Thursday, November 20, 2008

libra rat with sheep ascendant

This is our daughter(!!!)'s seventh week.

Although these pictures were not taken this week, she still looks pretty much like this.

Monday, September 29, 2008

down the flume

228 to 205 to vote down the bailout. That's 433 out of 435. Not bad considering that my understanding of the daily usual in the House is a few people speaking to an empty hall, aside from the C-SPAN camera and the other few members on the list to talk that day who are still waiting their turn. A bit curious who the missing two are, although not quite curious enough to go search them out.

(Assumption that the information is available somewhere, and probably on the web. Whatever did we do before the Web? Yet it's only existed in its current expanded state for about a decade.)

Heh. The Yahoo link to the AP article is labeled "financial_meltdown". Dudes, y'all ain't seen nothin'. Even a 550+ drop in the Dow, where we are at the moment of writing, is only about 5 percent. The really big slides have been in the double digits. Although, maybe the computers kick in to prevent those happening all in one day now. Guess we'll see where we are in a week.

Interesting times, as they say. I know that's supposed to be a bad thing. I can't help finding it a bit exciting. I should really hold my excitement until I at least have a functioning vegetable garden again. Which, given imminent baby, is unlikely before, oh, ... I have no idea.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

one week late

Another nonstress test yesterday. Another round of happy (?) wiggling. I am getting contractions more often the last few days, but nothing has ended up coming of them yet. We set her a deadline, though, for later next week. If she's not out by then, we're a-gonna get her out.

I hope she decides to appear before then though; I'd rather she picked her own date. I know I don't like being interrupted when I'm in the middle of something.

Too bad she didn't pick yesterday; it would have been M's grandfather's birthday, who died just before we discovered I was pregnant. Of all the potential "target" dates in these couple weeks (and there are surprisingly many), that would have been particularly poetic. Ah well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

zero plus four

This would be a fun date for her to pick also: our engagement anniversary. But still no particular signs. I don't think Braxton-Hicks contractions count.

She was perfectly happy (nice and wiggly, anyway) during the nonstress test yesterday. Which is good. At least one of us is comfortable. :p

Monday, September 22, 2008

zero plus two

I confess to harboring a secret hope that she might be born on Bilbo and Frodo's birthday. I know I would have enjoyed that for myself, although I'm happy with my actual birthday which is also my dad's (and a great-grandfather's!). But still no signs so far that she's going to make it out today.

Turns out that those who care as much or more than me about such things have figured out that, due to differences between the hobbits' Shire Reckoning calendar and ours, September 22 in our calendar isn't actually their birthday anyway -- it was September 13, this year (due to this being a leap year). Oh well.

Shire Reckoning, by the way, has always seemed eminently more logical than our cobbled-together Gregorian, but the hobbits' old-school season-based holidays (Midsummer, Yule) that don't belong to any months would, I suppose, confuse too many people used to our modern three-day-shopping-weekend system.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

zero hour

So today is/was the due date. So far, it doesn't feel like anything's up today. Considering I myself was nearly two weeks late, this does not greatly surprise me.

I am really rawther ready for her to be out though. She's getting ... big. I am ready for my ankles not to puff up anymore, for it not to be such a chore to roll (literally) out of bed or get up from a chair, for visits to the bathroom to become less frequent, for my regular clothes to fit again (I know I've got a few months yet on that one). I don't know if I'm ready for one or two hour blocks of sleep, or diapering, but ready or not...

At least the house is more ready for her now. Bedrooms were painted several weeks ago. Nursery is ready. Crib, dresser with changing top, glider chair (I'm actually looking forward to trying the nursing, providing we both can get the hang of it OK), a few toys already in the closet along with diapers and various other gear. Clothes, blankets, check. Stroller, car seat, check.

But most of all, it's just the curiosity. I am so very interested to finally meet her.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

sock it to me

Baby's getting bigger. Not actually sure where six-ish more weeks of baby/me growth is supposed to go. But I guess this is how it works.

Bigger stronger baby is good, but it does mean that she has begun actually kicking or prodding me in my lower right rib, from time to time, in a rather painful way. As in IT REALLY HURTS. I don't want her to come out until she's ready to, but I am very ready for her to BE out, if you follow me.

...well, except that the nursery's not quite ready yet. We've been playing musical-furniture with the house while we reshuffle and reorganize, and fix things that need fixing, and figure out where everything is going to go. Today we're getting our internet cable moved from the front bedroom (formerly our computer room) to the familyroom, where for the next indeterminate length of time, our computers/desks will sit in the corner all "um, hi, pay no attention to us, just go ahead and watch the TV to your right there, enjoy." Meanwhile M's 40+ shortboxes of comics on their utility shelving are camping to the left of the fireplace, which situation may or may not be altered by the time cold fireplace-using weather arrives. Anyway, after our internet is moved and functional, we can paint the front bedroom. Then we can move our bedroom stuff into it. Then we can paint the nursery-to-be, formerly our bedroom. Then we can move the nursery furniture in and put the crib together and be finally ready.

The plan is for this all to be done by sooner than six weeks from now, so that paint fumes have time to dissipate properly. Seems a reasonable period of time, doesn't it? I think we can, I think we can...

Monday, July 07, 2008


I'm not one to go overboard on the saccharine even though we're having a girl. It's just not me. But when I was poking around on a forum and saw someone with a ticker similar to this one, it was the pea-in-a-pod "marker" that hooked me and made me want to make one. I'm unlikely to use it as a sig anywhere, but I had to succumb to the cuteness at least this much:

It's mainly the "ta-da!" of the pod-pea. Seems appropriate, since baby is big on making her presence felt, lately. oof. (It's a good thing.)

Monday, June 30, 2008

boom de yada!

I didn't get last Friday's XKCD until I read this post from someone who'd been in the same boat, who found out what it was: a Discovery Channel commercial that is 31 flavors of awesome. watchy watchy.

Apparently there are already people making other riffs on it. Note that since I have now discovered this meme, it must be at least half over, but I will be enjoying it for a while because I like the song so much. Another interesting bit of information from that forum thread was that the tune is from a children's song called "I Like the Flowers."

I have a strong suspicion that baby will become quite familiar with this tune in some version or another.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

wiggle POKE

For many weeks now I've been able to feel baby moving. It's a bit odd, hard to describe (but here I go, trying). There's the flutter, faint enough that I'm not always sure it was her. On the other end of the spectrum, there's the kick or punch that can make me say "guh!" out loud, like she's doing right now to my right side as I type. She seems to be over there a lot today. It doesn't hurt, exactly, it just feels reeeeallly strange (and also tends to take me by surprise). In between are a variety of things that feel kind of wiggly or gurgly or like a popping sort of sensation. There's also a thing that started more recently that I guess might be her turning around, a sort of tight feeling of slower constant movement for several seconds.

...dih. there she goes some more. liking the right abdominal wall this evening, yes indeed.

She seems to wake up and get moving somewhat consistently around 10-10:30 pm (among other times), when I tend to be going to bed. I know this is only a small hint of the battle that shall be waged against my sleep patterns (and won, by her) starting around three months from now. .... whee. but she will be cute and worth it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

cars and effects

Seems to me, over the last several months, the congestion of my freeway commute has been less bothersome than in the past. Not gone, just a bit less. For example, on some mornings in the past, my drive north on the 110/Harbor would go bumper-to-bumper starting just before the 105 interchange. That hasn't happened in months; the slowdown is still there, but it starts after I'm already past the interchange (varying by day exactly how far past, with congestion generally peaking Wednesdays barring random accidents). My evening return seems even smoother. Slow traffic south through downtown and a while after is not entirely unknown, but feels rarer and rarer.

Then the other week my mom mentioned driving down to Orange County or somewhere during the afternoon into rush "hour," and her surprise at how non-gridlocked it was, relative to historical comparisons. So while I don't have any hard data to support my perceptions, I think it's not just me. My mom and I suspect the gas prices.

(Image lifted from this Pandagon post because it is so awesome i wanted to share)

Despite my beloved Jetta's expensive 91-octane taste, I can (so far) afford the hit and appreciate the slightly clearer path, but it's a bit unnerving to actually see my region's economic life squeezed before my very eyes. Once again I say FIE upon those who killed the Red Line electric trolleys, and wait with great impatience for the slow slow expansion of Metro Rail. (But at least they ARE expanding...)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

12. What do you eat for breakfast?

Since I have learned, in convincing and well-documented fashion, that carbs are evil -- and (most) fat is not -- we have tended in the last several months toward eggs and bacon. It is very hard to give up bread completely though, and we haven't. In fact, we had (wheat sourdough) toast and bacon this morning, and I had milk and orange juice (separately, not mixed -- pregnancy hasn't deranged my tastebuds THAT much). M did not have orange juice because of its sugar levels. I am pregnant and OJ has folic acid.

Of course, ice cream does not have folic acid, and I have been using pregnancy to justify Haagen-Dazs dark-chocolate-covered chocolate ice cream bars once a week or so. What can I say? Baby wants ice cream.

Not at breakfast, though.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

to clarify

In case of any confusion from the previous post over which bits were real:

  • We are having a baby. She is due in late September. She also has a name, but I'm not going to post it until she's born, if then.

  • Everyone is very happy. This will be the first grandchild for both sets of parents, so they're pretty excited. Also this will be the first girl born on M's dad's side in about 50 years.

  • We do not, sadly, have a new house being built for us. But our current little house, while needing some work in several areas, suits us fine for now. We do hope to be able to move within the next few years, but that will have to wait a bit.
More details in future updates are extremely likely.

And make no mistake, it was a good dream, a very good dream. It was just way way too short. The crying was only because I can't talk to him any more in the waking world.

Friday, June 06, 2008

turning corners

A little while ago, maybe almost a month now, I dreamed I was standing out front of the place where we live. Grandma was there, and my parents and M, maybe a few other relatives. We were walking down the street, toward the apartments. We were going to walk down round the corner and go to see the new house being built, that would belong to M and I, somewhere near where great-aunt Bea used to live. Everyone was talking and excited about the house. As we got near the corner, Grandpa swung into step with us, saying a cheerful hello, and oh I was so happy to see him. I joyfully took his arm as I said so -- it's been so long! -- and we continued walking and talking and laughing, all going down to look at the house together.

He looked really good: as full of energy as ever I've seen him, the grandpa of my earliest memories (not that he slowed down noticeably until the last few years). Even within the dream I noticed, that I was not sure how old he looked. He wasn't young exactly, but although he appeared younger than when I'd last seen him, he was entirely himself.

And part of the reason he was so happy, I knew, was that he was happy for me. Because we're going to have a baby, you see. And I was so happy to be sharing that with him, because it's been so long. So happy. He knows.

And then as we turned the corner and came in sight of the new house, still in the wood-framing stage, I woke up.

Then I told M about it, and cried.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Matthew Ferrara, 1983-2007

(Photos from Marcus Ferrara)

A friend of my family was killed in Afghanistan on Friday, November 9. If you follow the war news, you might have seen reports on that incident in particular, since nine soldiers including Matt were killed in that ambush, as they returned from a meeting in a mountain village, and about 19 more were wounded. Matt was the platoon leader.

His family found out on Saturday, November 10. And word went out around the neighborhood that day, because the Ferrara family is a whirlwind of activity, with Mario and Linda and their five children well known and loved by wide swaths of town. I knew them mainly through the Boy Scout troop in which my brother and father were active; the oldest, Marcus, was a year ahead of my brother in school. Simone, the only daughter, was a soccer star at our high school. Matt was the third of them, and I'm still most used to thinking of him as the little Scout that he was when my brother was an Eagle. Ditto Damon and Andy, who used to be such little guys running all round -- when you spotted one Ferrara somewhere, you could bet the rest of them were nearby, and all of them dynamos of helpfulness and cheer (and the occasional prank).

None of them are little any longer, with Andy, the youngest, now the tallest. He's at West Point right now, like Marcus and Matt before him, and Damon is in ROTC at USC (Southern California). Between them, the Ferraras owned the distance running records at our high school, with the younger ones making it their mission to outdo the records set by their elders.

It seems that Matt was the first New Zealand citizen to be killed in action in Afghanistan (his mother Linda is from New Zealand and so he has dual citizenship). His uncle came and spoke at the funeral, very well I might add, and since said uncle is the New Zealand defense minister, his words are reprinted here.

...had dual citizenship.

It feels so wrong to talk about him in the past tense. Not fair, not right. His family, his friends, who spoke at his funeral, the stories they told, they all described someone with so much talent and life energy that it is hard to get into my head, or rather my heart, that he will not be here, somewhere, any more. Marcus in particular brought him close; Marcus looks older than in high school, as do we all, but Marcus and I are not so old that he ought to be speaking his soul at the funeral of his little brother, not now, not yet, not right.

Hearing the news about Matt Ferrara gave me a feeling that I've had a few times before: that what I was learning was too wrong to be happening, that somehow I was mistaken, because the news was too awful and therefore not real. I felt this way watching the replays of the shuttle Challenger exploding on the school library TV; I felt this way watching the replays of the World Trade Center collapsing. All of these were followed by a growing sadness and a feeling like a hole in my stomach as I accepted the truth. This time, though, the sadness and subsequent anger were the strongest, because this was the closest blow.

Obviously most of my anger is for those who killed him, but had I written an entry during the first few days, there would have also been some long strings of words aimed at certain political figures. But that isn't the sort of entry I want to write, now.

The only crumb of comfort that anyone who knew Matt can take from this, is that he never wasted any of the time he had. He did not get a full life, but his life was full of his family, friends, enthusiasm, joy in existing. The slideshow and videos at the funeral and reception were beautiful and funny and heartbreaking all in a swirl.

Broken surfboard in Costa Rica:

Traveling in Italy:

It was also a strange feeling, especially the first couple of weeks, that unlike Challenger and the World Trade Center, the world in general was unaware. Well, less aware -- the local Daily Breeze had a front-page story more than once on Matt and on the other local soldier who died in the same attack, and the funeral was well-attended. But as his parents received his Bronze Star and a folded flag, as the silent crowd watched under the dimming November afternoon sun, as the sea breeze fluttered the flags of the honor guard, the larger world trundled on, outside us.

It did, and it does, and it will. But one more thing is not right with the world, and it will never be quite right any more.