Saturday, December 12, 2009

16 Week Letter

Dear Cleitus,

Ever since we found out about you back in September, I'd had a feeling that you were a girl. I chalked my feeling up to women's intuition and felt validated by the scores of other people telling me they also thought you were a girl.

Well babe, I can tell you now that women's intuition = FAIL. You're a BOY!! And we are so, so excited. The ultrasound technician made the mistake of showing us your boy parts right away so we then had to wait for an hour before we could share our joy with our families. The whole time I was thinking, "Who cares about his KIDNEYS? I want to tell everyone about his PENIS!" However, I'm happy to report that your kidneys, along with everything else, also look great.

I'm sure you are relieved to learn that I will not be posting a picture of the "proof" that you're a boy on the interwebs. Oh no, I'm saving that picture to show at the rehearsal dinner the day before you get married. (Just kidding). (Maybe).

Even though I had mentally prepared myself for a girl, I get more excited every time I think about you being a boy. Little boys and their mommies have such special bonds and I can't wait to watch you grow up and see what you will become. You will have such wonderful influences around you that will teach you about how to be a good, smart, Godly man. Your daddy is itching to sing you songs about calculus, physics, and school you in Carolina basketball while your grandaddies are likely scheming to teach you the fight song for NC State, just to spite us. Your uncle Jordan has promised that you will know all about Western harmony. You'll learn loyalty and generosity and strength from all the men who you are lucky to have as family.

And as for me? I'm going to love you with all my heart, no matter what. Even if you do become a State fan.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Nobody's gonna go to work today, she's (or he's) gonna make them stay at home

This morning, as I was leaning over the toilet, trying to evade the vomit that was splashing back up at my face, I learned something about my preshus wittle fetus. Cleitus does not like Mondays.

(As an aside, Frosted Mini Wheats are one of the least offensive foods to puke up, semi-digested.)

(Also, I have a strange love of catchy ballads about psycho chicks killing innocent children. Don't judge.)

I don't particularly like Mondays either. When I was a kid I'd play feel horribly sick on Mondays more than any other day of the week. One time my mama remarked to me that my (fourth grade) teacher was going to think I partied every weekend. (Sorry teach, couldn't make it yesterday, that seventh Capri-Sun was making me pay). I'll even confess that maybe I've taken more mental health days on Mondays than I should have in my adult years.

But now, in my pregnant state, I don't have to pretend because my fetus is making me sick. My baby is already taking after me! Oh shit joy! However, unlike in elementary school when you could miss up to 30 days of school without any major repercussions (I kept track), my company only gives me six sick days each year. There are WAY more than six Mondays in a year people!

Which leaves me wiping the puke off my face, trying to brush my teeth without setting off another episode, and trudging off to work with a look of martyrdom on my face. And making a mental note not to leave the room when I take my kid's temperature. Because I totally knew that trick about how to fake a fever.

Friday, November 20, 2009

13 Week Letter

Dear Cleitus,

It's been a while since I've written to you, but CHILD, you have scared your mama and daddy to pieces over the past month. It started with a little bit of spotting followed by that thing on the back of your neck. That 'thing' is gone now and you look amazing, and for this we are so, so grateful.

Cleitus, I'm going to tell you something that may make you think your mama is a little crazy. I believe God healed you over those few weeks. I don't have any proof other than two ultrasounds that look dramatically different from one another. And the doctors did say that sometimes nuchal translucencies resolve on their own. But baby doll, I don't think it was random. There were so many people praying for you. Your grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, cousins, friends, and of course your daddy and I were praying for you constantly.

I also have to confess that at the beginning, I wasn't praying for a miraculous healing. I was praying for the translucency to mean something not-too-severe. I was praying for you to live. I was praying for strength for your daddy and I. But then, the day before we went in for the CVS test, it hit me. God is SO MUCH BIGGER than what I could imagine. God could make this whole problem go away! God could make it so that I wouldn't even need the test. A tiny part of my mind wanted to stop thinking these thoughts because I didn't want to be disappointed, but I held onto that hope and prayed fervantly for it that night. And my prayers were answered, so directly. The joy I feel is overwhelming and I can't help myself from telling everyone what happened.

And Cleitus, I'm writing this down because one day I want to tell you. I cannot wait to tell you how much Jesus loves you and how amazing He is. I canoot wait to tell you, a child of God, that He can do more than we ever ask or imagine. I cannot wait to read you Bible stories with miracles and to tell you about your own miracle. I just cannot wait.

Love always,

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Good, The Bad, The Insane

I got a call from the genetic counselor. The results from my NT scan show a 1:10,000 chance of Down's and a 1:2088 chance of Trisomy 18. Both of these risk levels are way lower than what one would expect based on my age, so it's great news.

The not-so-great news is that my free beta HCG levels are in the 0.5 percentile. Low. And apparently this result puts me at risk for pre-eclampsia, pre-term labor, miscarriage, placental 'issues', growth restrictions, and clinical insanity. I've already started developing the latter. Because, it seems that it is just one thing have another. After the bleeding episode, I walked around for several weeks terrified that I would miscarry at any moment. And just when I got more comfortable with this pregnancy and this baby we had that fateful ultrasound that cast us into fear and sadness for another few weeks. And NOW! After getting some AMAZING news I can't even relish it for 30 seconds without learning that DUDE, I am one high-risk mama.

I DO thank God that so far all indications point to a healthy Cleitus. But I wish that I could really love this pregnancy. That I could, upon telling a friend, not feel a stab of fear that I might have to untell. That I could buy maternity clothes without wondering if I'll need to shove them in the back of a closet to avoid seeing them. That I could be happy that I don't have a doctor's appointment for 3.5 weeks (the longest I've gone since my BFP!) instead of wishing I could go in to hear the heartbeat every week. And that on the mornings I wake up without feeling nauseous I could be happy instead of poking my boobs to make sure I still have some pregnancy symptoms.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


My CVS test was scheduled for yesterday. I had taken two days off work and my mama had come up for the 'occasion'. They started with an ultrasound to determine the best route for the test and as soon as we saw the baby I knew something was different. It didn't look the same as the last two times.

After a few minutes of squinting at the picture I asked the technician, "so, um, where is the nuchal translucency?" She replied something vague about needing the baby to move and then after a few moments went to get the doctor. I laid there, silent. Trying not to say anything that might get my mama excited. Trying not to let myself get excited. The doctor came in the room. Eleven days ago the nuchal translucency was 4.2 mm. "Normal" is under 2 mm. Now, it was 0.8 mm.


As she talked about my options I half-listened and half-restrained myself from jumping off the table, screaming, crying, or grabbing the ultrasound wand as a fake microphone and singing some ecstatic song. I knew my options. I knew what I would do. I had gone over this scenario a million times in my head. I had hoped and prayed for this scenario. And now, it was here.

I declined the CVS. I let them go ahead and do a proper NT Scan. All the other measurements look perfectly normal. Cleitus has a prominent nasal bone and is measuring right on time. We'll hear about the blood results in a week or two.

The doctor and genetic counselor were careful to say that we're not out of the woods yet. That there WAS something there and it COULD mean something. But me? I'm not letting reality step in the way of my joy. I believe in miracles. And I believe that I've got a healthy baby in there.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Are You There Loretta? It's Me, God

The days are dragging until we can have the tests that will tell us more about our precious baby. I'm scheduled for a chorionic villus sampling next Tuesday and we should get some preliminary results a few days later.

We are scared, but coping. We have friends, family, and creepy Internet strangers (mwah!) praying for us and I have never in my life felt God's presence as closely as I have over the past few days. It became clear to me when I walked into church Sunday and saw that the sermon's title was "Anxiety over Loss". The pastor talked about Psalm 23, a passage I've memorized, but never internalized. I've started reading through the Psalms and have begun to identify with David's fear, but also his faith that he served a God who saves.

I feel hopeful. Hopeful that our baby WILL live, hopeful that the nuchal fold is signalling that Cleitus has an issue that is not serious or easily treatable, and better yet, hopeful that nothing at all is wrong.

And when I DO get down and start thinking about the scariest scenarios? The scenarios that end with me delivering a baby that does not survive? I feel peace. Sadness, yes, but also peace. And still more hope, for the future. Hopeful that our lives and our baby's life will serve to glorify the God that created us, no matter how short those lives may be. Hopeful for our family's happiness.

I am being blessed with a hope that is kicking despair's butt.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Walking the Line

There's a fine line between getting your hopes up and staying positive. I do not want to delude myself, thinking that everything will be okay, only to find myself cast into a deeper despair if the test results are bad. But I also do not want to prematurely assume the worst. Because that? I can't handle right now. I cannot think THAT until there is nothing else to think.

I'm trying to find a balance. I'm trying to quash my questions and fears until we know more. My inner Girl Scout is screaming, "but what about THIS? I need to BE PREPARED!" And the doctor told us we should be prepared, but "don't get too depressed yet". How can I prepare myself for terrible news about my baby without getting depressed?

I have no idea.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

No words

I had a little bit of brown spotting yesterday. Because of the previous bleeding the nurse had me come in for a sonogram. We saw the heartbeat right away, but the technician told us she saw a "very large" nuchal translucency on the back of Cleitus' neck. It could be a marker for Down's Syndrome or Trisomies 13 or 18. The latter two are almost always lethal.

I'm not sure how to breathe, how to move, how to speak.

Friday, October 23, 2009

9 Week Letter

Dear Cleitus,

We told your Great-Granny Collum about you last night. It was her birthday and we wanted to surprise her with some good news. When I said the words, she screamed and laughed. She was so happy, just like your Granny was when we told her several weeks ago. I know that as we begin to tell other people about you over the next few week, we will hear many similar reactions, especially from the Collum side of the family.

And while some people might look at that kind of excitement and yelling as a little bit crazy, I know that it means that you, Cleitus, are a very lucky little baby. You are SO LOVED. Already. Before anyone knows anything about you other than your penchant for changing your mind about craving mac and cheese after your daddy bought four boxes of it. It doesn't matter if you wear pink or blue, inherit your daddy's curly or your mama's straight hair, have a Type A or Type B personality, or prefer science or literature. You are loved and you are being born into a family full of love. You may not realize it, but that feeling you'll get when you walk (or are carried, because I guarantee that your relatives will rush to the car to get you) into your Great-Granny's house is Love. It's a love that gives, forgives, inspires, and comforts. And I cannot wait for you to experience it.

Love always,


Monday, October 12, 2009

Pregnancy Symptoms: Repressed White Girl Version

It's common in pregnancy to have steamy sex dreams. It's also common in pregnancy to have cramps and gas pains. What I've NEVER heard was common in pregnancy is to wake up with severe cramps and gas pains every time you have a sex dream. Every time, usually when things in my dream start getting good. And these aren't just mild pains either, no, they are hobble to the bathroom and spend 15 minutes laying on the floor moaning pains.

I've come to the conclusion that something in my subconscious is telling me that these dreams are BAD and making me suffer for them. God may kill a kitten every time YOU touch yourself, but I'm afflicted with paralyzing pain every time I think about touching someone else. Including my husband. Which is totally not fair because I can't actually DO any touching do to doctor-mandated pelvic rest.

(Actually, I could do the touching but I'm lazy if I don't get anything for my effort).

I'm blaming my stiff fundamentalist Norwegian relatives for this one.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fear and Hope in a 24 Hour Period

At church on Sunday I started having intense pain in my lower stomach/pelvic area. It was so bad I walked out and went to the bathroom where I discovered red blood. Lots of it. I ran back to get Victor and told him we had to leave. As soon as I got in the car I started sobbing. We drove to the closest hospital (in retrospect, an extra 5 minutes of driving would have probably saved us a lot of trouble). The staff took me up to Labor and Delivery, had me put on a gown and a pad thicker than most diapers, and left us there. For about an hour. Because they could not figure out how to enter me into their system. Finally they took some blood and left for another hour. No infection, hcg was at 55,000. More waiting and then I got wheeled down to the basement for an ultrasound, as soon as I drank a ton of water. Evidently they thought a trans-abdominal ultrasound would be appropriate even though the technician admitted that they usually were only good for women who were at least 13 weeks. She couldn't see anything so she let me pee and then went for the dildo-cam.

We saw our little gummy bear, but the technician kept having me hold my breath for extended periods of time to see if she could ascertain the heart rate. Her "unofficial" report was that she couldn't find it but she did think she saw a flickering. After more waiting the doctor came up and basically said I was most likely going to miscarry because the baby was measuring about a week behind my EDD based on my last period. He ignored my comments about having ovulated about a week "late" and said I just had to go home and wait.

Monday morning we called my practice. They gave us another ultrasound and the technician said she "definitely" saw Cleitus' heart beating! I was so relieved! And she saw something else too. Either a bleed or a second gestational sac.

So maybe I have some bleeding issues, maybe I have a baby and a blighted ovum, or maybe I have twins.


Another ultrasound in six days.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Six Week Letter

Dear Cleitus,

Cleitus you say? Yep! Your daddy and I have chosen Cleitus as your official name until we are able to see your genitals and decide on a more appropriate name. I don't want to hear any complaints from you Cleitus, because, quite frankly, you've been making your poor mama miserable. And I confess that it is hard for me to associate the constant urge to vomit, exhaustion, unquenchable thirst, and cramps that wake me up in the middle of the night with you, my dear little baby. I feel guilty and sad that I am not SO EXCITED to experience these things. I worry that I'm a wimp or too selfish to see the good in my discomfort.

But despite feeling so discouraged and overwhelmed by the prospect of being in the first trimester for TWO MORE MONTHS, I do know that it WILL get better. For a while, anyway. And then there will be other ailments and pains that may very well pull your hormone-crazy mama into yet another funk. But Cleitus, I just keep telling myself that it will be completely worth it. On the day they place you on my belly and I hear your cries and see your beautiful face all of these annoyances will be far from my mind.

Love always, Mama

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three Years Ago, Part 3

Back to the mixed CD. Apparently the cat sitter had made it not only to "give me a clue" but to give him an opening. As we finished dessert he said, "oh, before I leave let's just listen to this one song I want you to hear." And I agreed, because I was awfully naive. He puts in the CD and starts playing a song, only it's not the one he wanted me to hear. Rather than skipping ahead, he decides we'll listen to this one too, while sitting on recliners across the room from each other. When the song comes on he suggests that we dance.

(Note: Since we are both swing dancers asking me to dance wasn't that strange of a request)

So we dance. And dance. And dance. Because the song is eight minutes long. Which is pretty long to be swaying with someone in your dark living room, alone, without speaking. And the whole time the heart palpitations and digestive issues the cat sitter gives me are going crazy and I'm wondering if he's gonna make it worth my while. (Ya know, wink wink). And, well, he did.

And that, Internet, was the beginning of a beautiful friendship relationship marriage.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Three Years Ago, Part 2

Now where were we? Ah yes, three years and three weeks ago I decided to call my cat sitter when I knew he would be unable to reach his phone because mysteriously, talking to him wreaked havoc on my digestive system. However, after I returned from my fucking awesome swing dance camp, it occurred to me that I must do something to thank my cat sitter for cat sitting. And, being the well-mannered Southern lady that I am, I thought a home-cooked dinner was the best thanks. I assure you this decision was completely based on etiquette and had nothing at all to do with the exciting heart palpitations the cat sitter's deodorant gave me.

Seeing how the cat sitter was a vegetarian (at the time), I had to do extensive research on some tasty vegetarian meals. The cat sitter, being a Southern gentleman himself knew to offer to bring something and I suggested dessert. On the night we had decided, the cat sitter showed up just on time. I greeted him at the door and then we went back to the kitchen to continue stirring my homemade tomato sauce. The cat sitter showed me the dessert he had brought (yummy cake from Whole Foods) I glanced down and noticed THE CAT SITTER WAS WEARING HIS DRESS SHOES! Black, shiny shoes! For a two-person dinner at home! And then, he pulled something out of a bag. A CD. For me. A CD that he had mixed, for me.

MUSICAL INTERLUDE: "Sometimes when someone has a crush on you, they make you a mixed tape, to give you a clue."

Internet, even though I had not yet seen Avenue Q, I knew the words of this song to be the truth. And I began to be convinced that the physiological symptoms that hounded me when the cat sitter was around were evidence of an emotional THING I had for the cat sitter. I confess that this thought, the thought of a THING had crossed my mind previously. But now I was sure.

Dinner went well. We moved to the living room to watch a movie, during which we intermittently stared at each other, then back to the dining room for dessert. At this point it was at least midnight. And you know what midnight means, right?

It means it's no longer exactly three years ago. So I can stop here, for now, in the name of laziness suspense.

Monday, September 21, 2009

As Free as the Wind Blows

Yesterday I realized that I am going to start making my first big sacrifice as a mommy. No, it isn't cutting down on caffeine or eliminating alcohol (although I did do those things). It's wearing a bra, all the time. Pretty much every day, as soon as I get home from work (or anywhere else for that matter), I take off my bra. My bewbies like to be free, to feel the wind upon their areolas. They're small enough (low end of a C-cup) that a little bit of jostling didn't bother them or me. In fact, I could often get away without a bra even out in public when I wore tops or dresses that restrained and separated the girls a bit.

Until now. While the great boob-splosion of 2009 has not yet occurred, my lovely ladies have been feeling a bit under the weather. And recently it has come to my attention that the tenderness raging pain increases when I am sans-bra.

(As a side note, why isn't there a one-word term for going without a bra like there is for going without panties? Another case of discrimination against women?)

The pain occurs regardless of whether I'm moving or not. And this pain, it is a stretching kind of pain. Like someone is pulling my twins in all sorts of directions they were not meant to go. So now I face the dilemma of either wearing a bra 24/7 or worrying about ending up like one of those women you see in National Geographic whose ta-tas are down to their waists.

So dear titties, I deeply apologize for constantly keeping you locked up in your prison cells. It's for your benefit. Consider it a training session for the agony that is your destiny. You'll forget this temporary discomfort in nine months when a little creature wants to suck on you every few hours.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Makings of a Very Awkward Conversation

We told my parents the good news last night. For now, they are the only ones who know (other than the interwebs, of course. I've got my priorities straight!). Since we're big nerds organized, Victor and I have set a schedule of who to tell when. I decided to tell my dad first because I knew that if I told my mama she would make such a ruckus that I would probably never get to tell my dad myself (and I was correct). When I picked up my phone I started to get nervous. I felt like I was calling my daddy to tell him his little girl was no longer a virgin. What would he think? Victor assured me that my dad had most likely already had surmised this detail about me based on the fact that, you know, I had been married for over a year. And not in the 1960's sitcom kind of way either. But my dad's response confirmed my fears.

Me: So, I'm pregnant.
Dad: (long pause) How did THAT happen?

Maybe my mama needs to lend him this book.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Love Letter

Mon petit bébé,

I always wondered how I would react the moment I found out that your daddy and I had succeeded in creating you. As I have a slight flair for the dramatic I envisioned jumping up and down, screaming, and all sorts of other emotional displays. But instead I walked into the kitchen, hands trembling, and said quietly to your dad, "I think there are two lines." And there were! Even without needing to squint or tilt the test sideways as I had done in previous months that we were hoping for a miracle, we could see very clearly the evidence of your presence.

Right now you are probably making yourself at home. You may be exhausted after that long trip through my fallopian tubes and desire a place of your own. Well, go right ahead. Mi uterus, su casa little baby. Unpack your boxes, hang some pictures, and get comfy. Make sure to clear the clutter because even though you are only the size of a poppy seed right now, you're going to be closer to the size of a basketball before long. Mommy will make sure you get lots of yummy nutritious food to help you grow that much. If you want something specific, just let me know and I'll have daddy go out and get it for us. (I am really looking forward to this part of being your host!)

Baby, if you ever hear me complaining about feeling sick because you're there, don't worry. Secretly I'll be pleased that I have symptoms that remind me of you. And I promise you, I am so happy to endure whatever may come just for the privilege of having you here.

Love always,

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Best Things are Said With Haiku

I peed in a cup.
Two pink lines-crying, jumping!
Holy crap, I'm knocked up!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Obligatory Post

I became a patriot on September 13, 2001. The darkness and fear that had descended on our study abroad group two days earlier had been somewhat alleviated by the rigors of coursework and the beauty of Paris. The sadness and shock were still present and were enhanced every time we looked at a newsstand or saw the sign that was placed in so many shop windows. "Nous sommes tous Americains".

We are all Americans. Just like we were all Berliners when that city needed the world the most.

On the 13th a few of us decided to go down to the Champs Elysees where there was a memorial in front of the American Embassy. As we approached the line I noticed an old French man in his World War II hat, sitting on a park bench, weeping. In front of the embassy were hundreds of letters, flowers, and "I Love NY" t-shirts. To many, precious souvenirs of a rare trip across the Atlantic. And then I felt a tap on my shoulder. A little lady, probably around 75 years old, began to speak to me in hesitant English. "America saved us. We.....comment dire 'devoir'?" Devoir, when conjugated, means must. As a noun it implies duty. I assured her I could understand French and she began to tell me how she was young during WWII, how America had defended Western Europe from tyranny. And how she hoped and prayed her country would be able to pay back some of that debt now.

I had never in my life realized that anyone viewed America in this way. Americans in France were fat, obnoxious, and had a strange belief that yelling in English would help the French understand them better. We were a pompous people who insisted the world do it our way. And yet, there was still a memory that we did some good. That our country had sacrificed to help rid the world of the evil of the Third Reich. And though, even then it seemed inevitable that things would change and politicians would disagree and that citizens would protest, for that moment the world remembered.

For the first time I felt overwhelmingly proud to be an American.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Fishing Song...

The Phantom of the Uterus
(Dedicated to the lovely fisherwomen of BOTB)

Heartburn, it haunted me
The nausea came
My boobies are so sore
Hormones I blame

All of these symptoms
Taunt womankind
The Phantom of the Uterus is there...
Inside your mind

My temperature today
Was very low
An implantation dip?
Or will I start my flow?
Evaporation lines
Cruelly spellbind
The Phantom of the Uterus is there...
Inside your mind

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Three Years Ago

Three years ago I was in New Hampshire at swing dance camp.

Yes, I said swing dance camp. Go ahead and ridicule me, but it was awesome. Fucking awesome, even (cough cough, Jay Ferris). One of my friends from swing dancing down here in the Midatlantic had volunteered to check in on my cat Alyosha to make sure all his basic needs were being met. I checked my voicemail one afternoon and it was my cat sitter, informing me that Aly had defecated on the rug. I, to be honest, was not surprised, seeing how Aly uses pooping on carpet as his way of showing displeasure with his circumstances. To ensure that my cat sitter didn't back out before I left for my vacation, I had omitted this detail about my devil cat's behavior. The cat sitter wanted to know if he should be concerned and requested that I return his call. But before I did, I was struck with a gut-wrenching feeling.

I had been getting that feeling more and more often, especially when I was around my cat sitter, or even when I thought about him. It felt oddly like those butterflies you get when you have a crush. But no, surely not! I DEFINITELY DID NOT LIKE THE CAT SITTER (like that). I couldn't! He was old! And a dancer! (I never liked dancers!) And he was a vegetarian! And didn't go to church anymore! No, no, maybe I just needed to poop, that would take care of the gut-wrenching feeling.

I decided to call the cat sitter back when I knew he would be out and away from his phone so I could leave a quick message telling him Aly was being his usual self and not get tied up in a conversation.

Ya know, so I could get to the bathroom on time since I obviously was going to need to poop .

Friday, August 28, 2009

Twenty-Nines Day 4 5

Let's just pretend I wrote a list yesterday, mmmkay? Something brilliant and witty that made you laugh and cry, all in one post. We'll ignore the fact that I was actually in a funk and my imagination had run dry.

Today is my birthday! I'm sure there will be multiple days that I forget how old I am now and tell the treadmill that I am still 28, but when my knees hurt the morning after a run I will remember that I am, in fact, an old fart. Victor invited some friends over for the night for a "wine and (ice cream) cuppycake" party and tomorrow night we're planning to go to a nice dinner together. That is, if he remembered to get reservations (ahem).

Twenty-Nine things I Learned in my Twenty-Ninth Year
1). Marriage is hard work. Those butterflies in your stomach subside after a while and some days it's a lot harder to love your spouse like you should.
2). That hard work is so worth it. Because nothing beats the comfort that comes with complete trust.
3). It's crucial to have separate time and interests from your spouse.
4). I don't hate the environment. I never ACTUALLY hated the environment but I didn't see any reason to go out of my way to help it. But this year something clicked. I'm carrying reusable bags and researching cloth diapers. As a result, my uber-conservative family thinks I'm one step away from moving to California and throwing away all my hair removal products.
5). I can vote democratic without being sent straight to hell. Or California (though it was a close call).
6). I want a baby, bad. Obviously.
7). Having a baby is not easy. It's not nearly as easy as they tell you in high school health class.
8). Making a baby sometimes isn't even fun. It's full of dashed hopes, compulsion, and anxiety.
9). I need to write. Having been so entrenched in science I had forgotten how good it feels to have the words just...flow (words other than "the results clearly indicate"). There are still more hiccups in my writing than I'd like, but it is starting to feel better.
10). I really like a clean house.
11). I get a lot of satisfaction from doing 'traditional' things for my husband. No, not THOSE things! (I still don't like that, sorry hon.) (Besides, that's not how we get number 4 accomplished.) Things like making him a good meal and ironing his shirts.
12). I am good at my job. As a general policy, I don't talk about work on here. But things were not so great and now they are. I truly love my job.
13). Even in my upper twenties, pink is still my favorite color.
14). Giving is fulfilling. I've always loved to give presents to friends and family, but now that we are in a position to make substantial financial donations to church and other causes, I really like it. This summer we paid half the tuition for my cousin to attend a class on human trafficking. She is 19 and passionate about working on this issue and I am so so happy that I could help.
15). I am the budget nazi. I love a budget. This probably won't surprise you if you read this post. I am truly in love with my budget spreadsheet.
16). It's really hard for me to maintain a weight. This year I've fluctuated up and down ten pounds multiple times. I need to work on finding a sustainable weight and way of eating.
17). Drinking myself silly is so not worth it. Someone please remind me of this fact tonight.
18). Maintaining long-distance friendships is even harder when you're married.
19). In fact, maintaining local friendships is harder when you're married. Especially if you're a recluse an introvert like me.
20). I should never have committed to making lists of twenty-nine things. That's a lot of things!
21). I regret a lot of things my mama predicted I'd regret like not keeping a journal consistently and quitting piano lessons.
22). I am becoming more like my mama every day.
23). Despite having lots of newer friends, I still cherish the old ones deeply.
24). I really appreciate my southern roots.
25). I have a strong longing to write about my past but getting started is hard.
26). I want to learn more about my family.
27). I might have a problem with anxiety.
28). It's okay that my idea of a perfect afternoon is reading and napping on the couch while listening to the rain outside.
29). Victor really values our coats, remember?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Twenty-Nines: Day Three

Imagine you're walking down the street and you see me and you say to yourself, "Loretta's blog has just been so lame awesome recently, I should buy her a present to bribe her to stop writing thank her for her never-ending entertainment". Imagine you didn't know what to buy me. After today you'll always know.

Twenty-Nine Things that are Always a Good Present for Loretta
1). Tea roses.
2). Anything made by C.O. Bigelow.
3). A soy chai latte from The Daily Grind. It makes me go "CariWHO Coffee?"
4). Flip-flops from J-Crew.
5). Season(s) of Sex and the City aka the BEST TV SHOW EVER MADE.
6). Expensive, pretty workout clothes.
7). A personal chauffeur so I don't have to drive myself to and from work.
8). Origins "A Perfect World" moisturizer.
9). Cuppycakes. Preferably those with ice cream in them.
10). A bottle of Pinot Grigio.
11). One of those alarm clocks that is attached to a lamp that wakes you up by gradually illuminating.
12). iTunes gift card.
13). Chanel No. 5 products.
14). Nice "lounge" clothes.
15). Matching bra and underwear sets.
16). Paraphernalia from my alma maters.
17). A burger from Arties with cheese and mustard (conveniently located at the junction of MD-108 and 32).
18). Gift cards to Barnes and Noble.
19). Thin Mints or Samoas.
20). Clinique lip gloss. I'm a summer, mmmkay?
21). Elsa Peretti earrings from Tiffanys to match my bracelet.
22). Monogrammed recipe cards.
23). Low-fat Greek yogurt. I can never justify the cost.
24). Barbecue shipped directly from Eastern NC.
25). A poster of Frankie Manning dancing from Life magazine.
26). A pretty travel coffee mug with a handle.
27). Gloves made for fat fingers.
28). Subscription to Shape or Fitness magazine. I be needing it these days.
29). A personal assistant.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

29: Day 2

Say you're walking down the street and you see me and you think to yourself, "Loretta's blog has gotten so lame, I really want to make her pay." Today's list will help you on your quest. All of the below items have proved to seriously irk me.

Twenty-Nine Ways to Aggravate Me

1). Poke my upper arm.
2). Use your outside voice, inside.
3). Drive under the speed limit.
4). Talk on your cell phone while driving.
5). Forget everything I tell you within five minutes and ask me to repeat what I said.
6). Walk very slowly.
7). Walk very quickly, my legs are short.
8). While drunk, hug me and pretend that you love me even though you never talk to me when you're sober.
9). Have bad breath.
10). Stink.
11). Wear too much perfume.
12). Hum incessantly.
13). Allow your child to press every button in the elevator.
14). Scream mean things at your child, especially in a public place.
15). Constantly correct your child.
16). Talk about how hard it is to lose weight despite eating junk food and drinking frappaccinos every day.
17). Take the elevator to the second floor (unless you are injured).
18). Do something the slow way when a faster way has been pointed out to you. (Note: this does not apply during sex).
19). Call a meeting when the issue in question could be resolved in an impromptu 5 minute discussion or over email.
20). Ask me to do something, then email me three minutes later repeating the same exact request despite my already having agreed to do it.
21). Put anything you have said in the past in quotation marks and attribute the quotation to yourself.
22). Make me clap every time someone says anything in a meeting.
23). Splash water all over a public bathroom counter.
24). Ask me to hold a pine cone and then draw a picture or write a poem about how said pine cone brings me closer to God.
25). Make lame excuses for not doing something you should have done.
26). Blame anything you do on your parents or the devil.
27). Argue for 10 minutes with the grocery check-out girl over a $0.50 price difference on one item.
28). Honk at me when I'm walking in a crosswalk.
29). Appear on an episode of "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant"

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Week of Twenty-Nines

This Friday is my (first) 29th birthday. To come up with something new to post celebrate I'll be posting lists of 29 things every day this week.

Today I'm going to open up and be vulnerable. I'm going to really let you in to my personal feelings. Today I've got 29 Songs I'm Embarrassed are on My iPod:

1. Achy Breaky Heart (Billy Ray Cyrus)
2. Baby Baby (Amy Grant)
3. Barbie Girl (Aqua) (On a side note, I once took a "What is Your Stripper Song" and this was the result. I have never stripped to this song. Or any other song.)
4. Brown-Eyed Handsome Man (Chuck Berry)
5. Can't Touch This (MC Hammer) This song is more embarrassing once you know it's on my "pump up workout" song list.
6. Chubby Clementine (Bobby Darin)
7. Da Doo Run Run (Crystals)
8. End of the Road (Boyz II Men)
9. French Poodle (Sam Butera) I highly recommend that you do not look up the meaning of "french poodle" on Really.
10. Friends are Friends Forever (Micheal W. Smith)
11. My Prerogative (Bobby Brown)
12. God Bless America (LeeAnn Rimes) From her "You Light up my Life: Inspirational Songs" album.
13. Hats off to Larry (del Shannon)
14. Heal the World (Michael Jackson) This one is slightly less embarrassing now that the artist is deceased. A little.
15. Hey Girl, Hey Boy (Big Sandy)
16. Hopelessly Devoted to You. The sing-along version. Like mother like daughter.
17. How am I Supposed to Live Without You? (Micheal Bolton)
18. I'd Like to Teach the World To Sing (Lea Salonga)
19. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (Gayla Peevey, whoever that is)
20. I Want it That Way (Backstreet Boys)
21. Le Freak (Chic)
22. Let's Get Ready to Rumble (ESPN JockJams). See number 5.
23. Little Queenie (Chuck Berry, again)
24. Lollipop (Ben Kweller)
25. Love me for a Reason (The Osmonds)
26. A Moment Like This (Kelly Clarkson, from when she won American Idol)
27. Mr. Heat Miser (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy)
28. Listen (Beyonce, from Dream Girls)
29. Greatest Love of All (Whitney Houston)

Monday, August 17, 2009

The One Where Loretta Reveals that she has Problems

I am a planner. I enjoy nothing more than devising a plan and then seeing it be executed. When I was in college the most exciting day of the year was when registration for the next semester started. And it wasn't just because I was just so nerdy that I couldn't wait to decide on new classes (although, I am that nerdy). It was because I could make a PLAN! A SCHEDULE! Oh rapture!

I would first decide on the courses I wanted or needed to take and write them into an hour-by-hour grid that I made up on my computer. This grid usually went from about 7 am until 10 pm. Then I'd add all my extra activities to the list: field hockey, eating house officers meeting, etc etc. And then? The completely insane fun part began! I'd look at the open blocks in my schedule and figure out where other aspects of my life fit. No classes until 11:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays meant that those were perfect days to go to the gym first thing and then eat a leisurely breakfast at the Commons (the cafeteria) before heading back to my room to shower and get dressed. The hour-long break between my 8:30 and 10:30 classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that some may view as inconvenient? Just the perfect amount of time to practice the piano! So I'd write all these things in my wonderful little grid and relish the precise efficiency of my planned days. I printed out my grid and stuck a copy in my library carrel, a copy in my room and a copy in my planner. I loved the planning and even more, I loved knowing exactly what I would be doing at 2:36 on Thursday afternoon.

Now that I am in a stage of life where I have NO IDEA even where I might be living (and in what kind of house/apartment? and on how much of a salary? and what kind of hours will Victor have?) in as little as a month from now? It's MADDENING! Any day now Victor could get called for an interview and any number of days after that he could get a job offer and then...CHAOS! My mortal enemy could come knocking on the door with little or no warning.

Hold me.

The fact that I can't plan out one specific route means I spend a good portion of my mental energy planning out lots of less-specific routes. I plan out when we could move, what kind of house we could buy or whether we'd rent for a while first for pretty much every decent-sounding job opportunity Victor mentions to me. I spend hours perusing to estimate what Victor's salary might be in any particular job. Then I spend more hours drooling at houses on realtor. com based on said salary range. Sometimes I even write out a mock budget to reassure myself that it could work. Whenever a job opportunity falls through I feel like I'm losing something. I had made PLANS! What about that cute little townhouse within walking distance to Victor's prospective office? Lost, forever! While my melodrama may cause you to roll your eyes it causes me a great deal of emotional distress. Nothing is quite so bad as plans not working.

I'm feeling this pain even more so as we try to conceive. Every month I think about if it does work, when we'll tell family, when we'll find out the sex, and how fantastic it would be to have a February March April , no MAY! baby. And every time my temperature drops or I see just one pink line I have to regroup and tell myself that we have another chance. And when I finally do get those two pink lines ? When Victor finally does get that great job offer? It won't matter how inconvenient I had previously thought the timing might have been. It'll be time to plan, for real.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Things that Have Made me Cry this Week:

-A failed experiment at work

-My workload in general

-Reading a note that one of my oldest friends was in labor

-Hearing that said friend had a beautiful baby boy

-A really slow truck on a two-lane highway with no passing

-The birth of every baby on the SIX baby reality shows I watched during my sick/mental health day

-When the kids on 16 and Pregnant gave their baby to an adoptive couple

-When I couldn't grate an apple without it becoming a mess

-When cycle #3 of trying to conceive ended, this morning

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mother-Daughter Bonding

Last night Victor and I were talking about labor (the kind that produces a baby) and joking (or he better have been) that he'll ask the doctor to add a few extra stitches in my girly bits for his enjoyment. Or, he suggested, I could just do lots of certain exercises to keep things nice and snug.

And then I had a flashback to my childhood. I was probably 4 or 5, still young enough to let my mama in the bathroom with me. I was on the toilet and every few seconds she would say "stop!" or "start!", sort of like my high school basketball coach would while we did push-ups when she was pissed at us. Which was a lot. But anyway, my mama was not referring to me doing calisthenics (because that would be wrong) (although, not nearly as wrong as the truth), she was telling me to stop and start my urine stream.

Internet, my mama was teaching me KEGALS! When I was in preschool! If memory serves correctly she told me practicing this exercise regularly was very important for women. Let the males say "amen!"

Now, my mama is very naive and there is a possibility that she was only encouraging me to develop fine bladder control without even considering the other uses of these exercises. But if not? I can only imagine her thinking that if I followed her advice I'd have a very happy husband. I'm not sure that is what was meant by the whole "women teach your daughters" thing.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another Inappropriate Product Review

After the less-than-delightful escapades with this product, I decided to try something different this cycle. FertileCM is a supplement that claims to increase natural fertile-quality cervical mucous. In the past few months I haven't had all that much so I decided to give it a try.

I've been taking FertileCM three times daily since it arrived early in my cycle. I'm normally skeptical of non-FDA approved supplements but the main ingredient is l-arginine, an essential amino acid. So I figured, I'm just boosting up what my body needs anyway. I'm pleased to report that this product does exactly what it claims to do, at least before ovulation. When I first started taking it I'd have random gushes of fluid, then nothing for several hours. But when I made an effort to drink more water during the day the presence of mucous became more consistent and eventually thinned it out to the appropriate texture. In fact, I've had 10 straight days of fertile-quality fluid and if I don't ovulate soon Victor and I are going to die from exhaustion.

But at least we'll die happy (wink wink, nudge nudge).

FertileCM worked well enough that I didn't need any additional "help" getting geared up for the blessed events, which is always a plus. Obviously the ultimate in positive feedback would be me getting pregnant, but for now I'll give this product an 'A'.

So to the company that makes it, you can send my endorsement checks to...

Just kidding.

Friday, July 31, 2009

How to Woo Your Wife: Baby-Making Edition

Me: :pouting:
Victor: What's wrong? I'm going to sleep.
Me: We talked about this's Wednesday.
Victor: Wednesday?? Oh, is this about those strips of paper in the bathroom?
(he was referring to ovulation prediction tests)
Me: :sigh: Yes.
Victor: Oh. Sorry, I forgot.
Me: Harumph.
Victor: you want to do it?
Me: No.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's Ten O'Clock Somewhere

Dedicated to those of us who think the real happy hour is when we get to go to bed.
(to the tune of "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" performed by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett)

The sun’s still up and that old clock is moving slow
And so am I
The evening passes like molasses in wintertime
Cause it’s July
I’m getting drowsier by the hour and older by the minute
Cooking dinner just pushed me over the limit
I need to do some chores
But I think I’ll call it a day

So turn the lights down nice and low
I’ve got to get up real early tomorrow
It’s only half past eight, but I don’t care
It’s ten o’clock somewhere

This siesta is gonna take ten full hours
A lovely night
My husband tells me his shirts need to be ironed
But that’s all right
I haven’t done any laundry in over a week
The dust situation here is getting pretty bleak
If the husband should freak
I’ll say to do it himself

So turn the lights down nice and low
I’ve got to get up real early tomorrow
It’s only half past eight, but I don’t care
It’s ten o’clock somewhere
I could have some caffeine, but see, that would mean
Not getting sleep until two
At a moment like this I can’t help but wonder
What would Garfield do?

So turn the lights down nice and low
I’ve got to get up real early tomorrow
It’s only half past eight, but I don’t care
It’s ten o’clock somewhere

Friday, July 24, 2009

Seven Words No One Ever Wants to Hear Their Mother Say

"I put some videos of myself online."

And if that's not bad enough..."wanna see?"

My mama, like me, loves to sing. But unlike me who limits singing to serenading my steering wheel, bar of soap, and husband (not at the same time), she has subscribed to a karaoke web site. The site has the music to lots of songs so the user can record themselves singing the words for all the Internet to hear. And now? She has a web cam. So she can exhibit both her vocal prowess as well as her mad dancing skills.


We're on the phone and she encourages me to watch her latest video in which she has discovered that she can TURN THE CAMERA to face somewhere other than the computer chair. (Isn't technology amazing?) So she doesn't have to limit her dancing to bobbing her head and swaying in her chair. No, she can stand up and have unrestricted movement. Except, the camera doesn't move with her. It's just not that smart. Or else it is that smart and it is trying to minimize the pain inflicted on the viewer.

Yes, the pain. From being doubled over in laughter for the duration of the song.

Picture a woman in her mid-fifties who is wearing a nightgown with un-"done" hair and no makeup. Also, no bra. Singing (but not really because she is no longer facing the computer screen that has the words) "Working my Way Back to You". (I'm not 100% sure this song was the correct one. I have mortification-induced amnesia). At the beginning of the video she isn't sure where the camera is pointing so the only thing you see is one (unbridled) boob (behind the nightgown, obviously). Eventually she backs up and so you can see my mama in all her glory. She starts looking bored with the simple swaying and so she tries out a number of in-place dance moves. Finally she decides to stick with what she knows and begins walking in place like she does during her aerobic walking video. There's some simple marching and some "single, single, double" patterns.

I, still on the phone with my mama during the viewings, try to give compliments to her dance moves and artistic license (including altering the video so you only see her outline in neon green as she sings "It's My Party") while wiping the tears from my face. Meanwhile Victor can't decide whether it is most prudent for him to leave the room, die, or stare in wonder at what he fears his wife may become. Behold, my husband, your future.

As we were getting ready for bed Victor says, "You know, everyone should be more like your mama."

Friday, July 17, 2009

How to Know You've Been Watching Too Much of "The West Wing"

I was preparing for a skit at a camp for kids in foster care I have worked at for several summers. In the skit with me were: a girl from college who is now a (semi-) professional actress, a guy from college who was very gay and also into theater, and...Josh Lyman (pictured above, otherwise known as Bradley Whitford).

The skit involved three sheep and their shepherd, I'm not too clear on the details. Josh Lyman was skeptical about the whole thing and kept insisting he be given the smallest role, in case the President called him and he couldn't be there. We were practicing and the gay guy kept telling Josh that he needed to amp up his "baaaas" and the actress girl airily pranced around the stage singing her "baaaas" in an operatic tone.

You know how some dreams are so realistic you wake up thinking they really happened? This one wasn't like that. Because if I were in a skit with Josh Lyman? No way I'd remember my lines.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Maybe He Shouldn't be Working in a Bookstore?


Kid: Do you have a book called "The New Kid"?

Bookstore Cashier: How do you spell that?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Right to Privacy

I have been thinking a lot over the past few days about this blog and what I want it to be. If you've been reading for a while (or even just my last post) you know that I'm fairly open and candid. At the moment I feel perfectly free to write about my personal life because no one in my personal life (other than Victor) reads this blog. But I'm getting to the point where I might want to open up my blog to some close friends. I love to write here and part of me wants to bump up my view count share this part of my life with them.

But I worry. About how sharing may cause me to edit my content. About how someone I don't particularly want to read my blog might accidentally hear about it. And I feel responsible to protect the privacy and dignity of my family. Not just mine, or even Victor's, but that of other people who are close to me who might be just a little bit SHOCKED AND APPALLED that their beloved daughter/granddaughter/cousin/niece/fellow church member is writing about GIRLY BITS and UNDERWEAR and (the worst of all) SPERM-FRIENDLY LUBE on the INTERNET!

I've thought about having another blog, one where I write for my friends and family. But I think that would only serve to take away from my very limited time to write here. Also? It would suck. For example, my narrative of yesterday might go something like this:

"Yesterday we went to church. Andy preached on the sixth commandment. It was good. But I had a headache so I went out to sit in the concourse for the last five minutes. Then we went home and I took a long nap, a mistake since I had trouble sleeping later. I made shrimp tacos for dinner and we watched "Blood Diamond". It was sad."

Okay, I might be exaggerating. Or not, based on some blogs I've encountered. But even spiced up a little bit? BOOORRRIINNNG!

I am pretty impressed with people who write under their full names and can make it interesting without getting too personal. To me though, the personal is what inspires me to write at all. The stuff I don't share with everyone but I want to, need to, release.

For now I'm keeping this blog open only to those who serendipitously find it on the great Interwebs. I think after a while, perhaps once I'm pregnant or once I have children, I'll start to give some select people the address and see what happens. Will they receive it well? Or will I have to move to Lithuania, change my name, and dye my hair?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Product Review, in Which I Completely Eliminate Any Semblence of Discretion

Let's discuss this product.

Pre-seed is pitched as a lubricant for couples trying to conceive. Most products are known to be hostile to sperm. As seeing a dark test line on an ovulation predictor kit isn't enough to get most women in the mood, it's good to have some help that won't defeat the purpose of the rendez-vous. Pre-seed is not and actually mimics the kind of fluid that your body should be producing naturally

This stuff comes with an applicator and instructions to fill said applicator to the 3 (unit of measurement unknown). It looked like an awful lot to me so I only used half of what was recommended. And unless thirty minutes of frantic slip-and-sliding followed by much oozing and complete exhaustion is what tickles your fancy I would not recommend even half of the prescribed dosage.

So much for our clean sheets.

Round two I only applied to the 0.5 line, one third of my original try. With this amount there was not as much slip-and-sliding or oozing, but the completion was still more labor-intensive than when performed au natural.

The final round of pre-ovulation nookie I decided to skip the applicator altogether and just use a pea-sized amount with my finger. Much better, both Victor and I agreed. (wink wink).

My final decision on product endorsement will come in approximately 9 days. At which point I'll either pack our wine stock away or break into it and drink away my cramps.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


When I was four my mama gave me this book:

Internet, there are pictures of HAIRY FAT NEKKID people in this book. Having SEX! This book gave all the facts of life in a "nonsense"-free way, as is advertised on the cover. Besides the basic facts of baby-making and delivering, I also learned that sex feels really good but you can only do it for a short period of time lest you become overwhelmed.

Or something.

My mama was very upfront about anatomy, puberty, and sex when my brother and I were kids. As a result, we knew a lot more about these things than our friends. I was always surprised to hear friends make comments that were obviously NOT CORRECT, (I was very keen on the CORRECT as a child) whether it be a nickname for their girly bits or a vague reference to storks.

Now that I spend time on a babies-related discussion board I am still shocked by some adult women's complete lack of knowledge about the reproductive process. Questions like:
Can I take birth control so that I don't get pregnant even though I already am pregnant?
Can you be pregnant and still get a period?
I had sex yesterday and today my boobs hurt: could I be pregnant?

I'll confess that part of the reason I love this discussion board so much is because of the crazy questions we get sometimes. And the carnage that always follows. But it's still shocking to me that such ignorance can be perpetuated.

And so the other day when I was telling my mama about an especially ridiculous question on the board.
Me: I can't believe how little some people know!
Mama: Well, until [her best friend] had a baby (when my mama was 21) I thought that babies came out of your butt instead of the other side.
Me: (stunned silence)

Thank goodness for sex ed. Otherwise I'd have to question everything my mama taught me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Not California Dreamin'

Remember this news? Victor found out yesterday he didn't get the job. I have to admit, I'm a little relieved. While I would have moved to LA and been happy that Victor was doing something he found interesting, I would have been really sad to move all the way across the country from my family. Three hundred miles is far enough.

A few other job opportunities are in the works. On the East Coast! Hopefully something will come through quickly.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Being "Bad"

When I was a kid my parents were very strict about the kinds of music I listened to and the movies I watched. Only G-rated and pre-screened PG movies were permitted. We mainly listened to oldies with some Natalie Cole mixed in and one time when a George Michael video came on TV my parents changed the channel and gave us a lecture about what a BAD MAN he was.

Not being allowed to watch and listen to the forbidden media naturally just made me more curious to find out why such things were in fact forbidden. And I did.

Such is the purpose of cool aunts.

My mom's youngest sister, Jackie, is ten years younger than her and only 15 years older than me. She got married when I was six (a story for another day) and she and her husband Greg were much cooler and more worldly than any other family members. I loved spending the night with them, mainly because they would let me watch and listen to things that weren't allowed at home. And to a ten-year old kid there is nothing better than spending your Friday night watching PG-13 movies without your parents knowing.

Kindergarten Cop and Turner and Hooch are the movies I remember best. Jackie and Greg would also play their illicit music. Like Michael Jackson's "Bad" album. I have vivid memories of trying to moonwalk around their small house while singing "I'm bad, I'm bad." And I FELT "BAD"! Maybe it was "DANGEROUS". My parents would have strongly disapproved if they knew what I was doing and that being bad was just so good.

These memories were the first that flooded my mind at nine o'clock last night when Ann Curry's voice informed us of Michael Jackson's death. I feel like a part of my childhood has died. The part where even doing such harmless things as dancing to the King of Pop at my aunt's house felt so cool.

Now that I'm an adult listening to Michael Jackson (and really, pretty much anything else) doesn't feel risky. I'm allowed. But while freedom is nice, there was something so enchanting about that rush of being "Bad".

Monday, June 22, 2009

Things I Learned this Weekend

1). Do not get in line at the grocery behind a couple wearing matching "Proud Daschound Owner" t-shirts. Unless of course, you like standing in line.

2). Fan dancing = wearing lingerie and making eyes at random men.
Our local lindy hop group hosted a weekend with some very talented instructors. The woman demonstrated a fan dance during one of the band breaks at the evening dance. After she was finished the following conversation took place.
Kara: Jason, you have some drool on your chin.
Jason: oh, that must be...because I was cheering so much.

3). After a month without lindy hop, a weekend of doing it exclusively leads to serious pain.

4). I am not pregnant. Thankfully mercy was bestowed upon me and my cramps and nausea were fairly mild. On to month two.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And lead me not into temptation...

...but deliver me from pee sticks.

Today is nine days past ovulation and even though I know there is a minuscule chance of a pregnancy being detected by now, I still tested and proceeded to squint at the test for ten minutes until the evaporation line appeared. I woke up this morning determined not to test but somewhere between my bed and the toilet my resolve disappeared. I guess that's why I buy cheap tests.

Despite the fact that it's so early, I feel very pessimistic about this cycle. There's something in me that wonders, "how could I ever get pregnant?" Part of it is due to some doctors from my past who diagnosed me with some things that meant I would never hit puberty, let alone be a mom. They said I'd be under five feet, flat-chested, and a little dumb. At the time they made this diagnosis I was a straight-A student, but that didn't faze them. They told my mom, in front of me, that when I got a little older my intellectual limitations would manifest themselves.

Obviously they were wrong. I hit puberty, grew over five feet, acquired boobs, and continued making sweet grades. I've got tampons, normal-sized clothing, bras, and some impressive diplomas to prove it. But their statements to me have made a big impact on how I view myself as a woman. While all of the above things partially helped relieve me from their diagnosis, I think bearing a child will be my final vindication.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New template

As promised, I've changed my background. Citrus is considered summery, but where I live it tastes the best in the winter.

I still like it though.

It Starts

Throughout this first real two week wait I've been trying to decide what kind of things in my life I will change when I am pregnant. Of course I'll stay away from the obvious things: alcohol, cat litter (I consider this a major SCORE), raw fish, cocaine...

(Just kidding)

(Not kidding that I'll stay away from cocaine, kidding that I'd do it at all)

Anyway. There are other things in pregnancy where the jury is still out: they may be bad, they may only be bad in excess, or they could be just fine. Take caffeine. While I don't usually drink a ton of caffeine, I'm addicted to what I do drink. Victor weaned us both down to drinking half-caf in the morning and then I have some chai tea in the afternoon. Most of the literature says that it's okay to have less than 200-300 mg each day, so reasonably I know I should be fine.


What if something did happen? If something happened to my baby and I had done anything at all that could be considered somewhat risky I know I would blame myself. And I'm not sure I can handle that kind of guilt.

Obviously every day will be a risk. Driving with a seat belt, breathing in inescapable fumes, for me even walking down the stairs could present a risk. I can't avoid those things.

I'm beginning to think that pregnancy will only be the start of the worry. SIDS, choking, falling, contagious diseases, car crashes... I can just imagine how these things will make me crazy when I have a real live kid.

Loretta, meet motherhood. Oh dear.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Klassy with a K

Neglecting to send a thank-you note OR an invitation to your wedding to the person who throws you a shower.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The First Two Week Wait

So here we go friends. Settle in for two weeks (okay face it, I'm going to test at 10 days past ovulation) of being hyper aware of everything in my body. Even though Fertility Friend hasn't given me crosshairs yet, I'm fairly certain that I ovulated on Sunday. So I should know for sure if this cycle was successful by Father's Day weekend and I can't think of any better way to celebrate than to shove a urine-soaked pee stick in Victor's face.

Of course, if I'm not pregnant I'll celebrate by having debilitating cramps and then drinking heavily.

Sounds fun, no?

Victor is leaving for a work trip to Italy today, so I'll be a single gal until Sunday. I hate when we leaves, but I try to make the best of it by indulging in my single gal behaviors like eating mushrooms, dancing to loud Madonna music, and busting out the old guitar and singing.

I suck at the guitar. SUCK.

In other news, my prospects for being a sane older woman are looking dim. At the beach I played (and kicked ass at) Upwords with my parents one night. While my mama was thinking of her next play she says "that's okay honey". Huh? I asked who she meant. "Oh, I was just talking to myself."

My mama calls herself honey, Internet.

She verified it as my dad shook his head grimly.

Here's hoping I inherited my mental health from my dad.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Maybe I Did Marry a Woman?

On Sunday Victor suggested we go for a walk on the beach. He's ready.

We decided to ease into the "trying" process. I've heard plenty of stories of guys feeling the pressure when it comes to trying to conceive and it affecting their...

Well, you know.

I can see it now.

Victor comes home from work. I'm naked from the waist down. "Oh hubby," I call in a frantic voice. "My cervix is super-high and the stuff in there is really stretchy! Wanna see?!"

"" Victor offers.

"Oh, come on, don't you want to see what your boys will be swimming in soon?"

(Victor runs out the door. I chase him screaming "but I need your SPERM NOOOOWWWW!!")


So for now I'm just going to make sure the baby dancing (a phrase I will never use again because it is stupid) occurs at the right time. If we don't see the correct amount of pink lines in a few months we'll think about changing some things to increase our odds.

Like Victor's underwear.

Not that he doesn't change his underwear, I just mean the style.

Wow, I just told the Internet that my husband wears tighty whities. I'm sure he'll be in the mood now.

Let the insanity begin. And pass the pineapple.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I am not very funny at 7am

I am currently at my favorite place in the whole wide world. This week will entail sleeping, reading, walking outside and laying on a towel to read and sleep some more, and eating. And playing with a really freaking cute baby. Who likes me. I'm hoping that all the cute baby time will make Victor crazy and say "baby, let's go make our own!"

But, I married a man, not a hormonal woman.

So that probably won't happen.

We're here with my parents, my brother and his girlfriend, the people who would be my godparents if I had any, their son, his wife, and their 364 day old baby. My blogging will probably be limited but I will try my best to entertain you with stories of my insane family and the orange tan, pink blush, peroxide blond, permed hair types we're sure to encounter.

And, a reference to a dead German composer in the women's bathroom at a barbecue joint we hit on the way here. I have a picture.

Have a good week, y'all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Klassy with a K

Getting drunk from gin and tropical punch Crystal Light that you drink out of a wine glass.

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Not Over til the Red Lady Sings

...But sing she did. To the tune of spending an hour of Saturday night on the bathroom floor doubled over in pain and sweating through my clothes. The only thing worse than a Big Fat Negative is when it is accompanied by crippling cramps and, er, potty issues.

I'm feeling pretty sad these days. I made the mistake of getting my hopes up thanks to a nice non-implantation dip in my temps eight days after I ovulated. The other thing is that we're not sure if any "trying" will occur next month. A BFP this time around would have been unintentional (ya know what I mean?) (I mean, the goalie was there, but maybe missed a few pucks), but although Victor agreed that he would have been delighted if it had occurred, he doesn't feel quite secure enough about his job situation to INTENTIONALLY try.

I cannot wrap my head around it, as hard as I'm trying.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blogger Woes and Hallucinations

What is wrong with Blogger? It decided to take away all my line and paragraph breaks, not only in new posts but in my old posts too! Now I have to enter the line break symbol twice every time I want a space instead of just pressing enter.

And we know I can't live without line breaks.

It's really not too bad I guess, but I need to go back to my old posts to fix them now. ANNOYING.

In other news, do y'all know if hallucinations are an early pregnancy symptom? See, I peed on a stick today (actually, in a cup in which I dipped a stick) and I could have sworn I saw a line when I held it up to the light, tilted it just right, and squinted.

Victor says he didn't see anything, but he's a pessimist so I am trying to ignore him.

We're on 12dpo folks. The most convincing thing to me is that normally by this time I feel incredibly grumpy but today I'm pretty happy and extremely punchy. No cramps, no sore boobies, nothing. So yeah, my phantom symptom is the lack of symptoms.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Someone Likes Me!

Aw, yay! Buckin nominated me for the Sisterhood Award. I'm not exactly sure of the meaning, but here are the provisions:

1) Put the logo on your blog or post.
2) Nominate at least 5 blogs with great attitude and/or gratitude. Be sure to link to your nominees in your post.
3) Let your nominees know they have received the award by leaving them a comment on their blog.
4) Be sure to link this post to the person who nominated you for the award.

Okay y'all, here are some blogs that have said "great attitude" along with great writing:
Maybe if You Just Relax
Here We Go Again
Being Brazen
Misadventures of a Newlywed
When Hello Means Goodbye

Thanks Buckin!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Perfect Post

A blogger I recently I started following just posted this meme. Since I have nothing overly creative to say today, I thought I'd give it a whirl.

The perfect outfit: A sundress, J-Crew flip flops, and pearls. Classy and comfortable.

The perfect meal: Shrimp and grits, collard greens, fried okra, and corn bread.

The perfect hangover cure: Gatorade. The first time I had a real hangover in college I drank about a gallon. It actually belonged to my roommate but I hid the empty container replaced it.

The perfect facial feature: I notice people's eyelashes. True story: my friend introduced me to some guy in college she had decided was the best looking boy she'd ever seen. When she asked me what I thought I said "his eyelashes are so long!" Muscles wha?

The perfect drink: Gin sour. It's the non-girly girly drink. Sweet, yet sophisticated.

The perfect song: "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" by Whitney Houston. Really, I love it. It's the perfect song for dancing or for singing like a diva. Or both.

The perfect sign of affection: Meeting me in the hall when I come home to tell me you are cooking dinner as you hand me a glass of wine.

The perfect afternoon: A nap on the couch with the windows open on a nice day.

The perfect vacation: Sunset Beach, NC. I've been pretty much every year since I was 10. There is nothing to do except lounge, read, and walk. I think vacations should be relaxing.

The perfect invention: Victor and I are going to make our millions by inventing it. Get this ladies: HEATED high heels. For those cold nights when closed-toed shoes just won't do.

The perfect type of wedding: The kind where even the old people are dancing.

The perfect album: ABBA Gold.

The perfect accent: A Southern drawl, y'all. Like mine.

The perfect date: Hiking. I'm not normally an outdoorsy kind of girl but while hiking you can talk or not, maintain eye contact or not, and be wooed by nature.

The perfect weather: 76 degrees, sunny, and a light breeze.

The perfect party: I like smaller parties with a group of friends so that everyone can talk together.

The perfect sport: Basketball. Of the Tar Heels variety.

The perfect thing to say: "I love you for/because..." Specific examples are better than general statements.

The perfect day of the week: Sunday. I suspect once I have little people running around my house that I have to dress I'll change my mind, but for now it's perfect. Leisurely morning coffee, church, an afternoon nap, and quality time with Victor in the evening.

I tag everyone. Let me know if you do it and I'll come share the blog love.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This picture made me cry on Saturday:
It's of my Dad's mom, Alice Mae (little girl on the left) and her siblings. Alice died when my Dad was about 10 years old. She had rheumatic fever as a child and it left her with a heart defect. She died in her sleep and the morning my Grandpa discovered her he still got his three sons dressed and sent them to school.

I only learned these things several months ago.

See, we never talk about Alice. My Grandpa remarried when my Dad was still a kid. I'm not sure if we don't talk about Alice because it upsets my Grandma or because it's too painful. But recently, I've started really wanting to know.

In this picture of Alice I see my nose. And I want to know, what else did she give me?

I can see other parts of myself in other family members. My cautiousness from my mom's mom, my curiosity and love of reading from my mom, my rational thinking and quick temper from my dad.

What did Alice give me? Maybe my overdeveloped sense of justice? Or my laugh? Or my ghetto booty?

And even beyond what I got from my family, what I hope to become. My parents' forgiveness, my Granddaddy's hospitality and congeniality, my Granny's generosity, and my Grandpa's quiet kindness inspire me to become a better person. What would Alice have shown me?

I want to know. I want to know what kind of antics she pulled as a child. I want to know how she fell in love with my Grandpa and what it was like to have three sons in a cold, small North Dakota town. I want to know if her death was a surprise or expected. I want to know how my Grandpa managed to take care of his sons while mourning his wife. I want to know how my dad felt about his stepmother from the beginning and how they became a family.

It's my story too. And I want to know.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fire Drill

You know how they say that even after years of being together you are still learning about the person you marry? It's so true, and it often happens at unexpected moments.

Like last night.

At 2am the fire alarm in our building started buzzing. Both of us jumped out of bed and started throwing on clothes and shoes. My raincoat was on a chair so I put it on and picked up my keys and purse. I had a brief "is there anything valuable I want to grab?" moment, but quickly gave up and started out the door. Apparently Victor had the same kind of thoughts, but he did get some things on his way that I only noticed when we were heading down the stairs. This was an opportunity for me to learn what was truly important to my husband.

And I did. Maybe.

He got coats.

About 4-6 of them. In addition to the one he was wearing.

Granted, it is a little bit chilly for May these days, but when it comes down to being cold for a while versus being REALLY HOT in a burning building, I'd pick the cold. I'm not exactly sure what he was thinking as he raided the coat closet. Perhaps he was thinking of other residents who might have forgotten to bring out their coats? Maybe he thought he could use them to put on some flames to slow the spread of the fire?

I have no idea.

What I do know is that my husband picked a pile of coats over our wedding pictures, jewelry he had given me, and the cat.

I'll just keep loving him more every day.

(Note: the alarm was false. It stopped buzzing before we even got outside).

Monday, May 4, 2009

And They Call them Southern Gentlemen

I'm back! My reunion was great fun and I was able to see classmates I hadn't talked to for ten years. Legal stalking, a.k.a. Facebook, has allowed me to have some general idea of what everyone has been doing, but it's no substitute for real conversations and hugs.

All of the reunion classes (those ending in '4' and '9') were invited to an opening cocktail party at our school on Friday night. It was pretty crowded so getting around the room involved lots of maneuvering between old people. I guess I bumped into an older alum's husband (totally not the fault of the three glasses of wine I'd had) and he stopped Victor and said:

"Tell your wife not to bump into me and get me excited".

Excuse me?

Victor just laughed off the comment but I wish he had suggested the man tell me himself.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


This weekend Victor and I are headed down to our hometown for my 10-year high school reunion. I am so freaking excited!

I went to an all-girls boarding school (I was a day student for the first three years but boarded my senior year). Think Catholic school, except without the nuns (it was Episcopalian). Also, the only time we wore plaid skirts and knee socks was during field hockey games. I LOVED high school. Loved it. It wasn't just that we had a more college-like schedule or a beautiful campus with perks like lounges, a yummy cafeteria, and a bowling alley. The atmosphere was the perfect balance of freedom and structure. Sure, there were lots of rules, especially when I was a boarder. Every night at 7:30 a resident director would come down the hall screaming "Study Hall! Phones in the hall, doors open please!" We had to sign in and out every time we left or returned to campus. Once a week we had to get dressed up for dinner and sit with some faculty members. And 1-4x/week (it varied year-to-year) we had chapel. Ah, chapel. I'm fairly certain our chaplain smoked some feel-good substances, but even though her homilies generally had nothing at all to do with the scripture reading, they were always entertaining (in the raised eyebrows, side-eye kind of way). At the end of every chapel service we draped our arms around each other, swayed, and sang the school hymn. And this was what I loved about high school.

Tradition. ("Traditiooooon, tradition!) (sorry, I got carried away) (bonus points if you know that song). Not just the big traditions, like at Christmas when they put luminaries out around the front of campus and light up a large tree. Those were great, but it was the small things that made me glad everyday I was there. The tradition of our ninth grade advisor sitting with us during breaks while she did her crosswords and asked us about our lives. The tradition of the honor code, enabling us to leave our stuff laying around without worrying if it would still be there when we returned. And the tradition of the faculty and staff really KNOWING the students. Some of the most important discussions of my life were had with my history teacher and she even recommended for me to check out the college I eventually attended (and loved) because she just thought it would be a place that would suit me.

The fact that there were no boys immediately made things like clothes and makeup less important so we could be more relaxed, more "us". We could go to class in our pajamas, ask lots of questions in class, and sing Emily Dickinson poems jazz lounge-style in the middle of the cafeteria (true story, but only once). We were at home and most of us cried like babies the last time we sang that school hymn at graduation.

This weekend is sure to be full of lots of memories. And craziness.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Frankie Manning

I think I've mentioned before that Victor and I are pretty avid swing dancers. More specifically, we lindy hop. Lindy Hop was a dance that began in Harlem (like most kick-ass dances) in the 1920s. After the 1940s or so, it dissipated in the United States in favor of other swing varieties but in the 80s a few dancers went looking for the old-school performers who had starred in movies like A Day at the Races. And they found this guy. Frankie Manning had been a superstar dancer back in his day, but eventually moved back to Harlem and worked in a post office. When he was "re-discovered", dancers who had found his movies convinced him to come out of retirement and teach them how to lindy hop.

Did he ever. The lindy hop movement was the largest in the late 1990s (remember those Gap commercials?) but it still goes strong. Frankie traveled all over the world for the past two decades sharing his love of dance and his love of life. Victor and I were fortunate enough to take some classes with him a few years ago and at the age of 93, Frankie stayed standing (and dancing!) for an entire day of workshops. His energy was contagious and quite honestly, makes me ashamed to think of the times I didn't go dancing because I was "too tired" or even danced in half time to a fast song. Frankie never complained and always said that dancing kept him young.

Frankie Manning passed away today, shortly before his 95th birthday. He had planned to celebrate at a four day festival in New York and, as was his tradition, dance with 95 women consecutively to commemorate each year of his life. His death is being felt tremendously by the international community of dancers.

I'll be dancing tonight to honor Frankie, may he swing out in peace.