beer-guzzling-pot-smoking-stayin'-up-late-and-wreaking-havoc-with-your-friends kind of way.

So last night I was a less-than-happy wife when I awoke at 2 a.m. and there was no husband in sight. In Oregon, the bars close at 2 a.m. I called his cell phone. No answer. I texted him, to no response. Last I heard from him was at midnight when he texted me something about karaoke. I waited 10 minutes and called again. Still no answer. Now I'm up, with my bedroom light on, peering out the windows like a crazy person on that A&E show "Obsessed." Images of him lying bloody and lifeless on the pavement next to his bike flood my mind. I phone again. And again. And again. By this time, my anxiety transitions to anger. I text again, telling him I am worried, it's almost 3 in the morning, and he needs to call or come home immediately OR ELSE. Then I call, again, and leave a message in which I go through all the emotions - pissed off, irritated, worried, loving, and close it with a "I'm just really worried about you and hope you are okay" in case the paramedics or doctors check his phone for ICE contact information. I want them to think I am a nice, considerate wife. Not just a pain-in-the-ass nag. Finally, on about the 12th phone call, past 3 a.m., he answers the phone, excited in a way as though he's been on vacation and hasn't heard from me in days.

"Hey, babe, how's it going?" He says excitedly.
"Um, where the fuck are you?" I say, angrily.
"What's up," he slurs. "You okay?"
"Uh, yeah, I am fine. But where the hell are you? It's past 3 in the morning!?!?"
"Oh, yeah, well I'm still out with my friends."

What are you, a teenager? You're still out with your friends?!? I didn't realize it worked that way, like I need to implement a curfew. I thought a common respect was to be in regular touch about your whereabouts, whether or not you're safe or needing a ride, and home within a few minutes of bar-close.

When he finally stumbled in at nearly 4 a.m. I told him to sleep on the couch and to let me get my beauty rest. "You made me come home so that I could sleep on the couch?"

Um, no, I did not "make you come home." You live here. You need to be here at a decent hour. I do not think that is too much to ask.

Eventually he crawls his way back into our bed, alcohol seeping out of his pores and offending each and every one of my smellers, and passes out. Until his phone rings - 3 times - at 5:30 a.m. His brother just returned from a friends' bachelor party and is also crawling his way into a bed, any bed.

Did I mention that Alex must have let the dog out sometime in the middle of the night in his drunken stupor? I woke up to a lovely surprise right at the helm of my bedroom door. Somehow, between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 9:15 a.m,. Gizzy got out of her kennel and shit on my carpet. I had a close call, the hot pile very nearly squidging between my bare toes.

As I write this, my husband has his tail between his legs, his eyes glazed over from the massive headache I imagine has taken root in his brain, and is rubbing my feet and petting my dog. No, I'm not interested in jumping up and giving him a hug and kiss and telling him that if he pays me a little attention, all is forgiven for keeping me up for 2.5 hours in the middle of the night. But, I do like a foot rub. So, for now, I will silently accept this gesture.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Would You Rather

Alex and I love camping. Or at least we think we do.

We have a little dance that we do every time we decide we want to sleep under the stars. We get a late start on the day. Pack the car with enough to support a family of four, except we usually omit some key amenities, like ice for the cooler, pillows, or marshmallows to roast. We usually pull in to the camp site when the sun is setting, and I'm starving. We argue indecisively over the best site - 24 backs up to the hill and has a nice shady tree, but 26 is a bit further from the streetlight and bathroom. We usually settle on a different spot entirely, and then Alex proceeds to set-up camp while I complain about being hungry. Eventually, we cook some hot dogs, and long for baked beans or chips or some sort of unhealthy-but-tasty side dish. And then we stare at the fire for a little bit. This is when Alex starts in on his 2nd or 3rd beer, and he's feeling relaxed and settled in for the evening. I, on the other hand, start to get bored at about this time. But it's usually still too early to go to bed. So in order to entertain myself I invite Alex to play a game of Would You Rather? He hates this game, but usually humors me, at least at first.

"If there was a fire, would you rather save your brother, or your best friend?" I ask.

He tells me I'm morbid and refuses to answer.

"Fine, fine. Would you rather have sex with your brother or your best friend?"

"God, Jo," he whines. "You only want to play this so you can tell people later that I said I want to sleep with my best friend."

"So you would rather have sex with AJ? Is that your final answer?" I clarify.

"Ugh, yes, I would rather have sex with my best friend than my my brother, because then at least I'm not committing incest. Okay, fine, you want to play? Let me give you one. Would you rather lick you dad or your brother's butthole?"

"Easy. My brother. He's younger and doesn't have diverticulitis," I respond, promptly, confident with my answer.

This goes on for a bit, until I grow tired of this game, too. Fortunately, this means it's time to make some s'mores before crawling into my sleeping bag and calling it a night.

Here are a few photos from our recent trip for a few nights in Pacific City on the Oregon Coast.

At our campsite, the one we eventually agreed upon, simply because I was hungry and needed hot dogs to tide me over until s'more time.

Haystack Rock, the southern-most of the two by the same name, in Pacific City.

Skipping rocks at sunset.

With my little trooper, who loved running in the sand and was a good little camper.

Proud Mama

It's always a proud moment when your 2-year-old dog shits in the middle of the parking lot like it's her personal litter box. And then later poops in the sand. In front of families. When you are all out of pooper-scooper bags. And then, when you get home from the beach, she pees on the carpet in your office. So I've tried the positive reinforcement for housetraining, but clearly that is only kind of working. Shit. No pun intended.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Telling the Peeps

With the trials, tribulations, and downright tragedies that several of my girlfriends have endured regarding their fertility and childbearing, it's an understatement to say that I am reticent to be excited and spread the news of our upcoming bundle of joy. I am still worried that the baby might not stick, so to speak, and that makes me nervous about the timing of letting our loved ones know the exciting news. That and, my dad has never exactly been thrilled at the idea of his still-dependent and financially strapped 29-year-old daughter having a child of her very own. But Alex and I agree that we tell our close friends and immediate family - the very same people we would want to support us should we be so unlucky as to experience a miscarriage.

I told my BFF, Stac, by text message. She said (or wrote, rather): "Yayyyyyyyy! I am soooooooo excited for you!"

We told Rachel and Trevor with a photo of me holding a positive pregnancy test. They beamed, gave us each a hug, and were very, truly, the most excited that others could be. Rach has already started a pile of stuff to pass along to me - a pregnancy pillow (am I a bad future-mama if I don't even know what that is?!?), pregnancy and childbirthing books, the first season of The Wire (for my summertime consumption), among other things.

We told Paul and Chris via a "What Grandmas Do Best/What Grandpas Do Best" storybook we mailed to them at Close Quarters. Upon receipt Chris called Alex and said, "Does this mean what I think it means?!?" We thought we were pretty explicit in the card we sent with the book, but I guess she just wanted ultimate clarification before getting super excited. I bet she's already knit the baby a snowsuit. Oh yeah, and Paul said, "Maybe I can get he or she on skis next winter." I think it's a bit premature, Pablo, but we are open to all sorts of adventures.

I sent Katie and Erika the very same photo magnets that we gave the Menne's. I already received a voicemail from Erika, cursing a streak like a sailor. Something to the effect of," OHMYGODJO! I'MSOFREAKINGEXCITED! ICAN'TBELIEVEYOU'REGOINGTOHAVEABABY!" Haven't heard form Katie yet, which means either she doesn't check her mail regularly, or she can't tell what the dime-sized photo is of.

We told Brian and Jen in person, since they're in town for a friends wedding. No big reaction on the part of either of them. Polite excitedness.

Last night we told my dad. We had dinner plans with him, so when he came over we gave him a book. It's the kind of book where he is supposed to answer questions about his childhood and growing up. He is supposed to fill it out and then give it to the grandchild for memory-keeping. Al was perfectly socially appropriate. He gave us a hug, told me mom would have been so excited, and said congratulations.

And then late last night we told my brother over Skype. Thank god we opted for the video-chat rather than telephone conversation because his reaction, and facial expressions, were downright priceless. First of all, the poor guy has been working a long series of 16+ hour days. He is in the peak of the summer season with the restaurant and all his functions. He's exhausted, hasn't seen his girlfriend in days, and said he's so tired and stressed he doesn't even have time to get drunk or smoke pot. That's hard working. Anyway, our announcement of, "Congrats, Uncle Brian!" fell upon silence at first. It was as though the computer froze. And then he said, "Like an uncle to you guys?" We clarified that yes indeed, we are preggo. Then he put his hand up to his eyes, tucked his chin and started crying a bit. Sweet guy, always so emotional. He, too, had to clarify that these were tears of joy - or surprise, rather - and not of disappointment. We proceeded to have a 30-minute chat in which he repeatedly told us he couldn't believe the news. I think we put him over the edge a bit, maybe to the world of Xanax ingestion. If he even has the energy to find the pills.

I still need to email the WR ladies to fill them in. Alex needs to call AJ. And we both should phone our grandmothers. Hopefully, after all this gossipy business, the baby actually pulls through and rears its newborn head next April. If not, we've got some 'splaining to do.


It's hard work growing a baby. This little thing - only the size of a poppy seed, or maybe a sesame seed now - seems to be zapping all 4 hours of my daily productive energy. On the bright side, Alex seems rejuvenated and 110 percent devoted to be the best baby-daddy he can be. This means twice daily foot rubs, popsicle runs, and even turning on the tv for me. Life is good.

Today marks Week 5. Apparently I am busy growing the baby's brain. Pretty cool. But that means I canNOT forget to take the folic acid that is supposed to prevent neural tube defects. No spina bifida for us. I am supposed to be experiencing some of the pregnancy symptoms such as breast tenderness, frequent urination, and fatigue. Did I mention I am feeling fatigued?!? No really, I am not sure if it's a factor of: A) being in Month 3 of summer vacation, B) not having ANYthing that I have to do, C) placebo effect from a positive pregnancy test, of D) actually being pregnant. I'm guessing the answer is (E), all of the above.

The other day, Alex was off drinking beer in the sun with his buddies and playing disc golf. I ask you, is this the picture of a future daddy?! j/k. But I, meanwhile, had been laying on the couch since taking the dog, willing myself to do something productive like put my cereal bowl in the dishwasher. I managed to drag myself upstairs, probably in effort to change from my pj's to real-life-outside-clothes, but somehow found myself back lying in bed. By that point I was fantasizing about what it would be like to get myself up and actually leave the apartment. I dreamed about what it might be like to trade my sweats pants for bike shorts. Instead, I fell asleep for about 25 minutes. And this is only Week 5?!? I think I'm in for it ...

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