Life Lately

Sorry this post will not have any photos. My phone is currently being repaired for a cracked screen, which was never supposed to be able to crack in the first place, but that is a while different story. Anyway I am using an old one of Husbands, which is a pathetic excuse for a technological device of any kind. I can’t download any apps on the phone if I want it to work, and taking photos is a very hit or miss venture. I am not even going to attempt to get the few photos I have taken off of the phone. I am not suicidal.

I also have no plan for this post, which I know is a blogging no-no, but I don’t really care. The Life Lately title is just vague enough I can write about anything and everything I want, and since I have caffeine thrumming through my system, I think I will just flit from topic to topic.

Non-sequitur style.

I have been having an AMAZING week. I cleaned our whole house, top to bottom, nook and cranny on Monday, AND I have managed to keep it clean since (that’s five days folks). We have had people over for dinner. I had a gaggle of women and their babies in my living room for a couple of hours, and after all of that our house is still clean.

I must be dreaming.

I have never felt more accomplished in my life. Not when I graduated from college, not when I biked across the country (4,000 miles!), not when I got my yoga teacher training certification. Keeping a clean house, while taking care of an infant is a whole new level of accomplishment. I am reveling in it, rolling around like a hog in mud because I know that tomorrow everything could explode.

But I also did other things this week I am proud of: I taught yoga for an hour and it was the best class I have taught yet. Granted the only person in the class was my mother, but I created an hour long class on the fly and it had flow. FLOW. I haven’t taught with anything resembling flow before, up till now I have sort of been stuttering everyone through the poses as I try to think of flow.

I have put away all of the laundry. Which I think means I get some award…as keeping up with laundry is at least a part-time gig around here. I haven’t had to tell Husband to go did through the clean clothes for some requisit article, as it has all been folded on time. Miracles of Miracles. If I don’t stay on top of laundry it will take my a full two or three days to catch up. Calla is so tiny and yet SO messy, even though she isn’t eating solids yet, she doesn’t spit up that much, and we haven’t had a poop explosion in a week or two.

I just jinxed myself didn’t I?

The next thing to be proud of is Calla put herself to sleep last night. We were having some squirming struggles as we were winding down for bed, and after about 20 minutes of uncomfortable nursing (it is hard to nurse when she is fidgety), I decided to put her in her crib for sanity’s sake. I was beginning to feel rather uncharitable (to put it kindly) towards her, as it was already midnight and I wanted sleep, she wanted sleep, but she didn’t want to lie still. But I laid her town in her crib, for the first time ever, and SHE FELL ASLEEP.My three month old put herself to sleep. So I guess I can’t really be proud, as it really had nothing to do with me, but I am in awe. I am not sure I will be able to replicate this, but even one night of it was pretty magical. I then wasted about an hour of sleep as I couldn’t stop wondering if she was going to wake up. I had such a hard time believing she had put herself to sleep, that I got out of bed at one point to make sure she was indeed asleep and hadn’t passed away instead.

Since this post seems to have turned into one big bragfest, I have to say things with Husband are pretty sweet as well. We just had our second wedding anniversary. We took Calla camping (or rather yurting) for the first time to celebrate, and it was wonderful. We only went for one night, which was no where near enough time, but it was good to get out to the beach for even that short amount of time. Calla was oblivious to anything but sleeping, eating, and playing, but someday she will come to appreciate the beach and camping. I have been meaning to write a “second anniversary post” for a while, so maybe I will save all my gushy, mushy feelings for that one. Suffice it to say it is amazing to watch Husband with Calla. He is so in tune with her–I could watch them play together forever.

Anyway I should wrap this up. If you were worried with all this gloating I have been doing, don’t worry. I have it coming to me. Next week we will be flying (with Calla) to Chicago, then driving four hours to rural Indiana for a wedding, then driving the four hours back to Chicago to get on a plane to New York, then driving four hours to my Grandmother’s house, visiting with all of my mother’s family before driving four hours back to the airport to catch a plane home.

So no need to be worried, I will be putting in my dues…

Wish me luck!


Calla’s Birth Story


Calla’s First Smile.


Calla Lily Augusta McGillagreen was born March 22nd, 2015: 7lbs 4oz, 19inches long, and pure heaven. She is now almost three months old (holy s***) and I figure it is high time I write down her birth story before my sieve of a brain loses all those small details I want to remember. I will warn you now that I am going to hold nothing back. If you are uncomfortable with bodily fluids or swear words, or if you are my brother and do not want to know some very intimate things about your sister, then maybe skip this post. Shame nor modesty do not exist in my vocabulary anymore. For the rest of you: read on!

My due date was March 21st, which was a Sunday. That previous Tuesday we had what would be our last prenatal appointment, little did we know. Husband and I were both recovering from colds and my midwife, true to her Granola self, suggested that we take a drive to the coast as the negative ions in the air from the crashing waves would do us good. She also mentioned that one last hurrah before the baby comes would be nice for us. So I booked a hotel in Forest Grove for the weekend, and Saturday morning we headed for the coast.

As I was very (VERY) pregnant we did more driving than anything else. First we went to Canon Beach, stopping at my favorite bagel shop before wandering around on the beach–wandering for Husband, waddling for me. Husband had brought his camera to get a couple of belly pics, as we still had yet to document how absolutely huge I had gotten.


Look at that huge belly!


Holy Belly! Then the weather turned a little on us, so we went and had some hot chocolate then decided to head down to Tillamook. We visited the cheese factory, then hit the beach again walking and talking mostly about baby. Husband took a some more pictures, some beautiful and some just rotund in nature. I had a couple of what I took for Braxten Hicks–or Boson Higgs contractions as Husband liked to call them. They were kind of cool to feel as I had not had any my whole pregnancy–for the first time I could feel my whole uterus (this detail is important for later) contract from top to bottom. I think I had three total all day.

In the evening we drove halfway back home to Forest Grove to the McMenamins Grand Lodge. It was insanity there and nothing seemed to go exactly as planned, but I was strangely okay with everything. The first hiccup was they had misplaced out reservation, but were still able to figure out a room for us. We took a short nap and then had a lovely steak dinner. For the first time EVER, I sent my food back as my steak was more on the charcoal side, while I like it more on the red side. But the waitress was very sweet and not only replaced my steak, but gave us a double serving of dessert on the house.

After dinner we meandered over to the soaking pool, which felt amazing despite the couple of nosy and rude glances from a couple of women who would rather see a pregnant women’s life sucked of all joy. They probably were not that bad, but it is amazing how judgey people get when you are pregnant. After the pool we went to the theater that was just down the hall from our room and saw the second Divergent film. It was horrible and fun all at the same time, and I was safely tucked into bed at 12:30 pm. I was asleep in seconds.

Husband was not.

Little did I know he had a bought of insomnia so he took his phone to the lobby and that is where he was when I called him at 2:30 in the morning in labor.

I woke up with an intense pain in my lower abdomen, something along the lines of a period cramp on steroids–the hulk of period cramps. The first one passed as I laid in the dark. I thought about calling Husband, as I had woken up alone, but then I tempered myself thinking that if I had another one I would call him and see where the hell he was. Four minutes later another “cramp” hit and after it passed I picked up my phone and called Husband.

I felt a little silly and passive aggressive for calling him.  I didn’t think I was in labor as these cramps were so different from what I had felt earlier in the day. I didn’t feel any “contracting”, rather just some intense pain in my nether regions. In my mind I wasn’t in labor. My greatest fear before labor, was I would exaggerate what was happening in my mind and jump the gun. I didn’t want to get everyone all geared up to go–the midwife, the birth center, the in-laws to drive from Seattle, my parents to only find out I was in early labor and we had days to go. I did NOT want that to happen.

So I was not in labor. As husband had just been down the hall, it took him seconds to reach out room. I started timing these things that WERE NOT CONTRACTIONS on my phone. Husband felt that I should call Marilyn our midwife right away. I dithered as I was not having contractions, promising to call if I had a couple more. I had a couple more, all the while timing these things that were not contractions, so I called Marilyn at three in the morning. I didn’t tell her that we were in a hotel. I told her that I was having some “rhythmic cramping” that was pretty painful, and she said I should try and rest and keep her posted as things progress.

At 4, after having more “cramps” husband talked me into driving home as neither of us wanted to be at a hotel if things started getting interesting. I still would not let myself believe that I was in labor, even though as I counted on my phone the “cramps” were four minutes apart, lasting for 40 seconds, and I couldn’t talk through them. We packed up the car and drove. I felt pretty hungry at this point and knew that if I was going to go into labor I would need fuel.

Though I wasn’t going into labor, so I was just being sensible. The only thing we found open was the McDonald’s on the way out of Forest Grove, so I got an oatmeal and a milk–trying to find something that sounded appetizing. Between “cramps” I remember how still everything was–how dark and empty the streets were as I gripped Husband’s hand and he drove for home. It only took us 30 minutes to make it to our front door and we headed straight for bed. We both wanted more sleep if labor was going to kick in. But I was having cramps every three to four minutes and it was hard to get any rest in between, so I took a bath and Husband tried to sleep as it was now 4:30 and he hadn’t slept at all.

At 5 I decided to call my mom. IF I was actually going into labor it would be important for Husband to have some sleep, but I wanted someone awake with me and I knew my mom would be up getting ready for work. She made it to our house by six. She found my leaning over a medicine ball, trying to watch Mulan. I apologized for having her take off of work, as I was “just having some cramping.” At this point Husband took my phone and looked at the contraction data, forcing me this time to call Marilyn again. We were all on speaker phone as Husband described what he called my contractions. At this point I broke in and told her that I didn’t think I was in labor, I was just having some cramps. But right then a “cramp” came along and I couldn’t talk. Marilyn listened for the minute it took for the cramp to pass and then told us, “I will see you in 30 minutes at the birth center.”

I didn’t want to let myself believe that I was going into labor. Like I said I was afraid of jumping the gun. On top of that I was also afraid of my labor stalling. I had heard enough horror stories, and my way of keeping that reality at bay was to hold of on believing I was actually in labor.

But having Marilyn tell me to get to the birth center, snapped me into my reality. We called Husbands parents who packed their bags and headed for Portland. Husband, Mom, and I walked into the birth center at 7. By that point the contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting for a minute. They were strong and I was quickly entering into my own world, where the only thing that existed were the contractions and myself.

During our birthing class, a recent new mom described labor as weight training: your trainer stacks more weight than you have ever lifted onto the bar and asks you to lift it over your head. You do it, but barely and it takes everything you have to do it. You put the bar down with pride and relief, happy that you are done and that you DID it. Then the trainer asks you to do it again, and again, and again. That’s contractions. It felt like it took everything I had to get through one. In the middle of one I wouldn’t be sure I would make it through it, but then you would come out the other side and the relief would be so beautiful.

But then there would be another.

And another.

From the time we arrived at the birth center, to the time Calla was born is all a blur. I remember they checked my dilation when I first arrived and I was at five centimeters, but after that they didn’t check again unless I asked. Besides Marilyn or Kim (her assistant) checking the baby’s heart beat every 30 minutes, they left me to labor as I saw fit. We were the only ones at the birth center, as it was a Sunday. I was told I could go wherever I wanted: I could walk up and down the stairs or take a walk outside, but I was happy to stay in our room. It felt like a cocoon. It felt save, peaceful and as the contractions got more intense the more I turned inward and forgot about everything outside out room.

The room was perfect for me. It was appointed with a king size bed, that had fresh white sheets and towels. The bath tub was bigger than I had ever seen with pads for my hands and knees and candles around the edge. I flitted between the bed, the bath, the floor, the toilet, and a medicine ball. As soon as a towel got even the slightest bit wet it was whisked away and replaced with a fresh, warm one. I remember puking a lot and half the time I puked I would pee at the same time, but Kim and Marilyn worked to keep everything clean and pleasant.

I spent my whole labor naked. I couldn’t stand the idea of anything constricting like clothing. When I got cold from sweating I would put on my bathrobe, but as soon as a contraction hit I would rip it off. I know time passed but I don’t remember it. I would sometimes ask what time it was and I would always be shocked that half an hour or an hour had passed, as I felt locked in this timeless existence working through each contraction.

At no point did I think of the baby. I couldn’t think of anything but the pain and making it through another contraction. My whole existence contracted to this one thing. I know Husband and mom where there and that they took turns feeding me and having me sip smoothie and coconut water, then holding the bowl while I threw it all up again.

And when I didn’t think it was possible the pain got worse. I don’t know how long it had been since they had first checked my dilation, but I with each contraction my faith that I could handle this was chipped away. I remember saying over and over again that I can’t do this.

I guess I only really said it out loud once, as Husband told me later, but I remember repeating it like a mantra. I decided that they should check me again and if I was only a centimeter or two past five I wanted to transfer to a hospital and I wanted an epidural. This was all an internal thought process. No one knew I was thinking of transfer, when they had my lie on the bed to check, but being on the bed was the worst, and I wouldn’t lie still long enough for Kim to touch me, let alone check my dilation. With the next contraction all thoughts of transfer went out the window.

I think it was about this time that I lost my mucus plug. To me this was the first tangible, touchable, sign that things were progressing. Marilyn kept telling me how well I was doing. Then my water broke and she said, “your are getting close,” and I hung onto those words like a lifeline.

Then I was in the tub again, on my hands and knees. Husband was in the tub for a little bit for me, but unlike the photos of couples I had seen laboring in the tub together where the woman is resting back against her partner, I could not stand to be still in a contraction. I kept flipping around in the water like an otter. It helped to move and the only position I could stand to be in for very long was on my hands and knees.

I remember them keeping the water clean with a little fishnet or sometimes a towel to wipe the bottom of the tub, which was a nice touch. I remember the candles flickering, and in between contractions hanging over the edge of the tub practically passing out until another one came. Then I remember screaming instead of moaning, and Marilyn asking me to tell her when I felt like pushing.

I remember wandering how I will know what that feels like, and what felt like a second later I remember screaming that I am pushing. I was just a bystander at this point as my body was in complete control. I am told I pushed for an hour, for the most part on my hands and knees. I remember Kim telling me to go deeper with each contraction. I remember thinking that she can fucking come over here and go deeper, because I couldn’t give any more.

But then Marilyn told me to change the pitch of my scream. And as I lowered my pitch I felt my body push more effectively. That hour didn’t feel like an hour. It felt timeless–like forever to use a cliche. The first time I had reached down to feel my progress I hadn’t felt anything, but then the next time I could feel her head. I remember crying out saying, “she had hair.” Feeling my progress for myself was the most helpful thing in the world. Feeling her head and feeling her hair made it real for the first time. For the first time, I was able to think about the fact that I was going to have a baby. At this point it was inevitable.

Then her head was out. No one touched me, no one reached down except to listen to her heart beat. It was all me. I didn’t feel the “ring of fire,” when she crowned. There was too much pain to differentiate anything. But having her head out was the first sense of relief I had felt since the contractions had started almost 12 hours earlier. I couldn’t imagine having to push out her shoulders after her head, but then before I knew it I felt her sliding out and I caught her.

Then everything happened at once. Husband was in the water with me, holding me while I was holding her. I was laughing and crying as I pulled her to my chest. I turned to Husband and asked it we could name her Calla Lily. I remember the thick, white vernex covering her butt, but not much else. Marilyn and Kim (and my mom) were there the whole time, but they let us just be as a family for the first time. Calla didn’t really cry and she latched right away. We just stayed in the water for a little while, holding her and dipping blankets in the warm water to keep the parts of her that were out of the water warm.

Husband had been reticent about getting in the tub when we had talked about it before, but as soon as she was born I am pretty sure a stampede of wild boars wouldn’t have kept him out of the water, no matter what bloody color it was.


Husband with Calla while I showered.

I was surprised to fine that the contractions after she was born still hurt. Kim kept telling me that if I wanted it to end then I should work with the contractions to get the placenta out, but I was way to tired right after Calla was born. So we just sat there for a little bit and I tried to ignore my body for a while. When the umbilical cord became flaccid, Husband got out of the water and took a shower. My mom cut the umbilical cord and got to hold Calla for the first time, while I finally mustered myself to get that damn placenta out. I got back on my hands and knees and with Marilyn’s prompting felt the umbilical cord and held onto the end of it with each contraction. Slowly I could feel it descending, till I could finally feel where the cord attached to the placenta.

Then with one last contraction I pulled the placenta out and with it came a blood clot the size of Husband’s two fists put together. At that point I told Marilyn that I could feel that had a tear . Husband and Mom went off with the baby (only to the other side of the room, but I was still pretty wrapped up in myself) and I got out to take a shower. I remember just standing in the hot water feeling so thankful that I could stand, thankful that Calla was born, and so thankful that the contractions were over.


Our First Family Photo.


Then I was bundled into bed with my baby and Husband. My dad and his parents, who had all been waiting at our house were called. I held Calla as a distraction while Marilyn and Kim worked on suturing up my tear. Husband started out holding my hand but then he passed out before Marilyn was even done administering the numbing stuff. He did wake up enough to take Calla

We spent the next two nights at the birth center, which was amazing. They had a postpartum nurse who stayed with us, bringing me some Tylenol whenever I wanted. They made us breakfast in the mornings–whatever we wanted, and then had our lunches and dinners brought from any restaurant we could think of in the area. All of which was included in the price–a whooping $2500, which also included all of my prenatal care and six weeks postpartum care. The morning after, with the family gathered to wonder at the baby I was led off to another room for a massage, which was the first time in 7+ months I got to lie on my stomach = pure bliss.


Our Breakfast – everything was so good I had the same thing each morning.

Then before we knew it we were on our way home, and now it has been three months. Time is moving so fast, and Calla is a new and different baby almost everyday. I have never witnessed so much continuous change before. She mastered smiling a couple of weeks ago, and she has just started laughing. She has only really laughed once or twice at this point and each time she does it is magical. I know before long she will be giggling up a storm, just as before long she will be sitting on her own, and then crawling, but right now each laugh is a surprise. It is a wonderful feeling waiting for her to laugh–the sweetest anticipation. Here is one last photo for you–I think it was taken about a month or so ago. It is hard to remember:


Calla sporting her handmade Grape hat and the outfit she came home in–by far my favorite outfit.


First Day of Freedom!

I am currently holed up in a local Cafe, drinking tea and doing nothing that has to do with chores, house keeping, or baby. Calla is almost three months old, and this is my first real break (she is at home with my mom). I am having a hard time thinking of the right words to describe how magical this time feels to me. So let me say that my email can wait, I refuse to do any “tasks” during this time–like look for a family doctor or pay that parking ticket I got last week. This time is for me.

So what’s on the docket? During the first cup of tea I finished reading a book for the Portland Book Review. I wrote the review during the second cup. My third cup is writing this and we will see what else I get done when the caffeine shakes set in and I go cross-eyed. This is the first time I have written in 11 weeks–probably longer as I didn’t do much writing towards the end of pregnancy either.

But things are finally falling into a pattern–not really with Calla as she is constantly changing from day-to-day–but rather the larger scheme of things. My mother has agreed to take Calla for a couple of hours once a week, which gives me this time to work on the book I am ghost writing, to read for the Portland Book Review, and to return to the blog, which has been seriously neglected.

Not that things are returning to what they were before baby. Time is so much more precious now, especially time that doesn’t involve doing laundry or holding a baby. I have gotten a lot better at managing my time, as Calla demands a certain amount of down time–or time where I get nothing done except taking care of her. so in those moments I can indulge in “laziness”, time where I hold her and play with her, or sneak in an episode of my latest TV crush, or just marvel at this thing that I pushed out of my body. But the beautiful thing is that when Calla is with Husband or some other sacrificial family member, doing things is not a hard ship. I am not feeling the evil specter of procrastination hovering over my shoulder. Facebook doesn’t even cross my mind, as there is always time to waste on my phone while Calla is nursing.

But this time, right now, is sacred. I am constantly asking myself what needs to get done in any given moment. Prioritizing has never been more important, and for sanity’s sake the minutia of life can wait while I have a couple of hours to do exactly what I want to do–and nothing else. I have even gotten better at understanding what I want, as I have such little time to do it. I want to write, I want to blog, I want to do yoga, I want to keep reviewing books, and I want to return to Search and Rescue. Anything outside of that list is just going to have to wait–or never get done. AND I am absolutely at peace with that.

And I have to say, having made that list, I feel pretty productive. I have reviewed a couple of books since Calla was born. I have put aside a couple dedicated hours for writing a week, I started teaching yoga once a week, and I even started attending Search and Rescue meetings again. If I get nothing else done during the week, I can still feel pretty good about the way things stand.

So keep your eyes peeled next week for Calla’s birth story. I am finally in that sweet spot where I can write it objectively, but it wasn’t so long ago that I have forgotten details.

Oregon, Portland, Writing

Oh My Portlandia

Husband and I recently completed a six week birthing class at our birth center here in Portland, and more than anything it made me realize that we are just living in an extended, never ending episode of Portlandia. Bumper stickers everywhere implore us to Keep Portland Weird. I don’t think we really need to worry about Portland losing any of its weirdness. Just this past week, as we were driving down our main street, in our little slice of weird Portland, we passed a woman who was waiting for the bus with a turtle in a cat carrier and a trio of wandering musicians: one wore tight pink pants and beat on a little kids drum, the second carried a sign around their neck asking for money to support musicians, and the third beat on a cowbell.  Portland.

Then a couple of weeks ago my mom and I went to check out a reflexology massage place in the Alphabet district. We were given foot massages by a husband and wife team—a duo straight from a Portlandia sketch. The husband held different bottles of essential oils against my feet to see which one my body resonated with. That time it was frankincense, the time after that it was lemon, and last week it was a blend that had spruce in it—I believe it was called Balance. Anyway turns out the couple also writes a blog about all of the feet that come through their door.

Not to mention that every single clip I have watched of Portlandia, I am able to find something identifiable: put a bird on it, the male feminists, the raw milk hippies, the tiny home dwellers. But our birthing class has been  over the top—every week. We learned a lot and met some very neat couples, as well as getting to know one of our midwives a lot better. A. LOT. BETTER.

We knew things were going the way of Portlandia when we took our seats among the seven other couples in the room. It was a little surprising to look around and see that EVERYONE in the room was white with brown hair. I mean everyone was brunette and there was a lot of flannel and moccasins. There was even a couple who live in a school bus—a love bus I believe is what they call it. But they were pretty tame compared to the final couple who walked in.

They were a little late, a little younger than myself, and both wearing wolf tails—wolf tails attached to their derrieres. They had taken the bus to get to the center, and when they took their seats on the other side of the circle from us, they both gingerly moved their tails in order to sit down.

That was only the beginning. I am pretty sure Mr. Wolf Tail was high whenever he was in class, or he was just really spacy and VERY overly communicative. Everyone listened intently as the midwife talked us through the anatomy of birth, but none of us felt the need to verbally signal that we were tracking what she was saying–except Mr. Wolf Tail. He could not help but nod in agreement with really any point the midwife said, but he carried it a step further by continuously saying things like: interesting, I agree, yes (not as a response to a question), okay, etc.

But the Wolf Tails were not the only Portlandia experience. The second birth video they had us watch was something else. It was of a Mexican midwife during the birth of her third child. The video opened with her talking about her husband, a Japanese sculptor, who was very in tune with the birth process due to the nature of his art. He would slowly, patiently carve his sculptures, giving birth to them as it where.

At one point the video, which goes from her early labor all the way through to her water birth, cuts away from her and her husband to a pair of mating dragonflies. Husband and I have talked it over and we aren’t really sure what that scene signifies. Were the couple having sex to help labor along and this was their classy way of showing it? Or was it just a representation of their love?

I really don’t know.

But it gets more interesting. The next scene showed pregnant momma walking forwards with her husband holding her hands and walking backwards. Her narration explains that she realized that when she was walking towards her husband it felt like her belly was swollen with their love, but when she ended up walking away from him it was physically painful, so his solution was to walk with her.

Watching the video with seven other pregnant couples was an interesting and slightly uncomfortable experience. I am pretty sure we all avoided eye contact. Especially when we learned that it was the mother’s father who did all the filming. Imagine your father—or for you men imagine your father-in-law—filming the birth of your child and all the beautiful, naked glory that it entails. I mean her birth ends in the bath tub with her naked with her naked husband, and then after the baby is born, the other two naked children climbed in. Now I have nothing against nudity, especially during childbirth, but I cannot imagine sharing that much with my father.

All of these very Portlandia experiences have me convinced that I would love to be a writer for the show, but I am pretty sure that is just the lazy part of myself speaking. EVERYONE who lives in Portland could contribute to the content of that show. It wouldn’t really take much talent or effort as just living here is enough to supply anyone with enough material for ten tv shows.


February Reads

Well it took one whole month for my new years resolution to completely derail–one whole month and four seasons of Game of Thrones. Husband and I had never seen it before and we had just finished watching Battlestar Gallactica when our friends brought us seasons one and two of Game of Thrones. They had been telling us for a while that we needed to watch it and we finally listened. One episode and we were completely hooked. One episode and we spent the next three weeks powering through the four seasons. Husband and I had both become drooling, slobbering messes, watching at least two episodes a night. Now that there is no more to see, we frankly do not know what to do with ourselves.

Our evenings seem empty without Game of Thrones. I have even gotten around to picking up those things I think are called books and pawing through them as a cave man might. Needless to say I came no where close to reaching my February reading goal, but that was alright. I knew my new years resolution was a pipe dream anyway. The point is that I am back on the horse and have moved three bookmarks further into three different books. Progress–once again.

Here is the sadly short list of books I read in February:

This is the second book I have read by Anita Shreve and to be honest I just need to take her off of reading list. Everything about this book, and The Pilot’s Wife, was just alright: the writing was alright, the plot was alright, but nothing grabbed me. I found nothing compelling and I didn’t get anything out of reading her books. It wasn’t a page turner to make up for its lack of depth. It was lackluster at best. You all know that I have strong ideas when it comes to what books I should be reading. You only get to read so many books in this life. The number is finite, so why waste your time on anything other than amazing? This was not it.

If you have seen the movie, you have read the book. For the most part. I can’t say that it swept me off my feet, but I feel like it was an important read. Charles Webb does an amazing job of instilling a crushing sense of apathy in his characters. No one seems to really care about anything, as long as no one is embarrassed. As long as the façade looks flawless, who really cares about what is underneath.

I loved Moby Dick, but I found Billy Budd harder to track, harder to get into. It was still beautifully written, but I am afraid some of its deeper significance was lost on me. I don’t thing I really gave the book the attention it needs in order to really get it. Melville’s writing is complex, which anyone who has tried to ply their way through any of his books can attest to. I honestly believe his books are complex in a good way, but in this modern age where we expect literature (dare I call it that?) to be spoon fed to us it can sometimes feel like a chore to sit down and read something that has the meat still on the bone, so to speak.

I will always have a soft spot for Maeve Binchy after The Glass Lake and Circle of Friends. While the Scarlet Feather is no Circle of Friends, I still had a hard time putting it down. This book is just about ordinary people, going about their ordinary lives, and Binchy writes with such simplicity and warmth her books are always a pleasure to read. If you want something light and enjoyable, something that doesn’t make your soul feel dirty, or like you have wasted your time I cannot recommend her enough.

I love getting lost in Mccaffrey’s world of dragons. This one was a lot of fun because there is a lot of exploring of a hot, tropical island and since it is winter here, it was nice to think about swimming in pristine, warm waters and eating perfectly sweet, ripe fruit. These books are not great feats of literature, but they are very well written, fun, and worth the time. I should say worth your time if you like Sci-fi/Fantasy. I know some people do not go in for that sort of thing. I don’t really understand why you wouldn’t, but then again I have good taste when it comes to books ;-)

Much of what I wrote about the last book can be applied here, which is really no surprise considering they are in the same series. I didn’t realize that I was reading this one so far out-of-order. This is the 14th book in the series, while the White Dragon is only third. I can say that it stands alone well enough that if you haven’t read 1-13 you won’t be lost. At least I don’t think you will. This book was not as satisfying as books 1-3, which are the only other ones I have read in the Pern series. This moves further away from Sci-Fi.Fantasy in my opinion and would be better described as a political drama. While it was interesting and entertaining, it lacked a page turning quality that I feel McCaffrey’s books generally have.

That’s all folks! Hard to believe isn’t it. I have read something like 22 books since the start of the year and only six of them were in February. I don’t have a calculator on me, but what else did I get done in January? I do not know. Hopefully March will be a little better, but I will be having a baby here in March and I hear that tends to derail the best laid plans. First Game of Thrones and now a Baby.

Life just keeps getting in the way of my literary addiction.


Pregnancy Brain

I have no shame, and that is why I am about to share a couple rather embarrassing vignettes with you. In my 9th month of pregnancy, I can state that I have become an expert in the embarrassing, often inconvenient reality that is Pregnancy Brain. I capitalize those words because it is a real thing–a really scary thing. Did you know that the brain of a pregnant woman shrinks by a third. We don’t lose brain cells, everything just becomes more compact. The effect being that we lose memory function. I cannot remember where I learned this tidbit of information, but I can tell you that it was a credible source.

But I do not remember the source either.

Pregnancy Brain is a joke, a stereotype. And while I heard the joke for years, I didn’t really got it until I was living with it. Two years ago when Husband and I were out cake tasting in preparation for our wedding we ran across a pregnant baker. She was very nice, her cupcakes were amazing, and we ended up ordering our wedding cakes from her. Fast forward a month or two to when I had decided that our original order was not big enough, I went back to the order to add another couple dozen cupcakes to our bill.

Unfortunately the woman working the counter was not our pregnant baker, as she was now on maternity leave. This woman searched long and hard for our original order, but could not find it anywhere in their book. I was a little frustrated, but the woman promised me there was enough time before the wedding, that she would find the original and add what I wanted to it. It took her a couple of days of turning her books inside out, looking for our order, but she did eventually call me to let me know she had found it. It had just been erroneously filed, a phenomenon she contributed to our pregnant baker’s pregnancy brain.

So you see, even before I was pregnant I knew that Pregnancy Brain was real–or I at least knew that people would attribute any sign of forgetfulness or negligence to Pregnancy Brain. But like everything else, knowing and experiencing are different things. Like I promised, here are all the embarrassing things my poor, shrunken brain has subjected me to.

1. The Airport Incident

Husband had been out-of-town for about a week for work. He is a consultant for a tech company, and his job is to make his clients happy. He has about 5 enterprise level clients at anyone time, and he spends roughly one day a week on each client making sure they are getting what they need from him and his company. This is the least technical, most simplistic, dumbed-down version of what he does. Anyway he had been out-of-town for about a week in Minneapolis, or Milwaukee, I can’t remember which (I couldn’t even remember at the time where he had gone, though he did tell me) and I went to the airport to collect him. Besides not remembering where he would be flying in from, there were a lot of things I forgot before heading to the airport. I forgot to change my shoes, so I was wearing my house slippers. Thankfully they were the ones with the rubber soles. That was just luck. I forgot that he had flown out to wherever he had been with some executives from one of his larger clients. I forgot that when you fly out with people, you generally all fly back together. I forgot to change before I went to the airport, but while I was driving their I decided that it didn’t really matter that I was in sweatpants, slippers, a big puffy brown coat, which makes me look like a ridiculous, and unfortunately colored marshmallow, and that I hadn’t combed my hair all day. It didn’t matter because I was just meeting my husband, and while the Portland airport is small, it is still an international airport, and what does it matter if I walk around looking like a zombie mess?

And boy did I look like a mess, but I was excited to see Husband after a week, so I parked the car and headed inside to meet him at the security checkpoint. Now the airport was REALLY busy that night, so when Husband walked through security there was no room for a great and smooch, instead I just fell in step beside him, making our way to baggage claim. I said high of course, but then because I must have felt some semblance of shame over my appearance I started joking about how I looked. I believe I said something to the effect of how fetching I looked, how I knew he wanted to jump my bones right then and there. To his shame, he did not stop me. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I know I talked about having sex in public because I was so ravishingly beautiful in my sweats, and slippers, and uncombed hair. He let me get ALL of that before turning to me and saying, “Honey I would like you to meet…” and introducing me to three top execs from one of his largest clients.

It was a proud moment for me. So proud in fact that I turned beet red while I shook all of their hands and tried not to notice that they were all barely containing their laughter. I then got to stand there with all of them as we waited for luggage. I will be waiting at the curb, in the car next time. Which turns out is what Husband would prefer. He said something about the ease of collecting his own bags and just jumping in the car, but I am suspicious that it is actually the fear of the real possibility that I will embarrass him.

2. The Toilet Paper Incident

I can’t believe I am even writing this, but like I said I have no shame apparently. I was over at my mother’s house, working or something. It was just me and her, and I was on my computer doing something productive I hope. I don’t actually remember. I had been going pee like every half an hour, just like every other day before and every day since. Anyway, we were both wrapped up in our own little tasks, when I realized that my butt itched. Like maybe I had a wedgy or something.

Warning: This is about to get graphic–not gross graphic. I promise everything was clean, but anyway. If you are my grandmother, maybe don’t read the next paragraph.

ANYWAY, I reached back to investigate this wedgy and instead of adjusting my underwear like I thought I would, I pulled out a wad of toilet paper. IT WAS CLEAN, but I cannot tell you how it got there. I have NO memory of putting toilet paper in my butt crack. It was not really a small wad of toilet paper either, it was a medium wad if we want to classify it. I sat at the dining room table, thankfully no one was eating, just staring at this artifact that I had excavated and wondered. To this day I cannot tell you how it happened. I have no memory whatsoever. It is a mystery, one my mother got a good laugh out of. This has happened one more time since. If I had any shame I would delete that last sentence.

3. The GroupMe App Incident

Husband and I decided that we are not going to post anything on Facebook, or any social media platform, until after baby is born. There will be no, “I am in labor,” announcement. But there are people who would like to know and would be respectful of our wishes, so I thought we would put together a group text for when we actually head over to the birth center. So we put a list together of some 30 names, mostly out-of-town family and friends, who would get a group text when things start happening. I then went through my phone and created a contact group. This took me about an hour as I was having some technical difficulty. Turns out my contacts were saving to three different platforms, which created some problems, anyway I don’t want to relive the details–it was all too frustrating the first time.

But when I was done, I was very proud that I had figured it out, so of course I went to brag to Husband. His response was less than enthusiastic. Turns out that he hates SMS for some stupid tech reason, and since I couldn’t share my contact group with him, he didn’t want to go through the hassle of sending one text through my phone. HIs solution was to use an app called GroupME.

I told him that he was being stupid and that I had already wasted to much time on this one stupid insignificant thing. He told me he would take care of it, and I told him that wasn’t going to happen because I knew he was too stressed and busy with work to do something like this. Which means I could have just left it there. I could have had things my way, because he would never have switched the contact list over to GroupMe, and when the big day same he would just have to use my phone.

But then I thought about how stressed he was at work, and how if this would make him happy I would suck it up and do it. It turned out to be more complicated than I thought. GroupMe, for some reason, would not load all the contacts I wanted, so I had to go in manually and add the 30 some people to the list manually.

This is where pregnancy brain comes in. I thought set the settings for the group, so I could add people without it sending out notifications. But that turns out not to be the case, so every time I added someone to the group, everyone I had previously added got a text message. There first people on the list got the most notifications, while those later on got fewer, and it wasn’t long before friends were texting back into the app asking if things were actually happening and then giving me crap for blowing up their phones.

Which I cannot really blame them. But I can blame pregnancy brain for how I handled it. I LOST MY SHIT. I shut down the app and haven’t opened it since (this was a week ago). I got irrationally mad at Husband for making go through all of this. The more I thought about what I had done, the more embarrassed I was. Not that I really had anything to be embarrassed about, but in my Pregnancy addled mind this was the end of the world. I couldn’t stand to be alone with myself I was so embarrassed, so I woke Husband up from his nap and made him come and cuddle me. That’s when I really lost it. I started blubbering like a little child and COULD NOT STOP. Poor Husband didn’t really know what to do, so he just held me and started making jokes at me expense.

He is a keeper.

He asked me if anyone had left the group, which is a very innocent question. Only one person had left the group, but it was my brother (which is no surprise) but somehow that made everything worse, and I was inconsolable for the next twenty minutes.

Having now had some time to process all of this, I do realize that I was upset and embarrassed over nothing. I was emotional because I am pregnant and totally brainless when I went into set up the app, but none of that really warranted a full emotional breakdown. I even dreamt about it that night, imagining that one of my best friends hated me now because I accidentally sent her some 30 messages about people being added to a damn group.

Thankfully I am over it all. Though I will not touch that app again. Husband can finish setting things up if he hates sms so much. And I guess my brother just isn’t going to know when his niece is born. Because what sibling leaves another siblings birth announcement group. What a jerk.

It has been suggested that I am overreacting.

There you have it folks: the three most embarrassing things I have done since my brain shrunk by a third. After pregnancy your brain will go back to normal, but by that point sleep deprivation will be so intense that you won’t notice you have a third of your brain back. By the time sleep deprivation becomes less of a thing, we will probably be planning for another baby, which will mean my brain will shrink again, so really it is all downhill from here. At least that is what my neighbor told me. She said her pregnancy brain got worse with each child, and she has yet to recover.

Life Lately

Life Lately

37 weeks pregnant and counting, which leaves me feeling a little like I am in limbo. The next big thing to happen in my life will be having this baby. That’s it. Between now and then there will be no new career, no new ANYTHING, so I am just waiting to have my baby. This leaves me feeling like everything else I am doing is superfluous. I am just biding my time, but I do not know how much time there is life to bide. So I could wash some dishes, OR I could just sit here and wait to have this baby. Guess which one I am doing…

Anyway, I haven’t just been sitting around–waiting, even if that is the only thing it feels like. Husband and I have had a couple very full months and since I have not really blogged in a while about anything other than the books I have been reading, let me take you back through what we have been up to since Christmas.


Husband and I celebrated our first Christmas in our new house this year. We went with a couple of friends up to Christmas Mountain outside of Portland to find out tree. The tree farm had a section of natural–as in unpruned–Noble firs, which they were selling at half price. So we got this 11 foot beauty for half of the cost of a regular Noble fir. It turned out to be the most glorious Charlie Brown tree ever. I had to talk husband into it, as with everything else we do not see eye-to-eye when it comes to aesthetics. Why would a Christmas tree be any different? He wanted something rounder, bushier, but I love the look of a glowing tree when you can wrap some lights up the middle of the trunk. I think, in the end, I won him over with our tall and skinny Charlie Brown tree. He didn’t even complain too much about the tinsel. I love tinsel and he likes to remind me of how horrible it is for the environment.

We make a good couple.

Anyway, we got the tree up and then everything got a little crazy. My brother came into town, which means I got to torment him. This is what that looks like:

10392416_10101417889355358_8021633476405384779_nI would like to say he was a good sport and took it well, but he gives as good as he gets. After Corey got into town, we had our first Christmas with my immediate family, which flew by all to fast. It was weird to think that next Christmas Husband and I will have a kid of our own. Before I knew it our first Christmas was over, and on the 26th our second Christmas was beginning. Husbands family all (almost all anyway) descended on us in a flurry. His parents came down from Seattle, while his younger sister, her husband and their little daughter Tulsi came up from California. Unfortunately his older sister Molly and her family couldn’t join us–we missed them. I believe this was our Christmas morning:


Things didn’t slow down while his family was here either. We had our Christmas complete with a dutch smorgasbord of cheese, chocolate sprinkles, dutch cakes and then onto the homemade fondue dinner, which is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorite family traditions. Husband’s mom Padma makes the best cheese fondue, which I love dipping fresh mushrooms into. I don’t even LIKE fresh mushrooms.

While his family was in town we had our baby shower, thanks to my parents and his family who all collaborated to put it together. I have always hated baby showers. I hate the games and the awkward present opening, and since I have never been one to hide how I feel everyone worked together to throw a co-ed baby shower that I didn’t hate. In fact, I loved it. We all got to find out the sex of our baby when Padma cut the cake to find pink icing inside. We then got to eat cake, open presents, and socialize. The only real activity we had was painting onsies and bibs. Our baby now has a years worth of custom designed onsies and bibs. Our friends went to town decorating over thirty of the things and the results are amazing. I would post pictures, but I didn’t take any and I am certainly too lazy to do it now. But there are bibs covered in lobsters, a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh,  and a rather adorable one that both soon-to-be grandmothers decorated together. The onsies are something else. We have a Star Trek one, a Battlestar Gallactica one, a onsie that says Rescue Me!, and a couple that reference some pop culture things that I am not all to sure are appropriate. Hopefully you guys will get to see some of them as she wears them. I hear new parents are notorious for copious amounts of pictures of their children.

Then Christmas was over, we kicked his family out of the house (lovingly of course) on a Tuesday morning. That evening we were packed and on a plane to Aruba, arriving in time for an international New Year’s Eve. A couple of weeks before Christmas we had decided that we actually wanted a baby moon, and since we had some miles we started looking for places to go. On a whim I thought to talk to my Aunt Nancy who has a house on Aruba. Turns out they were there for New Year’s and invited us to join them. Before we knew it our trip was booked and I am so glad we did it. I got to spend 10 days on a beach with this handsome hunk:


And the beach looked like this:


Aruba is very small–something like 6 miles wide and 20 miles long. There is nothing to there, except be on the beach, which is exactly what I wanted. I am a sea otter by nature, so rolling around in the water for hours on end is bliss for me. I didn’t really do a ton of rolling around as I was 7-8 months pregnant, but I was one really happy beach mamma. Neither of us got sunburned as we were diligent with the sun screen, which only made us feel that more content that we did this vacation thing right. New Year’s Eve was a blast–literally. We stood in our PJ’s in my Aunts front yard and watched as amazing fireworks went off all around us. Then just past midnight all the neighbors started making the rounds to wish everyone a happy New Year’s. They were all dressed in their finest, while we stood their in nightgowns and boxers. I am sure they thought it amusing, but after having traveled for about 10 hours, I didn’t really care.

For having done absolutely nothing for 10 days,  I could write about Aruba forever. But I will spare you the jealousy. To sum it up I will just say that the water was perfect, I ate the best shrimp of my life, and I got to have a virgin Pina Colada everyday. Well everyday until I realized they were giving me the WORST acid reflux. So the vacation wasn’t perfect because I had to give up the Pina Coladas, but the good far out weighed the bad.

Before we knew it our 10 days were up and we were headed back home. I still miss the water, the sun, the Pina Coladas, the shrimp (OMG the shrimp), but then we were thrown into the New Year. Husband hit the ground running for work, as January is often the busiest time of the year for him, and I got to work on getting things ready for the baby.  The nursery is almost complete and my “Before Baby” to-do list is dwindling. We replaced my POS car and bought a Subaru. Husband and I are already a Pacific Northwest stereotype, we figured we would complete the image with a car purchase. I have to say having a car where all the buttons work, the breaks don’t grind, and the defrost actually works in amazing. Who knew functioning defrost would feel like such a luxury.

We also got to spend an evening at the Oregon Symphony:


They played Carmina Burana, which was phenomenal. As we were leaving the concert hall, a woman suggested that I name our baby Carmina, as it is such a pretty name. We did consider it for about ten minutes, as Kashi’s grandmother’s name was Carmen, but I don’t actually like the name Carmen. What are the odds that someone would call our Carmina, Carmen? Probably pretty high. Also there is the fact that Carmina Burana is a set of rather raunchy poems that were originally written by a monk–a sexually deprived monk at that. Probably. Not sure that is something I want my daughter named after.

This has been a rather long, random post. Maybe the next time you hear from me, I will have popped out this baby!