Friday, October 31, 2003

Happy Birthday, Meredith!

Today is my sister's birthday. Last night we had dinner for her at my parents' house - Mom & Dad, Meredith & Jacques, Calvin and Natalie, Steve & Colleen & Amelia, and Alex and me. (Bill had a rehearsal.) The usual meal - Chicken Paprika, noodles, squash, broccoli, peas, rolls, and something chocolate for dessert. This year it was chocolate fondue with bananas, strawberries, pears, apples, pound cake, macaroons, and marshmallows.

Some things about my sister and me....

* My memories begin with her birth. I am with my Dad's father (Grandpa) in a parking lot outside of the hospital. (Kids weren't allowed in then to see their new siblings.) I am standing on the hood of his old, faded yellow car, blowing a police whistle and waving a small American flag. Inside the brick hospital, in one of the rooms, are my mother and my new baby sister.

* Family lore has it that when my parents brought Meredith home from the hospital, I was in the kitchen with both sets of grandparents, waiting, and when they walked in the door I cried out (with joy) "My baby sister!" I don't remember it, but they say it's true.

* I have a memory of standing near her changing table, looking up at her little bare stomach and seeing the stump of her umbilical cord there, black and strange.

* My sister and her husband, Jacques, have been married nearly 14 years.

* She and I are a daunting team against anyone at Pictionary. Ask my parents. Ask Jacques and our cousin Steve. They have lost to our near psychic abilities.

* She and I share the same sense of humor. It is not always kind. We share a love of "falling stories" - episodes in our lives when we or our friends have fallen - down stairs, mostly, or tripped - just a word or two to conjure up one of these episodes will send us both into helpless hysteria.

* She is my reality check.

* I was sometimes a mean older sister. She'd want to play and I'd tell her "one more chapter" of the book I was reading...and then go on to the next chapter and tell her "I'm almost done..."

* The enemy of my enemy is my friend: when we were in the midst of little squabbles as kids, one or the other parent would come up to our room and ask what was going on. We would clam up and answer "nothing!"

* We are friends.

* She is currently an orange belt in Karate. Don't mess with her.

* She follows her own path and always has.

* When we were little sometimes we were dressed in either identical or matching outfits.

* When we were little, our father told us that the breaker switch up in our bedroom closet would blow up the house if we touched it. We still believe that and won't go near it.

* Because of my sister, we had a succession of cats as pets. The first was Pumpkin. When we found her downstairs (where my parents had left her for the night), I told Meredith (it was her birthday) to "go upstairs and see if it's yours!" I was bossy. The cat was hers.

* Today there are, in addition to 4 people living in her house, one cat and 5 birds.

* She is a terrific gardener.

* She took piano lessons for 7 years and could play along with the piano solo in Billy Joel's "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" when she really psyched herself up for it.

* She is a great Mom and a great Auntie. And a great sister.

* And she makes the best cinnamon toast of anyone I know.

Happy Birthday, Mere!

Thursday, October 30, 2003


I think I'm passing my queasy phase...the smell of coffee this morning is now a good thing once again....

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

12 Weeks

I am 12 weeks today, based on a due date of May 12th. If I remember right, 13 weeks is the end of the first trimester, but regardless - it's hard to believe one third of this pregnancy has already just about zipped by.

Alex stayed home today. He woke up around 3 this morning and felt very hot. Had a temp of 102.5 so I gave him some Tylenol and juice and brought him in bed w/me. He just kind of whimpered for a while and then fell asleep. Poor little guy.

Bill stayed home with him for the first part of the day and brought him to the doctor as well. Probably a virus. He had the same thing happen over the weekend, then two good days, and then apparently a new virus jumped in and took over. I came home from work early so Bill could go teach his college students tonight, and Alex seemed a lot happier. He's taking a nap right now, which is why I get to type a bit.

He is going through a hitting phase. I don't think it's a malicious thing, I think it's just a testing-the-boundaries thing. Most of the time. And he'll say "uh oh" immediately after, which is what some of the people at daycare say to mean "no" or "don't do that." So he kind of knows he's not supposed to do it...but I think he's still testing. He also tends to do it when he's heading toward being tired.

His other new thing is this - he'll stand in front of me (I'm sitting on the floor) and his expression will suddenly go very serious - and he'll fall forward at me. Arms at his sides, body straight. And of course I catch him, which is tons of fun, in his little "nothing can harm me" opinion.

He is very very ticklish at the back of the neck. Screams with laughter and wriggles half in delight and half in a weak attempt to get away. Then he'll move his head back within tickling range, a little anticipatory grin on his face....

I also think he said "I'm sorry" to me earlier. He was on the chair in the living room, standing up (which he's not supposed to do). I told him to sit down, and after a bit of grinning at me and saying "Hi" in his charming way, he gave up and sat down. And then said what sounded like "I sowwy." Which startled me - his first sentence! And I blurted out "You're sorry?" And he thought that was incredibly funny and just laughed at me.

So I don't know. I don't know.

He is full of surprises.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Random Facts

I thought this was an interesting exercise (thank you, Sheila), so here are as many random facts about me - unrehearsed (well, except one that I was thinking about on the drive home from work) as I can think of before the timer goes off and I have to make the gravy for the chicken I'm roasting. Here goes...

* When I was 10 I grabbed a 9 year old boy by the throat with one hand and squeezed very hard and told him to stop picking on this 8 year old boy he'd been about to beat up. (the 8 year old lived kind of near us, and my sister and I had been trying desperately to teach him self defense. he was an easy target for bullies. we failed.) The 9 year old nodded his head, his eyes and tongue kind of popping out, and I let him go.

* I used to want to be a boy. (this is probably when I was 10). Some girl I knew told me if I repeated my wish (didn't tell her what it was) over and over 10 times and then yelled it loudly the last time, it would come true in a month. It didn't.

* I don't like little yappy dogs.

* I am more comfortable in my mind than in my body.

* I have plenty of talent in various creative areas...but unfortunately I lack drive, and that's really the deciding factor, isn't it?

* I have a handful of very, very good friends. The rest come and go.

* I argue best on behalf of anyone but myself.

* When I was very young (6, maybe) I lip-synched (sp?) to the sound track of My Fair Lady (the Broadway version) in my grandparents' living room in NJ and my grandfather told me to sing out...but I refused, because I knew I didn't sound like Julie Andrews and so why even bother?

* My sister and I and my best friend Dolores and her brother "put on" a haunted house two years running when we were in ( I think) junior high, or younger. We actually caused some little children to cry.

* I once freed a starling that had its legs stuck in my parents' stockade fence. After it flew out of my hands, I started shaking uncontrollably.

* I have one sister, Meredith. She is two years younger than I am.

* I had a red plaid metal lunchbox in elementary school.

* Two of the attendants on "my side" of the wedding party were men.

* I had a perm once. Once was enough. I'm supposed to have straight hair.

* I once ate so many "thin mint" girl scout cookies that I had a sugar hangover the next morning.

* I once had two (or three) of the margaritas that my husband makes and ended up singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the couch in my apartment. My dear friend Ralph called right around then to tell me he was going to a dermatologist because he had a spot on his nose that wasn't going away, and he thought it might be cancerous. All I could say, in a desperate, hazy attempt at sympathy was "You have nose cancer?" He laughed hysterically.
(And he's fine, by the way.)

* Sometimes I am absolutely terrified of losing my parents. It freezes me and I well up with tears. The rest of the time I keep it at bay.

* I know with complete certainty that I could kill or die for my son.

And that's all I have time for. The timer's going off and I have gravy to make.


I'm sorry, what?

Alex went to bed husband isn't due home for another 40 minutes or so...dinner is cooking and smells wonderful...and here I am with FREE TIME on my I came in here and sat down to type...and then sat here staring vaguely off into some other, slower, dimension...totally zoning out. I'm tired. I would like to go "ni-night" too, to be honest.

But dinner would burn, the alarms would go off, and I'd have really nasty pans to clean, so never mind that option.

So here I go...trying to gather the thoughts I had earlier and shape them into something coherent....

Well, I met with the contractor this afternoon to discuss what needs to be done to get our basement back in shape after the flood we had in August. While he was here I felt my brain dissoving back into the quicksand it often becomes these days, so I felt myself nodding stupidly as he went over all this stuff - particularly the part about the money, which, of course, is most important to him. I wanted to say, at one point, "don't worry - we have plenty of money" - which we don't, not plenty like it's dripping off our clothes...but I just wanted him to stop speaking in tongues, basically.

He asked how soon we could have the basement cleaned out...and...I said by Monday. Don't ask me how that's going to happen, either. I haven't figured it out. Bill teaches late tomorrow night. He's got a rehearsal the next night, plus we're celebrating my sister's birthday that night at my Mom's house, so I'll be there, not here. Friday night is Halloween, plus Bill has a concert. That leaves the weekend. Oh, and he's got a gig of some kind on Sunday in the middle of the day.

Which would be fine except for the big heavy furniture that needs to come up from the basement and go either out by the curb (we're going to replace the sofa and recliner that got wet and are now mildly stinky. they were second-hand anyway.) or into the garage (the entertainment center and corner cabinet his father made years and years ago..and the little table and chairs. Well, okay the table and chairs aren't heavy.)

And this is a problem because I can't help him lift these big heavy things. I could, for in addition to being a great cook I am also more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings and all that...(no, wait, that's Superman...I meant Wonder Woman...but if I spin around like that I'll get dizzy and throw up...and at the moment I'd look really scary in that costume.) But of course, heaven help anyone reading this, I digress...

The thing is - while I'm pregnant, I don't want to risk anything. Yes, when I was pregnant with Alex I was also helping move all our furniture from our little rented cottage to the house we live in now...but I have grown more cautious two years later, and besides, I didn't know I was pregnant til after we moved. Now I know. And if for some reason - any reaon - anything happened with this pregnancy after I helped move some furniture up some stairs, well, I'd be blaming myself forever, and I carry around enough random stupid guilt about stuff as it is.


I emailed our friend John to see if he's got ANY free time between now and Monday. Problem is, he works weekends, so that leaves very little free time that will overlap with Bill's free time. Same with my brother-in-law. But we'll figure something out.

Actually I should probably be downstairs now gathering up the smaller things that we can move up and stow elsewhere in the house.

But as I mentioned earlier - I'm tired. So I'll chill for now. I'll plan my attack, and I'll start the small phase of the "move" tomorrow night.

Yes, that sounds good.
Retraction of my Retraction

After some strong and much-needed verbal shaking, (thank you Beth, Sheila), I realize that there is no need for me to apologize or explain the "Fertility Goddess" title of my other blog.

They're right - I am a fertility the very least, I'm starting to look like one of those ancient stone carvings...the round, voluptuous, not-in-the-least-like-a-supermodel ones...

Friday, October 24, 2003


It has occurred to me a couple of times that the name or title of the blog that I linked to in the post below and the little subtitle under it may come across as cocky and obnoxious. Something which I know I am on occasion, but which I don't mean to be about the pregnancy.

But when I decided to create that little blog, I was, well, pretty damn happy to be pregnant again. And my husband jokes that he only has to look at me and I get pregnant...which strikes me funny, in light of the fact that I'm on the higher side of 35 and was afraid it would take me forever to become pregnant when we first started trying. Granted, I've (so far) had one successful pregnancy out of 3, and this one (#4) is sure, I can get "with child" - the question I worry more about is whether I can carry said child to term.

And, with that in mind, I suddenly thought how obnoxious my "Fertility Goddess...So Worship Me Already" thing might come across. Trust me - I am supremely grateful for my son, and I am supremely grateful for the little one I'm carrying now. I don't take them for granted at all.

And so now I think I'm sounding like a wimp, retracting my Fertility Goddess I think I'll just get off the subject before I lose all self respect.

A Little Bit of News

I've been working on a little project recently...well, actually it began as more of a collaborative effort.

But anyway...

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Swiss Steak

No, I'm not posting a recipe. Sorry - this is really quick...

Got an email from my Mom this morning and in it she mentioned that the Salmon they had for dinner last night was good, and that they were having Swiss steak for dinner tonight - which she had cooked all day yesterday in the crock pot. (We always talk food.)

I zipped off a quick email back (Alex was demanding that I play ball with him) and in it I indicated that I hoped they enjoyed their dinner tonight.

And I just got an email back, in which she asked "Enjoy the Swill steak???? Could you define it sometime?"

I looked down at my attached email - yep, I typed "Swill steak."

I just sat here and laughed and laughed.

That's all. Just wanted to share.

Friday, October 17, 2003


And this sums it all up for me.

Grady Little lost that game. Even I knew that Pedro should have been taken out before Matsui came up to hit. And it's Grady Little's job to decide that in the best interest of the TEAM, and the GAME, and them GETTING INTO THE WORLD SERIES, Pedro had had enough. But no. He let Pedro decide. That's not what a manager is supposed to do. Especially not RIGHT THEN IN THE EIGHTH INNING WHEN THE RED SOX WERE STILL AHEAD!!!!!!!!

Bill went to bed as soon as NY tied it up. I stayed through the first half of the ninth, but I was tired, having had very little uninterrupted sleep this week, and I just knew. I just knew.


Thursday, October 16, 2003

Still at home...

And feeling better in some ways but this throat is still horrible. I went back for another strep test this morning. I kept thinking the nurse who did it Tuesday didn't get enough gunk from my throat on that giant q-tip, but apparently she did, because it was negative again.

Then the doctor thought it would be a good idea to test me for mono (even though I don't feel like I have it, and I should know, as I had it about 5 years ago and the only time I've ever felt like that since was this past summer when I had a small bout with Lyme disease.) But anyway, the doctor's reason for wanting to test me was because I have pus pockets on my throat. Pus pockets! I told my sister later - it sounds like something Colonel Potter from M*A*S*H would say, you know, like "horse hockey." "Pus Pockets!"

Of course, the test was negative, I don't have mono, and now I can look forward to the fun of ripping this band aid off my arm later. More pain. Sigh.

One good thing to come of this current horrible sore throat has been the entertainment factor for Alex. (And if he's amused, I'm happy.) The other night I was standing at the sink gargling warm salt water and spitting it out. As I do so frequently now. And I noticed, with my mommy powers of peripheral observation, that I couldn't hear Alex doing anything anywhere. Which usually means he's doing something that he shouldn't be doing, like climbing up the stairs without a safety net, or getting into a cupboard that I didn't lock, and so on.

So I looked around to begin my search for silent boy - and there he was. Just standing there, a bit to my right, a bit behind me. Standing there, little blond-haired, blue-eyed guy in navy blue feetie-pajamas, looking up at me with a mixture of surprise and delight and awe on his little face...his mouth was partly opened, and there was part of a cookie in there that he wasn't even bothering to chew - he was so fascinated by this strange new thing that mommy was doing.

Mommy took a sip of something, tilted her head back, and made funny noises while the water or whatever it was splashed around a bit, and then she spit it into the sink. And then she did it again! And again!

I turned to look at him again after the next spit, and he laughed. Didn't budge from that spot; just laughed. For the whole rest of my gargle session.

I got the feeling that so far, in his eyes, that's the coolest thing I've ever done.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I didn't realize it had been a month

...since my last post. I knew it had been a while. And I think the biggest reason I'm writing today is because I'm home, sick, with what feels like strep, but the test came back negative, so it's "just" a horrible sore throat, swollen glands, some achiness, slight temperature, and that sort of fun stuff. Since my job requires a lot of talking - I'm not there.

Before I proceed any further, just want to mention that a portion of my last post was actually excerpted here shortly after I wrote it. Thank you, Jeri, for the request and for excerpting me, and also for your recent email. And thanks to Sheila and to my Aunt Joan (who asked my Mom about me) for also asking if things were okay, and what was going on... I haven't stopped blogging. I just ran out of spare time for a while.

And that's been it, really. I got overwhelmed by everything and something had to give, and this was it.

Everything: work, taking care of my husband and my more-and-more-active-every-day son, taking care of the doesn't sound like much listed like that, but there are a hell of a lot of sub-categories.

Plus there have been Red Sox games to watch, and the TV is downstairs and the computer is know. I had to watch. (Little note to Trot Nixon - no, sorry, Jesus couldn't be with you at bat last night, he was busy. It was really me, in my fevered, delerious state I actually left my body, floated north to Fenway, and helped you out with that hit. But you don't have to thank me. No one's heard of me, so they just wouldn't understand.) Ha ha. Well that was pretty goofy, wasn't it. I think it's the fever coming back...

You know, gargling with salt water is pretty unpleasant. But I have to say it helps for a while.

What else...well, Alex is a wild little man. His vocabulary is expanding, which is thrilling and entertaining. He says "Hi" and "Bye bye" (Hi sounds like Hi-ee), he's working on "shoe" and "sock" and he knows what a nose is (it's that thing on Mommy's face that he likes to try to explore with his quick little fingers. Really. Bill asked Alex "Alex, where's your nose?" and Alex turned to me and grabbed my nose. His property, I guess.)

And he says "Get down!" with appropriate accompanying hand/arm gesture. He was trying to climb over the couch so he could fling himself headfirst onto the fireplace hearth (don't worry, Alex, I'm sure you'll succeed someday), and I said, in my "don't mess with Mommy" voice "Alex, no!" and he turned around with a serious expression on his little face that matched mine, and waved forcefully at me and said "Di Dow!"

It is SO HARD not to laugh hysterically at these things. It was so cute. And he said it a few more times, to show me he knew what I was trying to tell him. And I said "That's right, Alex, get down" and he said "di dow!" again, then turned and hiked one knee back up onto the couch and started climbing again. So I think he knows the phrase (I'm assuming daycare, since I don't wave my arm at him like that.) but he either doesn't completely understand it or doesn't care. I think, judging by the "I'm damn cute, aren't I" little grin he wears at moments like that, that he doesn't care.

Oh - another one - "round and round" - which is "wow a wow." I'm sure he learned that from "The Wheels on the Bus", but he also applies it, correctly, to the lid of a trash can that I use as a hamper in the kitchen (for his bibs, dish towels, and so on). The lid spins "wow a wow" and he likes to play with it.

And he's getting tall!! He discovered that he can finally reach the ice and water dispensers on our fridge. (Bill was the witness to this one. "Oh honey...guess what your son can do...") Thank you to Kenmore for that lock option, otherwise we'd have a huge flood in the kitchen and a very soggy little boy.

(little side note - applesauce feels really good on a sore throat)

Oh - more Alex things, why not. Speaking of his new words, (not sure if I wrote about this already or not, but if I did, then this would just be an update) for a while he had us stumped. He would shout "DIE!" "DIE!" "DIE!" And, as that is not something Bill and I shout at each other on any regular basis (or irregular, for that matter), we were a little curious about that one. I really didn't think daycare was really a training camp for tiny thugs, but you never know... Anyway, one day I figured it out. He was shouting "Die! Die!" and pushing against the back door. Aha - "outside." That was better. But now he doesn't say that (and I kind of miss it). Now he says "daDEE" for "outside." I haven't figured out that one other than now he's got the two syllables in there.

What else does he say..."more" "juice" and "ba." "Ba" means a couple of things, depending on how he says it. The casual "ba" usually refers to milk or a sippy cup. But said happily and joyfully, it means "ball." Currently, all his toys could completely disappear but as long as the balls remained, he would be happy. He has at least seven. There are two whiffle balls, a little squishy soccer ball, a slightly larger yellow and red soccer ball, a blue rubber ball (think kickball in elementary school - that's kind of the texture), and a big red bouncy ball, and a couple of squishy sponge-like balls that our friend John gave him for his birthday because they are tub or pool toys that soak up water and can be thrown at other people and I know John was hoping Bill would be on the receiving end of those throws. Because that's the kind of friendship they have.

Okay, I counted, and that's eight. And there are more little plastic balls the size of golf balls, but they are currently hiding (in fear) under the furniture.

Yes - in fear, I say. Alex throws hard. I'm thinking 90mph at times. Trust me - I've been hit in the head with a whiffle ball, so I know what I'm talking about. He either likes to throw them down the stairs (and then go to whichever parent is closest and indicate that he is quite beside himself because all the balls have escaped and he needs someone to go and get them since he hasn't figured out how to open the gate that blocks that stairway yet...and he's still too short to climb over.) OR he likes to thrown them to/at Mommy or Daddy. Sometimes two at a time. Strong overhand throws that are, frankly, intimidating. Especially when you look at his face. You know that totally focused look you see on close-up shots of the pitcher at just about any ball game? Well, they ain't got nothing on Alex. You really want to scare the batter? Smile! That's right. A big, drooly excited grin is way more scary. Especially when he throws two balls at you. And then he laughs.

Speaking of which, I have to go now. Today's game is starting in a moment, and I will also have to go get Alex in a little while.

Anyway, so here I am, back again. Not sure how frequently I'll be writing, but I'll try to get back in here more often.