Tuesday, December 20, 2005

All I Want For Christmas Is An Egg Nog Latte

Whatever happened to common courtesy?? Looking out for your fellow man? Is chivalry really dead???

Yesterday, I leave the house early for work because I wanted to go to the post office to mail a package on the fun new automated postage machine. You know what I'm talking about, right? It has the little scale and it automatically prints out your postage and charges your credit card in less than a minute, seemingly to prevent standing in the ultra-long lines during the holiday season. I thought I was leaving early enough to drop off my package, then go down the street to Starbucks for my coveted egg nog latte (decaf of course), then travel across the street to work. There are a couple of people in line in front of me at the post office and I'm thinking, this can't take too long, can it? What I failed to notice was that the man in front of me had eight packages. Yes. Eight. There are four things that were abundantly obvious about me, so see if you can visualize:

1. I have one package.
2. I am pregnant. I can no longer hide it. There is a bump.
3. Compared to the eight man, I'm dressed for work. I hate to sound catty, but he looked pretty homeless.
4. There is no one behind me waiting, and there will not be the entire time I'm there.

Twenty minutes people. I'm there for 20 minutes. Twice I asked the eight man if it were possible for me to step in for less than a minute and get my package sent, using the excuse that I did have to get to work. He looked at me as if I were speaking in Swahili. Oh, that's right. I was speaking Swahili and he forgot to stick his babel fish in his ear.

I got to work late.
Without my coveted egg nog latte.

I forgot to mention that yesterday was the only day this week I chose to go to work; I'm off the rest of this week for Christmas and to start painting Anja's nursery. So, at this point in my morning yesterday, I had found no good reason to have gotten out of bed at all.

All day I keep thinking I can skip out for a few minutes to run across the street to the Starbucks to get my coveted egg nog latte. And it never happens. It's so busy at work I can barely see straight. So I think, I'll leave a little bit early to get my coveted egg nog latte on my way to my standing 4:30 appointment. A caseworker coming to my hospital looking for me threatens this because he won't stop talking (and can't seem to determine that I haven't started listening), but I manage to walk out at 3:55. I'm relieved that the drive through line at the Starbucks isn't too long. So I tell Luis at the drive through to start working on my coveted egg nog latte and I sit back in my car and wait. And wait. And wait some more.


Just past the window at the drive through is a trash can. And there is this woman in her humongus SUV, having just picked up her four drinks, parked at the trash can. The four woman is shoveling gallons of garbage out of her SUV into the trash can. Seriously. She is cleaning her car into the Starbucks drive through trash can. What she hasn't and doesn't figure out is that her SUV is so long that the man in the car behind her (and in front of me) cannot get to the drive through window. So we all sit and wait for four woman to clean her car.

Fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes that I am in the drive through. But at least I have the coveted egg nog latte. And it's warm. And Anja danced when I started drinking it.

But that's not all.

I offer to go to the nearest Chinese take-out place to pick up some dinner. I call in the order, find out it will take 30 minutes, so I decide to use the extra few minutes to run into the neighborhood Ross Dress For Less down the street to pick up a few last minute Christmas items and some maternity jeans. I takes me maybe ten minutes to collect my purchases and get in line. I know it's the holidays and the retail world is crazy, but is it possible for Ross to have more than two cashiers?


Twenty minutes. Twenty minutes of my life in line at Ross and I have moved maybe 6 inches in line. By the time I abandoned my mission (ten minutes after I was supposed to pick up my food), the three people in line behind me all knew how far along I was, that I was having a girl, and that her name is Anja. The girl behind me told me that she is seventeen years old and that her mother is 6 months pregnant and how strange it will be to have a sister born at her age. They were all very nice and certainly had gallons more patience than me.

When I got home I found the one thing which made the whole day worth living. The sperm donor stood at my door way with a big smile on his face. He later went out and got me pie and heavy whipping cream (for pie a la Vicki, of course). And today, I have countless reasons to get up out of bed. One of them went to work today, but tomorrow we're going crib shopping. Three of them are covered with fur and are in bed with me right now. And one of them - the beloved jewel - has been squirming around in my belly all morning.

Do I have a point here? Make your own. I'm going to go get another latte.

Monday, December 05, 2005

It's A....

I know, I know. My mother says my blog is boring. The trailer park goddess said my blog was slowly resembling that of the sperm donor's. Lunatic girlfriend said she checks my blog every morning when she has her coffee, and what a disappointment it is to find nothing.

I'm not blog-resistant. I think I've been blog-avoidant. So I wrote a couple of posts ago about how I was going for this Ultrascreen test to rule out Down's Syndrome and a couple of other chromosomal disasters. And I think beforehand, "What are the odds that something will come back positive? That's not going to happen to me." And it's not that the test came back "positive"; it's not that black and white. If the normal incidence of Down's Syndrome for my age is one out of every 200 births, my risk is one out of every 191 births. That's the risk of any 37-year-old woman. All I wanted was a healthy child, so the thought that something might have been wrong, even the slightest little chance, was terrifying. And all of the reassurance in the world didn't matter; I was convinced my baby was going to be that 0.52356%.

So, off we went for the amnio. The fun part about the amnio (if one can call any of it "fun") is the lengthy sonogram the precedes it. We got to see a brain, a heart, some kidneys, a stomach, some arms, some legs, and all kinds of other baby anatomy, all of which is on videotape too. The baby even waved at us, and made some funky Spock gesture with it's hand. I didn't see any of the amnio. Thank goodness because the sperm donor said the needle which went inside my stomach was quite large. It didn't really hurt, thanks in part to the little numbing injection which came first. It really more felt someone was pressing down really hard on my stomach. And then it was done.

Didn't Tom Petty sing "they say waiting is the hardest part?" We knew the results would come back in the next couple of weeks, which bordered dangerously close to Thanksgiving. There were several clues that everything would be OK. First, on the sonogram our baby appeared to be about one week ahead of schedule; babies with Down Syndrome tend to be small. Second, my regular OB explained that there is a preliminary test that is conducted on the amniotic fluid which essentially says everything is good or something is wrong; it just doesn't specify exactly what is wrong. She explained that the results of this test are usually available within a week and she is notified right away if something isn't right. I saw her about one week after the amnio and she hadn't received the "something is wrong" call. But all of the reassurance in the world can feel like no reassurance at all. It doesn't change the fact that we still have to wait for a little printout with little pictures of genes to know whether or not things are OK.

Two days before Thanksgiving we got the call. The voice mail from the doctor's office said to call back as soon as possible because she had really good news. I don't think I realized how scared I was until I became aware of how relieved and thankful I was. They also confirmed what we suspected all along.

It's a girl.

We like Anja. Maybe Cecilia for a middle name - that's the sperm donor's grandmother.

Monday, November 14, 2005

It's Still All About K-Mart

I know. I know. It's been a while. I'm sure any regular readers I may have had have found more vibrant reading material. The pregnancy blog is a good idea until one realizes that there are few daily changes. It's all very gradual. Imagine you've been blobbing through your live as usual and you look in the mirror one night and are instantly aware that your stomach is sticking out more than usual. And then you realize, well, it's been like that for a little while. That's what pregnancy is like: it all progresses so naturally and so gradually but every now and then there is the dramatic sensation of "Oh shit! What's happening to me??"

Anyway - a seasonal variation on my favorite K-Mart commercial... (there is another variation as well, but I haven't memorized it yet)

"I found love
in a K-Mart store.
Dress up
and scare the folks next door."

What's love got to do with it??

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I Found What???

Have you heard the latest K-mart jingle? The little country western jingle sings out, "I found love in a K-mart store." We don't have K-marts in my city anymore, but even when we did I could never even find what I was looking for. Forget looking for love. I remember going into a K-mart downtown during a downpour to find an umbrella; it took me 20 minutes to find a damn umbrella. Seems to me that K-mart needs to work on making their stores more accessible and user-friendly than on sparking a love connection. Perhaps we would still have K-marts in my city if they focused on more realistic sales. But that's just my opinion...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Baby Is Still Dancing

I'm still here. I'm still pregnant. I'm still mostly zzzzzzzzzzz, but my constant lounging on the couch has been reinforced by the new TV season. Anyone watched Earl yet? I love that show. In fact, I think to honor it, I'm gonna get a tattoo on my butt of Moses parting the Red Sea after this whole pregnancy thing is over.

So, on Friday, I'm going for this test called an Ultrascreen. I had never heard of this kind of test until my doctor discussed it with me a few weeks ago. Since I am 35, I am in this category of concern for certain birth defects and genetic disorders. I am amazed at the number of tests one can do in order to rule out these kind of conditions, besides an amniocentesis which is so invasive. My doctor is signing me up for all of these tests, with the hope that I won't need an amnio at all, which is nice. The thought of a needle being inserted directly into my belly just doesn't sit well!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Blockbuster & Porn

I went to my nearby Blockbuster Video a few days ago to ask if "Inside Deep Throat" was available for rental. "Inside Deep Throat" is a documentary about the people involved in the production of the 1972 porn flick "Deep Throat." Here's a statistic you may not know: "Deep Throat" is the most profitable film in history, with shooting costs of merely $25,000 and a gross of over $600 million (that's starting to make the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy look a little inadequate). "Inside Deep Throat" has received excellent reviews since it opened six months ago in select cities (unfortunately, I do not live in New York or LA). In addition to covering the making of "Deep Throat," the documentary also profiles the cast and the crew, including Linda Lovelace's later anti-porn crusade. The DVD also contains a deep throat tutorial, which apparently includes hypnosis. So imagine my disappointment when Blockbuster told me that it was not available for rental. Which got me to thinking. My first thought was, of course, "Who has Netflix???" But beyond that, and on a much more poignant note, was this: are the selections at my local Blockbuster a reflection of the demographic and political trends in my neighborhood? I realize this may be a bit of a stretch, but this is an example of the kinds of thoughts that go through my head.

I live in an ultra-conservative, primarily Caucasian neighborhood. Interesting for a city which is approximately 60% Hispanic and is sometimes the lone blue dot on the election map, surrounded by lots and lots of red. I know there are a lot of Republicans in my neighborhood because it takes me less than 5 minutes to vote in my Democratic primary, but the line of Republicans extends out the door, to the end of the parking lot, and down the street. I don't have anything against Republicans, I just choose not to be one. But sometimes I feel like they have a lot against me. Case and point: I proudly went to my local Democratic headquarters in 2000 to purchase a Gore-Lieberman sign for my yard. I hammered it into my yard with pride. Somedays though, I would return from work, and my sign would be lying flat in my yard. Not as though it had merely fallen over where I had hammered it. No. It was clearly removed from its hole and tossed elsewhere. I have no problem with one of my neighbors knocking on my door and telling me why he/she dislikes my sign. The "why" is key here - if you are going to come to my door and tell me that you do not like my demonstration of my first amendment rights, then you are required to provide an explanation. But to just pick up my sign and toss it across my yard? How cowardly. The sperm donor says it's just kids, but, as I've said before, they learn it from somewhere. Notice to all ages - I have no problem picking up my sign and pounding it into the same spot, this time with my 4-inch heel.

What was my point? Oh yes - porn.

I don't really watch porn. But I do like to watch shows about the porn industry. For example, when I think of it, I like to watch the "Real Sex" series on HBO which has recently had some interesting episodes about the porn industry. When I had free Showtime, I was a big fan of "Family Business," a "reality" show about the man who owns and operates Seymore Butts. This guy was a respectable single father, who ran his porn flick business with his mother, who was always trying to set him up on a date, and his perverted cousin Stevie. Cousin Stevie once accidentally ended up as a model in a bondage booth at a porn convention. In another episode, Cousin Stevie was repeatedly slapped by exotic dancers when he would ask them if they knew how to squirt (the coveted female ejaculation). A lot of the show would focus on the main character's attempt to find a date. In one episode, he went to one of those mega date events, where you meet many members of the opposite sex in hopes of finding a love connection. He met many respectable women who were teachers or lawyers, but when the women would ask him how he made his living he honestly would say, "I direct, produce, and distribute adult entertainment." Needless to say, date over.

I'm going to forget my point soon, so here it goes.

It amazes me that Blockbuster will not rent a documentary about such a popular industry. Documentaries appear to be big things these days, especially since Michael Moore did his one about Columbine and that other guy made a whole film about how he ate nothing but McDonalds. Porn has become an issue with clearly divided camps. Even Linda Lovelace became anti-porn before she died in 2002. The porn industry also makes a ton of money. Remember when all of the porn production companies had to shut down business for several months because one actor tested positive for HIV? That was a lot of money lost.

Ooooo...but I forgot....we don't talk about sex. Certainly not in my neighborhood. It's another one of those NIMBYisms. And that's why this documentary is not at my Blockbuster.

So maybe I will drive ten minutes to the city's biggest sex shop, and see if they have my documentary. Funny - the city's biggest sex shop is located very, very close to my ultra-conservative neighborhood. You can imagine the stink that caused when it opened!

Or maybe I'll ask Sandra to put it in her Netflix queue.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Dancing Baby

Well, I haven't gotten anywhere with a scanner yet, so I can't post my sonogram pics, but this is what we know: we have two legs, two arms, a head, and a good strong heartbeat. The heartbeat is especially important, because once it is confirmed the chance of miscarriage decreases tremendously. Apparently, we also have a dancer. Because my first vision of my baby was of all of these arms and legs wiggling! It was as if the baby was as excited to be seen as I was to see it. So, therefore, the nickname of "The Dancing Baby." It could have made a good IPod commercial! Interesting thing about the sonogram is that it was a "transvaginal sonogram," which means the little camera was inserted up inside of me to get an image of the baby. Hmm. A little like porn. Also intriguing was that the purpose of this sonogram was to confirm the pregnancy. Let's see...I've missed two periods, my pregnancy test was positive, the test the doctor ran was positive. Oh - and I had been having unprotected sex. So what exactly are we confirming here? One friend said, "That you're not having a litter of puppies." OK.

A wise piece of advice for the men of the world: there are certain things in life you should never be late for. Your wedding is a good example. Another good example is taking your mother for dinner on her birthday. Us ladies have learned to accept your lack of punctuality not as a sign of weakness, but merely as a reality. Another thing to never be late for? Your wife's first sonogram. My sonogram tech was nice enough to wait around a little while for the sperm donor, who managed to make it in just the nick of time. Before I slapped him. And possibly killed him. But he made it - apologetic, and a little out of breath (I thought that was a nice touch). It was all worth it in the end.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


I met him at a party when I was in college. I don't even remember why my girlfriend and I went to this party. I only remember that there were many alumni from our college present at this party, and that we were not planning on staying very long because we were also due at a friend's birthday party. I also don't remember exactly when I noticed him. I know he was sitting next to me at a rowdy game of "I Never." What I remember was leaning against the back of a couch, waiting for my girlfriend, and he came up and started talking to me. We never made it to the birthday party.

I was wearing jeans, a left-over red shirt from the '80s (with the trademark '80s funky paisley design), and red Ropers. He was wearing shorts and a black t-shirt. We both wore glasses at the time. He was clean-cut, had short hair and was nicely shaven (yes, my friends, this was the day before the earrings, the tattoo, and the beard!). He came up to me and said, "So what do you think of Stevie Ray Vaughn dying?" And this native Austinite shared her despair, and the despair of thousands of others, over the tragic and sudden death of her beloved blues star less than one month before. I shared with him about the last time I had seen SRV, on the opposite bank of Town Lake from the stage, my friend so excited to cross the street and see the guitar player that he left my car door wide open, something we did not discover until we returned to the car at the end of the show. I asked him where he was from, and the small Texas panhandle town where he lived was the same town where my family would spend the night on the way to our vacation in Colorado, lodging at the Red Carpet Inn and dining at the local K-Bob's. It's possible that I was in that small town the day Elvis died. I was all of 20 years old when we met. He was 23, out of school, and working at a local Air Force base.

At that point in my life, I had recently emerged from the fog of a miserable heartbreak, in which a boy two years earlier made a decision about his life which could not possibly include me (a whole other blog entry someday). I remember just weeks before I had told my girlfriend that I would really like to meet a nice guy. Sure, I had dated some in college, but most of those guys were, well, dating imbeciles. On the night that I met him, I remember vividly a force that was present, stronger than the two of us, that said "This is what I can offer you."

That fated night took place fifteen years ago today. A year later we moved in together. A few years after that we got married. In blog-land, he is referred to affectionately as the "sperm donor," although he is so much more (although lately, I've taken to calling him "my baby's daddy" because that sounds much more ghetto!).

Marriage has not always been easy, as no one bothered to hand us a manual when we started out. There have been many ups, and some terrible, devastating, and painful lows. At one point, I nearly threw it all away. But I hung in there; or rather, HE hung in there, HE never gave up on me, even though I had nearly given up on myself. And for that, I am eternally in love with him. There is nothing more I want in this world than to wake up next to him tomorrow morning. The feeling that I am carrying a little part of him inside of me, no matter how psycho it sounds, is the most thrilling and exciting feeling I have ever experienced.

Tomorrow we go for our first sonogram, we get to see our baby for the first time. Hopefully Kim will let us use her scanner this weekend so we can post the photos on the blog!

We still have those clothes, my left-over '80s shirt now starting to look a bit vintage, and his black t-shirt, now faded. And I still have those red Ropers. There are certain things in life you can never throw away.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Names And Other Goodness

"You seem to be a pretty active person and an independent thinker who likes doing instead of just talking. If you want your child to be strong-minded and leave his or her mark on the world, you should consider baby names that people associate with being creative, smart, active, and strong."

I guess this is some help. When I'm sent a link advertising a quiz like this, I'm really looking for some concrete suggestions! I'll have the sperm donor take it - see if he gets the same results!

On a big bright note, I am proud to announce that for the first time in my bra-wearing life (roughly two-thirds of my life here) I am wearing a bra with a C cup. I never thought it would happen. I would like to thank my little unborn baby for granting me, at least temporarily, with bigger boobies!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Do You Get Tired Of Junk Mail???

I feel like I throw away at least half of what lands in my mailbox these days. I get a lot of junk credit card offers, charity solicitation, and the like. I've lately been throwing away all of these catalogs I get too, because it will be awhile until I can fit into their form fitting clothes again!

Anyway, my local NPR station offered this information on how to decrease the amount of junk mail you receive. Unfortunately, there is not just one web site or one phone number you can call, but these can at least tell you how to get started. Wouldn't it be nice to receive only the mail you actually requested!

Just some handy FYI.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My Expanding Waistline

Every morning before work has become more of a challenge. There I stand, naked, in my closet, searching through all of the clothing I own for anything that might fit around my waist. I think I own maybe two pairs of pants that have elastic waistbands. I have a few loose-fitting dresses which are not very flattering. I think one of them may have really served as a potato sack at one point. Unfortunately, a lot of the closet has been abandoned. Even worse, I'm simply not allowed to wear tank tops and yoga pants or pajamas to work - bureaucratic control freaks!

My beloved friend, Kim, gave me some hand-me-down maternity clothes. She also had twins, so when I hold up one of the pairs of pants she wore towards the end of her pregnancy, I look a little like the Subway guy. So I wandered into my first maternity store last weekend. It's a bit overwhelming. I've never been one to admit that I have a tummy and have taken great pride in the periods when I did not. So to walk into a clothing store, look at a salesperson, and say, "Hi, I'm pregnant. I don't look it yet but I'm apparently growing because nothing fits" is a big deal. Thank heavens for nice sales people who I think took pity on my ignorance. I have never seen so many different kinds of pants. Pants with panels, pants with adjustable straps (I'm sure that's not the right word), pants with more elastic than should be allowed. I opted for normal-looking pants; that is, pants with a normal button and fly. None of that panel stuff or little straps on each side you can tighten or loosen. And I found some cute little tops, nothing form fitting so I can let my belly hang out (since it seems harder and harder to suck it in!). I also bought some interesting little contraption called a Belly Belt, which essentially allows me to wander through my day with my fly undone without the fear that my pants will fall down!

They truly had everything, including lingerie. I know bigger bras are in my future; unfortunately for the maternity store, I like pretty colors and pretty patterns and I like for everything to match. Their lingerie color was limited to white (which the, sperm donor points out, might not be appropriate because it is now clear that I am no longer a virgin). They sold MANY varieties of underwear. I thought there was simply "underwear for pregnant women" which would resemble granny panties, only bigger. I was greatly relieved to see thongs for pregnant women (since I am a thong girl), however I'm a little skeptical about the one-size-fits-all thong. The little store also sold all of these skin care products, seemingly intended to prevent stretch marks. Does any of this really work?? All of the bottles of lotion gave instructions to apply three times per day. That seems a bit excessive to me and I suspect a good "let's scare them into buying this" scheme. I went to my normal skin products store a few days before this maternity store adventure, and they recommended something I already had at home - I figure I'll try this first.

I do feel like a cult member (do you hear chants of "one of us, one of us"?). As I was paying for my new better-fitting clothes, I was placed on the mailing list for the store, was provided with two free issues of a parenting magazine, and was given a gift bag filled with samples and coupons. It was as though the little maternity store was the welcoming committee and I was the new neighbor. Sometimes I do feel as though we have joined a new segment of society, like we are in the upper echelon. But we are simply doing what most people do: procreate and become parents. Interesting how that felt as though it required a membership.


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Stupid Questions, Stupid Answers

There are many people out there in the world who I believe are simply a social skill waiting to happen. We've told many people about my pregnancy, even though our doctor told us to wait until we were out of the range of possibility for a miscarriage (but please! How do you keep something like this a secret for 10 weeks!). Most people's responses are pretty typical: "Congratulations!" or "That's wonderful! Are you excited?" But every now and then someone says, "I assume this is wanted?"

What's with that??????????

And from more than one person.

So, the sperm donor and I compiled this list of possible responses:

1. Well, not by us, but it is wanted by the nice Asian couple who plans to purchase the baby after birth.

2. Anyone who wants one is welcome to bid thousands of dollars on eBay for the use of my uterus.

3. We were tired of collecting of cats so we thought we would try another species.

4. The aliens will return to fetch it in April.

5. Not for the purpose of procreation specifically. We are testing a new parasite technology.

Sigh. Some people...

On a more serious and far less stupid note, I've been watching coverage of hurricane Katrina. It's hard to pull away from it. I almost feel guilty for sitting here in my comfortable home, excited about bringing my unborn child into it. I donated, because I feel so helpless but felt compelled to do something. Many of us take our qualities of life for granted. In certain areas of Louisiana and Mississippi tonight, there is no quality of life.

But, for those of you who vomit in the face of overwhelming news coverage, here's Foamy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

If We Can Name A Cat, Then...

The sperm donor and I have adopted four cats during the course of our relationship. Fortunately, we are both cat people. I had cats when I was little, and the sperm donor had the demon feline seed living in his garage (ask to see the scars!). I don't even remember how we set out on this adventure of finding the most unique names for these felines, but with each one we adopted the challenge seemed larger.

It all started many years ago with Hou Zi. The sperm donor and I were very excited because our landlord had finally relented and allowed us to have a cat in the apartment, as long as she didn't tear up the place and we kept it clean. Hou Zi is the Monkey King in Chinese mythology, but I don't remember how we discovered that (this cat is so old that we didn't have internet access yet). We wanted to name her after a monkey because the day we picked her out at the shelter, she proceeded to climb up the sperm donor's body and perch on his shoulder. She continues to travel across the room from piece of furniture to piece of furniture as though swinging on vines, instead of taking a leisurely stroll along the floor. Her name has not provided us with many nicknames, though. She is often referred to as "The Queen", of course because she is the oldest. Sometimes I call her brain damaged because she chewed through an electric cord many years ago; she didn't have any whiskers for a while and now she has this funny twitch.

Much to Hou Zi's dislike, we decided to adopt another cat a few years later. The sperm donor and I had just moved into our first home. My grandmother had died about that time and I thought a new cat would assuage my grief. I was reading the newspaper before we made our way to the animal shelter, and read an article about a province in Egypt called El Minya. I don't remember what the article was specifically about, but I thought, "Minya. What a pretty name for a cat!" And so our little black and white wonder was named Minya. I don't think anyone has ever called her Minya though, as she quickly adopted the nickname Minnie. Sometimes she is Skinny Minnie. Sometimes she is Round Minnie. Right now she is Itchy Minnie because of some strange allergy our vet has yet to identify.

A couple of years later, we discovered Tookie at a local bar. He would beg for french fries from customers, so we decided to give him a nice home. Tookie was a nickname for a very long Urdu name given to him by a friend from Pakistan. The long version of his name was supposed to mean "little black chin" because little Tookie had the most darling chin. Our Pakistani friend was later absconded by his mother for not knowing his Urdu anatomy very well; apparently, he had named Tookie after his ankle. Tookie had many other nicknames as well. His Terminator name was "The Tookinator." His Gladiator name was "Tookus Maximus." His WWF name was "The Took." Sweet Tookie died of kidney failure at a young age. His picture sits on our mantle, next to his little urn and the footprint the staff at our vet's office made for us. I tried to take his picture down off the mantle after Christmas this year, but I just couldn't do it. He is still very much a part of our little cat family.

We got Manu about a year ago. Manu is, of course, named after my favorite NBA player, Manu Ginobili. Unfortunately for all of us, he also thinks he is Manu Ginobili. He runs around the house at top speed, and has recently learned how to turn on a light switch located several feet above the floor. Manu has a little white triangle-shaped patch of fur on his chest, resembling a Superman shield, which, of course, has allowed him the nickname of Super Manu. Sometimes, I call him Shmanu. His other nickname reminds me of a "Get Fuzzy" cartoon in which the little dog is introducing another dog to the rest of his friends; the second dog says, "Oh, you can just call me 'OFF THE F#?>%& COUNTER!' Everybody else does." That's Manu's nickname too.

My point in all this rambling this: if the sperm donor and I can successfully provide our beloved pets with original and memorable names, then how hard can it be to name our baby? It seems the biggest challenge of all. For the cat, the name is something they audibly recognize, a familiar sound which merits an ear twitch. For us though, our name is the center of our identity, a label for the essence of who we are. A name can command so much: attention, affection, authority, power, neglect. A name can trigger a memory. A name can be rejected. A name can be adored. Sometimes a nickname can have more of an effect than a given name. I was called Nissan for several years, after the car manufacturer (however, my best friend's father, in his attempt to be unique, insisted on calling me Toyota). I have always wondered about people who legally change their name at some point in life, apart from marriage. What's that about? Is it a reflection of the disdain towards the people who gave the name? Does it reflect a lifestyle change? The power is clearly in the name.

I want my child to have a name he or she can be proud of, a name about which my child says, "Gee. Mom and Dad did a good job picking this one." I was an adult before I could say that about my own name.

We're open to suggestions.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Wait A Minute...That's Not Right

I worded that whole miscarriage statistic wrong. I realized it a couple of nights ago during one of my many middle-of-the-night pees. I have a 40% chance of having a miscarriage, most likely during the first trimester. That's just me. That's not compared to other women. I remembered during that pee that the doctor said that it is 40% for each pregnancy. Still kind of freaky.

But it all seems to be proceeding normally. But this up a bunch of times in the middle of the night to pee? That I can do without.


Friday, August 19, 2005

The First Check-Up

The sperm donor and I went to our first prenatal check-up yesterday. There has got to be a study done by JAMA or something that can provide a percentage of what patients hear compared to how much physicians say! Even if this woman had said one word per minute, I still may have not digested it all. So many things...when I will have ultrasounds...will I need an amnio...what to eat...how to exercise (apparently this is NOT the time to start training for a marathon)...how often I need to see the doctor...can we still have sex (this was actually the first thing she said)...and the dreaded word, miscarriage. Had no idea the rate was so high...40% of pregnancies result in miscarriage!! Which really kind of freaked me out.

We walked out of the office, me holding all of my little appointment cards and my information sheets, the sperm donor holding all of my vitamin samples, and I just started to cry. We had been so shocked and stunned that I had gotten pregnant so quickly that I suddenly just started to digest it all, right there in front of the elevator. And I was scared. Was?? Am. I'm a good person - I eat right, I exercise, I take care of myself. I'm not a crack whore. I'm not living a reckless lifestyle (well, not anymore...). I have a wonderful, amazing, lovable man in the sperm donor. And all I want, more than anything in the world right now, is a healthy baby. So, here I sit - the person with the inclination to control everything, suddenly finding out just how much is beyond my control.

Everyone is so excited. I told my boss today, and she was thrilled. My mother bought her own copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting, so she would know what I'm going through, even though she has done this herself before. She found some little Winnie the Pooh prints, wants to go to the children's bookstore in the city where she lives (in addition to football geek, I'm also come from a family of bookworms). I long to feel that kind of excitement.

Good thing I go to therapy.

I like Aidan as a boy name. It's Celtic for fire. Sperm donor likes Celtic things

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Countdown Begins...

...to April 17, 2006. That's a lot of days to count. I'm confident I can't count that high.

What's funny is that one website estimated my due date as April 15. That's not gonna work: "I love you! Happy Birthday and thanks for being my dependent so I can get some credit on my income tax!! Want some cake??"


How I Feel Today - A Stunning Narrative

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...shower...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...work...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...go buy birthday present for friend...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...ah, man, she wanted some ice cream too..zzzzzzzzz...eat...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...
cuddle with sperm donor, probably fall asleep on his chest and drool...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...feed cats...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

That's in response to everyone asking, "How do you feel??" Oh - and I'm not nauseous.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Names I Really Just Don't Like - Chapter 1

The sperm donor REALLY likes the name Damon. Damon is a nice name, and actually flows quite well with our ethnic, I-don't-have-a-damn-clue-how-to-pronounce-this-so-I'm-going-to-botch-it-up last name. In fact, according to Lunatic Girlfriend's Google game (which is really fun to do with the names of all of your friends!), Damon is "front and center," Damon is "greek for 'constant one'," and Damon is "a warm hunk." Funny - I think those all may have applied to Matt Damon.

My dislike for the name Damon reaches all the way back to the first grade. I know what you're thinking: "Boy, that chick has some issues." Yes. Anyway, when I was in the first grade, I had the chicken pox. I remember it quite vividly, because I was ill with the dreaded pox over the Thanksgiving holiday. I have always enjoyed Thanksgiving. For many years, my family would travel to a different city to visit my grandmother and aunt, and have Thanksgiving dinner at my grandmother's house. When I was a kid, the football teams for the University of Texas and Texas A&M would duke out their ultimate rivalry on the actual Thanksgiving Day, not on the day after like they do now. We would ALWAYS watch this game. My grandfather, who died when I was about 3, was an Aggie from A&M. He was even in the Corps, and we have a photo of him with all of his siblings in which he is wearing his Corps uniform. Needless to say, my grandmother was a little partial to those Aggies. My mother, however, graduated from the University of Texas, and my father was a professor there (and, I might proudly add, their king supreme band geek). I made my first limestone Bevo sculpture before the age of ten. So, there was the intense rivalry being played out on my grandmother's tiny TV sets (one in the kitchen for the cooks, one in the living room for me and my dad) and the fun rivalry right there in my grandmother's home.

This is, by the way, how I became a football geek.

I remember that Thanksgiving, the one in the first grade. I was miserable. I remember the fever. I remember how itchy I was. I remember that nothing tasted good and nothing seemed like any fun. I remember my mother taking care of me. I remember wanting to go to my own home, and sleep in my own bed.

When I was in the first grade, we had the little rectangular desks, the ones where you sat on one side of the desk, according to which hand you could write with, and all of your books, pens, rulers, crayons, etc. went on the other side. My elementary school teachers were notorious for pushing these desks into little groups of four or five instead of the traditional rows. I remember always being upset because my friends would be in different clusters of desks. Across from me, in my little cluster of desks, in that fall season of first grade, sat Damon. Damon had the chicken pox right before Thanksgiving. I remember he was absent for several days, then, upon his return, he was covered with all of the little scabs, the remnants of the dreaded pox. Unfortunately for me, he wasn't cured.

I have tried over the years to have a little sympathy/empathy for little Damon. Perhaps he insisted on going back to school because he was bored and missed playing with his friends. Perhaps he had a working mother, who simply was not able to take more time off work to be with her sick son, back in the days before the FMLA. Perhaps our teacher called his parents and threatened to flunk him since he had missed so many days (although I doubt that seriously. Mrs. E. was always very nice). Maybe his parents just thought he was well.

No matter the reason, how could I possibly name my child Damon??? Again, nice name. But the repeated trauma of remembering the chicken pox every time I call my child's name is more than I can imagine. It's a little closer to PTSD than I'm willing to get.

Sorry, Sperm Donor. I love you anyway.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Don't Use Meth...I Think It Might Be Bad For You (A PSA)

Newsweek published an article this week about methamphetamines, entitled "America's Most Dangerous Drug." Apparently, meth is pretty popular these days. Meth used to just be popular in rural areas in this country which is no surprise. The sperm donor grew up in somewhat of a rural area of the Texas panhandle and he used to say there wasn't anything else to do but "drink and fuck." So I guess they needed some more exciting entertainment. Remember how cocaine was in the 1970s and 1980s? When it was cool to do a line in a nightclub? Al Pacino surrounded by mountains of the stuff? That's meth now.

In my line of work (which perhaps someday I'll be appropriately inspired to write about), I see a lot of people who are meth users. Meth hasn't reached top popularity yet where I live; it's still second to marijuana and cocaine. Thank goodness there is intervention now before it reaches epic proportions because the stuff makes you nuts. Really. I mean if you weren't schizophrenic before you started using meth, you will be. Remember those commercials? "Here's your brain. Here's your brain on drugs." With meth, you take the same egg, but instead of breaking it into a clean frying pan, you crack onto a regular city street. From there, you scramble it with everything that is on the road: broken asphalt, gravel, glass from the accident one week ago, and a little dog poo. Perhaps your neighbor just attempted to replace every automotive liquid to man and flooded the street with the likes of oil, transmission fluid, and antifreeze. So scramble that in too. When you're all done, soak the whole mess into a syringe, then inject it directly into your brain.

The results are astounding! It's fun at first. But then you talk and it doesn't make sense to anyone but you - you sound absolutely crazy (check out neologisms). You've got a lot of energy and you talk real fast, and, boy, are you getting skinny! But then you start to get real ugly, because meth ages you real fast. You hallucinate, you start feeling bugs crawl on you. Scratching at them isn't enough; you have to get them and dissect them like you did in biology class, but on your own arm. And your skin starts to melt off (more on that later). Then you get paranoid, so paranoid that it seems really important to purchase a surveillance system for your house, especially if you live in BFE (because your neighbors who live 5 miles away are watching you...). But then you get bored, and you decide to take the surveillance system down and analyze its component parts; it is now in a thousand pieces, lying next to the pieces of the microwave, the TV, and the stereo. In the same place where you may have abandoned your family, unless, of course, they are using meth with you.

Some people make meth in their own homes, aka the meth lab. Law enforcement officials are very concerned about meth labs for an assortment of reasons, including that they explode. The people who make meth often store some pretty combustible materials in their back yards, so, unfortunately, their house may not be the only one that explodes. It is no wonder why these things blow up like they do - it's really hard to cook when you are high. Anyone who has ever had pot-induced munchies knows this - it's really hard to concentrate on the 14-course meal you know you can eat. Of course, anyone who is waiting to use the meth is in the house when the house explodes in dramatic fashion. If they don't die instantly, they will have third degree burns on a large portion of their body (remember skin melting off?). And they won't have health insurance, because they lost the good job they had just a few months ago because of some conspiracy which really translates into a mess of meth-related consequences. Then the community gets really pissed, because their ultra-expensive hospital bills are passed on, indirectly and unwillingly, to a whole bunch of tax payers.

According to Newsweek, our government is fighting the wrong drug war: "The Bush administration has made marijuana the major focus of its anti-drug efforts, both because there are so many users (an estimated 15 million Americans) and because it considers pot a 'gateway' to the use of harder substances." Interesting. Check out these statistics: 70% of local law enforcement agencies said "robberies or burglaries have increased because of meth, as have domestic violence, assaults, and identity theft; 40 percent of child-welfare officials reported an increase in out-of-home placements last year due to meth." So, lets fight marijuana. Because there are thousands of people behind bars for using marijuana, and clearly we have millions more to prosecute. Because pot smokers are really.........what? Dangerous? Violent? Desperate? Reckless? When was the last time you read a newspaper article about an assault in which the perpetrator was using marijuana at the time? As my friend, Poodle, has said many times, "You will never hear about someone murdering another human being while he was stoned."

So what's my point? I don't know; make your own. Don't be a NIMBY. Don't use drugs. Know when your kid is. The other kids are learning how to do it from somewhere.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Nissa is getting bigger

One of my friends (who affectionately referred to herself earlier today as Lunatic Girlfriend) sent me a fun email yesterday. Certainly many have tried this. You enter "(your name) is" onto Google for an instant ego trip (God help me if you need further directions on that). Anyway, one of the results that popped up was "Nissa is getting bigger." Which I thought was fitting, considering the positive pregnancy test that entered my existence last weekend. Other coincidentally true results included "Nissa is 'The Classy' seductress of passion and pure pleasure, but without the tag or baggage" and "Nissa is absolutely straight forward and honest. There is no artifice or pretension to this woman. She's hot and sexy and she knows it..." Unfortunately, Nissa is no longer "active in local bar activities."

The sperm donor and I did the pregnancy test on Sunday. I assumed it would be positive because I had experienced no PMS when I was supposed to and my boobs were suddenly the size of cantelopes. Oh - and we had been engaging in unprotected sex. I originally thought about waiting to do the test until I was four or five days late, but I had this dream (correction: nightmare) in which the word "Not" kept flashing on and off on the digital display, thus producing the ambiguous result of "Pregnant. Not Pregnant. Pregnant. Not Pregnant." I'm all for ambiguous genetalia and ambiguous roadsigns, but on that Sunday morning I was not a huge fan of the ambiguous pregnancy test. I told the sperm donor that I would rather be scared about being pregnant than be scared about whether or not I was at all.

The sperm donor thought it unusual that I directed him into the bathroom to be present for the momentous occasion. He's like, "What? You want me to watch you pee?" Yes. And, apparently it's pretty amusing to watch your spousal unit squat awkardly over a toilet, attempting to aim a small strip of paper into a stream of pee (it amazes me that men don't seem to comprehend how difficult it is for a woman to pee in a cup). Laughter aside, the little digital display only said "Pregnant." And it stayed "Pregnant". And that is how I became a dear in the headlights...the sperm donor's idea.

Read at will. Comment at will. I'm not going anywhere for at least nine months.