Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Illness Continued

It just won't go away. I think it might be the bubonic plague. Or bird flu, at the very least.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Illness

It's Day 3 of The Illness.

I'm still at home, though I feel really guilty about not being at work. Why? Two reasons: 1) I have deadlines this week (one of which I've now missed) and 2) I always criticise 'those people' who take off work for every little cold.

I've never been one to miss work very much. In the two years I've been at the school, I've probably only had about three days off before getting pregnant - and two of those days I was actually sent home because they thought I was so unwell. And two of those days ended up being the start of the flu (and I mean like, real flu, not this pansy-ass 'oh sniffle, must be influenza and death!').

But since I've been pregnant, I've had to allow myself to think in a different way. Will going to work put too much strain on me if I am unwell? Do I want to stay unwell when my baby is completely depending on me for her well-being? Is it best to rest and get better as soon as possible in order that my child is as healthy as can be?

In reality, this is the first time I've taken off work for actual sickness during my pregnancy. The other times have been related to my backpain (from the time I was stuck in two hour traffic agony) and probably morning sickness. I didn't like taking off any of those days either but at least I could console myself in knowning that, by law, days taken off sick due to pregnancy cannot be held against you as sick leave.

Anyway, so I'm hoping to be back in tomorrow. I really need to get these deadlines met. Not to mention the fact that I've only got 3 and a half weeks left of work before I start maternity leave!

Roll on Christmas, baby.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving (Satur)Day

I know Thanksgiving is old news now for you Americans (and Canadians, for that matter), but we had our dinner last night, and I believe it ought to be mentioned.

About ten people showed up, plus two little ones aged 3 and 5. It was a lot of fun. Most were people from my work, with the exception of Michaela and Kate and Faisal (Scott's sister and her man).

Nothing terribly spectacular occurred other than the fact that everyone seemed to have a really good time. I know I did. But really, what I'm most pleased about, is that the food all went really well. Kate brought a yummy mashed potato dish (which I failed to get a picture of) and Carol brought a yummy vegetarian lasagna (which I also failed to photograph before it was devoured). Carol and Lynda (and their daughters) brought fairy cakes and chocolate crispie cakes and rock cakes (which I still have loads of so I could go get a picture of them). Besides that, the rest of the meal was up to me, which suited me fine.

I spent all day Saturday baking. First I made the pies, pumpkin and chocolate cream.

Pumpkin Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie

After those were cooled, I refridgerated them and later in the day began the stuffing and the sweet potato souffle.


Sweet Potato Souffle

(The sweet potato souffle was actually made by Michaela, who arrived a couple hours early to hang out.)

The cranberry sauce was your typical Ocean Spray stuff - but not the kind in the can, unfortunately, that you can slice. Oh well, you can't have everything.

Then, of course, there was the turkey. I ordered a cooked and frozen crown turkey breast from the catering manager at the school, so all I had to do was defrost it and stick it in the oven with some gravy (store bought) poured over it. Despite my forgetting it was in the oven for a really long time, it turned out great and didn't go dry.


To finish it off, we steamed brussel sprouts, broccoli and carrots, and it turned out to be a lovely, lovely meal, a proper Thanksgiving meal. After we'd all filled our plates, we went around the room and said what we were thankful for. Scott is thankful for our baby. Lynda's five-year-old daughter is thankful for school, and Carol's three-year-old daughter was thankful for her mashed potatoes.

I was thankful that nothing burned.

For more pictures, click here and here.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Call the Fire Brigade!

Whew, what a day off this has been! Aside from nearly being looked-at to death by a couple of junkies builders (who, as it turns out, are friends of my landlord), I also got trapped in a cold stairwell in someone else's flat!

Scott and I are considering moving to a bigger home, now that Schmooker has come into our lives, so today my landlord took me to view one of his three-bedroom flats in the West End (hoorah). The flat was actually really, really cool - big, airy, well-lit, massive kitchen, super-sized oven/stove, loads of storage, good security...

Too good, in fact.

The flat is an attic flat which is over a dentist's office and another residential flat. The stairwell (close?) is shared by the two residential flats. At some point, while I was oohing and ahhing over the space, the kitchen and the massive cubbards, the second-floor-flat residents must've left the building...

And locked the door at the bottom of the close.

When we were through viewing the place, we walked down the stairs. Suddenly, I felt confused. How do we get out? I thought, as I couldn't remember having to open any doors on the way in. I tried the door first, then Davy tried it. It was locked. Davy pulled out his bundle of keys and tried them all, just to discover he did not have a copy of that door key.

We were trapped.

I suggested we go try knocking on the second-floor-flat door to see if anyone was in. No one was in.

Luckily, the flat is actually owned by Davy's daughter so we thought we'd just call her. Only Davy left his mobile in the car. And didn't know her mobile number by heart.

I started phoning the people in my mobile, hoping someone would have her number. We got no response. Finally, after calling about three or four different places, we got ahold of Davy's wife at her work and she got us their daughter's number. She was out and told us she didn't have a key for that door either, as she's never known it to be closed.

Twindle thumbs.

Davy finally asked her to get her husband to come down with a crowbar and break us out.

As we waited, Davy kept looking out the window (about a story and a half high, we were), then suddenly tried opening it. It opened.

"Hey, I can jump out the window and go get a ladder!" he suggests, brilliantly.

Pause, as I weigh the options.

I could either be stuck in a cold stairwell for heaven knows how long with my landlord or climb down a ladder at seven months pregnant.

Definitely the ladder.

So Davy jumped out the window and returned minutes later with a ladder. (The flat is just down the street from our church, and coincidentally there was a ladder in the church.)

I was terrified.

He put the ladder up to the window and climbed it to try its strength and stability. He took my handbag, put it on the ground and then climbed again to help me out the window. I paused and told him I needed to pray first, which I did, passionately.

Then he began directing me on how to get out the window onto the ladder. I climbed up over the railing, and managed to get into the windowsill facing out. I crawled over to the far edge in order to give my huge body enough room to turn around. He stayed on the top of the ladder to keep me steady. He directed my first foot onto the top rung. He stepped down a few and directed my second foot. The whole way down he stayed right behind me which was conforting; he's a big man, and if I fell, I'd at least be falling onto something cushiony.

At last I reached the ground. Nervous laughter ensued. Davy commented that Scott was going to kill him. This is very possible.

It feels good to be on solid ground again. I'm much less likely to fall. Actually, that's entirely not true.

Call the Police!

Our neighbours are building an extension to their house right now so during the day we try to keep our car out of the drive so it doesn't get damaged by the construction. We're usually both at work so it's no big deal, but since I am off today, Scott reminded me to move the car before the builders started working. So after I got up and dressed this morning, I headed outside to move the car.

As I walked out my front door, I noticed an unfamiliar old silver car sitting on our street with two very suspicious-looking characters hanging out inside with the windows open, smoking.

I briefly considered locking my door but realised that might be a bit extreme considering I was only moving the car a few feet. I was aware of them watching me. I quickly got in the car, moved it and got back out (locking it, you can be sure). I went back inside and locked the door. I peered through the window to see them still sitting there, looking at my house.

I started thinking of what to do. They looked like total junkies up to no good. I checked the clock so I could record how long I'd noticed them there. I decided if they were still there in half an hour, I might need to call the police. I'd tell the police that I'm home alone and pregnant and really nervous about these junkies sitting outside my house peering at me.

I decided to call Scott, you know, to let him know I might not be safe.

He had to call me back so I waited. When he did call back, I told him:

"Scott, I'm just telling you this so you know, but there are a couple of junkies hanging out outside the house in a car, smoking or something, and they're making me really nervous. If they're still there in half an hour, I'm going to be really worried."

"Where are they? Outside by our car?"

"Yes. Right by our car. They're really suspicious and look like junkies."

"Are you sure they aren't the builders?"


"Well, do the builders look like pure junkies?"

"I don't know. Go around back and ask the neighbours if they are the builders. I gotta go."

This did not make me feel any better. I put down the phone and started gathering courage to go out back and knock on the neighbours door. But before I could get too far, I heard voices outside my window.

I peered out, unnoticeably, I hoped, and saw the "junkies" putting on construction coats and get out their shovels.

It just goes to show you can't judge a book by its cover.

(I still maintain they might be junkies, just high functioning ones...)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day Christmas Tree Photo Post

Unfortunately, though today is Thanksgiving, I'm going to have to reverse my holiday posting. Normally, I'd put up my Christmas tree after Thanksgiving. However, we won't be celebrating Thanksgiving until Saturday (as naturally the Scots don't have this Thursday/Friday off.) So I'll write about my Christmas tree putting-up experience tonight and Thanksgiving on Saturday.

But I'm going to use the age-old 'show don't tell' method of writing... only literally, actually, to tell the story of The Christmas Tree.

The End.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Like Mother Like Daughter

Dear Mom - Please don't take the following the wrong way. I in no way am making fun. I've actually grown to love the items discussed below.

At some point in time, my mother decided that leopard print was so me. She started buying me leopard print stuff every Christmas. My aunts thought it was so me too. Over the years, I've recented two leopard print picture frames, a leopard print blanket and a leopard print scarf and gloves set.

Leopard mania!

Amanda and I used to joke about this all the time. I started wearing the scarf and gloves a lot because frankly, I like matching things, but we thought it was funny that out of nowhere, my mom and aunts decided that I loved leopard print. I don't know where this came from. But it must've been a self-fulfilling prophecy because now I kinda do.

A few weeks ago, Scott and I were wandering around the little girls' clothes section in a shop when I spotted a little outfit I couldn't do without. Scott was amazed. He said, "Lori! You're going to do exactly to our daughter what your mom did to you!" I just smiled and placed the outfit in the basket. Yes, I thought, revenge.

Only it's not revenge. Because it's so unbelievably cute. In fact, I think it's so unbelievably her.

Leopardise the Child!

Shout It From the Rooftops

I love my husband more than I could ever in my wildest dreams have imagined.

I just wanted to announce that to the world.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fail To Impress

I just thought it would be melodramatic to title three posts in a row with derivatives of the word 'fail'.

Months ago as the ladies in the church gathered to plan our monthly Ladies' Evenings, I volunteered to help out with the baking. 'I love baking,' I informed them. They oldies were quite pleased to hear this because not only did it mean a little less work from them, but it also meant that maybe, just maybe, there would be someone in the younger generation to carry on the very important tradition of homebaking for church gatherings, a tradition that is dying out amongst the youth.

I was very anxious to impress. Anna, one of the older ladies who is very well-known for her homebaking, was particularly delighted. While having a cup of tea at her house one evening, she offered us some shortbread and then commented, 'You bake too, don't you?' sounding quite pleased. I really wanted to impress her with my baking. Her and the other ladies who find baking for church functions the greatest ministry a woman can have. (My church doesn't allow women to speak, so you know, baking and making tea is about the crux of it. I do not agree with this doctrine, might I add. But I do love to bake. Though I hate making a cup of tea.)

So tonight was the Big Night. I spent hours yesterday evening making up my 'tray bakes'. I made two batches of shortbread and two batches of no-bake cookies (at the request of one of the ladies who liked my no-bake cookies). It really did take hours. Shortbread is a tricky thing. I was so nervous, making that shortbread. When the dough came out all crumbly, I was nervous. I rolled the dough out a million times with the rolling pin, trying to get it to hold together, but it just wouldn't get less crumbly. I added water and more flour... refridgerated the dough (is it called dough if it's shortbread?)... Anyway, in the end I just went with it, and they turned out fine. A bit dry but tasty.

I brought in my four batches of cookies tonight on brand new Christmasy platters. I was nervous. I couldn't wait until the tea after to observe the reactions. I dreamed of the ladies complimenting me on my delicious shortbread. I invisioned them asking the 'secret' of the unique flavour.

Tea time came, and I tried to be non-chalant about watching the platters empty. I tried to non-chalantly look at people's plates to see if they'd taken any of my cookies. I watched faces as they bit into my shortbread.

The platters remained full.

The plates seemed ominously void of my cookies.

The faces eating my shortbread showed no interest.

I even found a half-eaten piece of shortbread left on a table.

Not even my friends who knew the shortbread was mine commented.

The night ended, and I peeked in the kitchen to reclaim my platters. I knew tons of cookies had been left. I asked if they were going to kept for another occasion. One lady said yes, she'd put them in some tins - unless I wanted them to take back home. No, no, I insisted, I'll just take one or two for Scott. I waited for someone to comment on them. One lady finally did. 'Was that almond in them?' she said, with a funny (I think?) look on her face. Embarrassed and suddenly terrified that my 'unique' flavour had been a disaster, I quickly explained I usually use vanilla but thought I'd try almond this time. 'Oh, no,' she said, 'I don't like vanilla.'

That was the only comment I got the whole night.

I know it's silly, but I was crushed! What if they never want me to bake for them again? I'm afraid now to even volunteer. I came home and nearly cried. Maybe it was a mixture of disappointment, pregnant hormones and the horrible rain that drenched me on my journey from the car into the house, but seriously, I'm the saddest.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Double Failure

Well, I didn't manage to post yesterday either. Why,you ask? Because I was out PARTYING! Yeah, that's right, I was a Wild Child. I drank so much water, I was wasted.

It was my friend Jamie's 'leaving do' at work. He actually left a month ago, but we just got around to bidding him his farewell. We met up for lunch at 1.00 and partied until late into the eve. Ya'll, I was so impressed with myself - I stayed out until 10.00! At which point I was so thoroughly exhausted I could barely even sleep. I was too tired to get into a comfortable enough position.

I was so exhausted during dinner, even, that I could barely lift the fork to my mouth. But I was starving also so I managed.

But that is why I didn't post yesterday. I was too busy shooting ice water at the pub.

But maybe today. Maybe today.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Failure to Launch

*No, I've not seen this movie and don't intend to.

Well, I failed to successfully blog at least once each day. Big fat deal. Last night I was exhausted after spending the most wonderful cheap date night with my husband - pizza delivery, a romantic drive in the dark, and [edited for content].

It's not that I had nothing to say; I've had several entries in my mind to write about in case a day arrives when I'm stuck. But last night, I preferred sleep to blogging.

(Though sleep I did not really get, as I woke up periodically all night with the most disgusting and horrid heartburn EVAH. Note to Self: BUY GAVISCON)

It seems now, though, a bit stupid to embark on one of my planned topics because a) I'm at work and had to find a picture in Flickr to blog from (by the way, I got Flickr put back on our access list - I called the IT department and complained childishly) and b) My title wouldn't do it justice. So maybe tonight I'll post something more exciting, but for now, I'll just tell you about my incredible bargain shopping from yesterday lunchtime.

My friend Carol from work and I are quickly becoming The Most Boring People To Have Lunch With in the universe. She brings in her lunch and I've started either bringing mine in or buying soup and eating it at my desk before going away for the hour. We pretty much then just walk around the town during lunch until it's time to come back. Our usual haunts are Morrisons (grocery store), Mothercare, Instore (junky cheap stuff shop), Cancer Research charity shop, Au Naturale (kinda tacky but sometimes nice home decor) and Boots (chemist). I know, I know, quit clamouring to come lunch with us!

Yesterday, I decided to use my Boots Advantage Points that I've been saving up for a few years. I had £18.50 worth in points. I also had a £5 off voucher for any No7 product.

Girlfriend, I bought three Christmas presents and a facewash for £1.50.

And I still have £8.50 in Advantage points left.

That's almost as exciting as the bargain I got on matching his and hers vibrating toothbrushes!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The (Not So) Mysterious Thoughts of a Woman

Throughout the day, I thought of several different things I could post about - contraception (inspired by this GetReligion post), my upcoming homebirth and my birth plan, and my very hopeful-looking work-from-home situation. But now that I'm at home, sitting with my legs wide apart on a stool with my oversized tummy taking over what should be my lap with increasing backpain as I continue to try to sit this way because I don't have the heart to kick the cat off my rocking chair... I don't feel like posting about anything. If only my laptop were waterproof, I could post from a hot, steamy bubble bath...

So here are some random, not-thought-out thoughts to get us all by.

The people at my work don't have a clue what I do. It's fair enough when an IT teacher asks why I use a Mac and I have to explain that it's because I design the magazine, but when your own boss tells you he wasn't aware that you write the termly newsletters... well, that's just insane. I write six newsletters a year; I'd consider that a definite important part of my job that my own boss should know about. When the Deputy Rector has to clarify with me in a meeting about the magazine that I'm the desktop publisher, I think that's a bit crazy too. I mean, why else would I be in the meeting, a copy of the magazine in hand, discussing the need for higher quality photographs, more condensed text and a higher standard of proofing on the printers' part if all I do is answer the bloody phone sometimes? And when I call the IT department to talk about loading some new pages on the website and the IT guy says, 'Thomas isn't here, but there's someone else who deals with the website who might be able to help if you can find out who that is' and that 'someone else' happens to be ME, okay, there's a problem.

Keeping up with housework is well and truly an astronomically-sized job but a few basic rules are helping me out:
1. Hand wash the dishes after dinner. In fact, while you're cooking, fill the sink with hot soapy water and drop the pots and pans in as you are finished with them. Wash those while things are cooking/simmering/baking. After dinner, take the remaining dishes immediately back to the kitchen and finish the job. If the water is yucky or cold or whatever, refill the sink. Or if you're lucky like me and have a dishwasher, rinse the dishes and stick them in there. It's amazing.
2. Do one load of laundry a day. Laundry is so easy; it takes minutes to separate out a few coloured/dark/white items and throw them in the wash. An hour later it takes only another few minutes to throw them in the dryer/hang them on the line/hang them on the airer. I'm going to do my one load when I finish typing.

I'm learning that decorating a baby room really ought to be a last trimester sort of job. In the first trimester, I was so excited about being pregnant that I bought all sorts of neutral decor baby stuff to start decorating with. By the second trimester, I knew I was having a girl so I started buying girly things. Now I'm in the third trimester and I'm tired of the crap I've been looking at all this time. I exchanged most of my jungle-themed items (with the exception of a mobile that Pete bought us) for the 'Secret Garden' theme (pink and pastel green and white flowery stuff) and I've changed my mind on the colour scheme again. Originally it was going to be oranges, greens and yellows for the jungle theme - then it became pink and turquoise with a touch of yellow for the cute but not too girly theme - now I just want pink and white with a few bits of pastel green to match the 'Secret Garden' theme. I've sort of lost my mind.

That hot, steamy bubble bath sounds unbelievably good right now. It's laundry then bath time. Good night.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pulling My Weight

Well, even though Lori started this post every day thing, apparently I need to do some of it too.

I'm a bit rusty at this whole blogging thing, so I'll go with the tried and tested list method.

1) Work is mind-numbingly boring. I've been given a promotion recently, so I'm now a supervisor of sorts, which brings with it a much less interesting job and a good degree more money, which is much appreciated with a nipper en route. Office work really isn't good for a man, I need a real job. Like a miner, fireman, or something. The kind of job our dads had.

2) Having the cats back is nice. They've matured a lot since they left a few months back, and are less prone to annihilating our mail every day. This is wonderful. Also, they like to play more now, so I get to play-fight with them more, which is the best bit about having cats.

3) Pete (my brother) has moved to the States, and I miss him. Call soon, man.

4) Ahhhh, I'm done.

Monday, November 13, 2006

School's Out for Power Outage

Remember in high school those blessed chance days when the power would go out and not come back on and everyone got sent home early?

The kids at this school won't remember days like that. No, no, they'll remember learning geometry in the dark.

The power at the school went out today around 12.00 noon. We all expected the lights to merely flicker a few times and then come back on. But as time passed, and the power never came back, we began to wonder what would happen. It was the school's Open Evening tonight as well so we knew at some point they'd have to sort out something, as the Open Evening is such a huge event, but we did expect the staff to at least send the kids home. Especially when the temperature started dropping.

And the sun started to go down.

It gets dark around here around 4.00 these days, and earlier if it's a bad day, which today was. So at 3.30 when the kids did leave, the school was freezing cold and nearly pitch black.

As an employee who had only a few things to do today, I totally loved it - for a while. But it started to get pretty old when things would pop into my head that I needed to work on, and I'd turn to my computer just to remember it was off. I'd brought in a book today to read after hours, as I'd volunteered to stay on late to answer the phone calls from people asking about the Open Evening, but it was too dark to read. I also had my Christmas cards with me in case I got bored, but it was too dark for that too.

And did I mention I was freezing?

At one point, I had my coat on, a blanket over my legs and my hands jammed in my pockets.

And there was no tea. No electricity meant no kettle which meant no tea.

It also meant no water, as the water machine is plugged into the wall. I ended up drinking milk (which never got warm in the fridge surprisingly enough) out of a tea mug, which didn't warm me up much.

No electricity also meant the security door didn't work. Which meant people were able to walk in without buzzing us first. When night fell, Pamela (the receptionist) and I sat in the cold dark contemplating what we'd do if Jack the Ripper arrived. She actually got spooked enough to tell me that I couldn't stay down there once she left at 5.15 if the power weren't back on.

I said I didn't mind staying even if in the dark to answer the phones. A few minutes later, around 4.45, Pamela was cut off the phone when the phones all went out.

By this time no one else was still in the building; they'd all gone home to get ready for the Open Evening.

So there we were, in the dark, freezing cold and no phones.

I was so ready to pack up and leave.

Then the power came back on.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Keep On Truckin'

I've finally made it to the third trimester, by the way.

27 week bump

Bad Dreams and Nightmares

I often have bad dreams which I call nightmares. But I think nightmares are actually defined more distinctly by the sweating, chills, crying and inability to accept the dream as a dream upon awaking. Well, maybe not, as describes one as 'a terrifying dream in which the dreamer experiences feelings of helplessness, extreme anxiety, sorrow, etc.' At any rate, I have a lot of bad dreams. The night before last I dreamed I lost my baby. I woke up upset but relieved it was only a dream. I waited for a few minutes until I felt her kick and felt reassured enough to go back to sleep. I probably described it to Scott as a nightmare.

But last night I was reminded of the real distinction between the two. Last night I had a genuine nightmare. I woke up gasping for air, covered in cold chills and sweating. I woke Scott in a panic and began sobbing uncontrollably. He kept assuring me I'd just had a bad dream, and it was all okay. But I couldn't stop crying. The dream had been so real. Even after waking, I couldn't console myself. I was sweating and couldn't close my eyes for fear the images would reappear - which they always did when I did try to go back to sleep. Scott got up to get me a glass of water to help calm me, and I just sobbed the whole time, praying that God would take the images away from me.

I can't even describe what I dreamed. Even now it's too horrifying, and I don't want to recall the images. But once again, the dream was about losing my baby. Only this time it was the kind of dream where I was certain it wasn't a dream, and in the dream I kept trying to wake up, hoping it was a dream, and I couldn't. I just kept looking in the crib and screaming.

I know it's normal to have scary dreams while pregnant. I've had a few scary dreams, ones where I drop the baby or hurt her somehow or forget to feed her or whatever the case may be. But they've all been resolved upon awaking. Last night's dream just keeps haunting me. I relish my baby's kicks even more now than ever. I couldn't go back to sleep last night until she gave me about five sturdy kicks in a row, as if to say 'Mama, I'm fine! Go back to sleep, you're stressing me out!' I just sat in bed, rubbing my belly and praying. I finally rested my head on Scott's chest while he coaxed me to breath slowly with him until I drifted back off. The dream didn't return, thank God.

I suppose this is just my brain trying to work out all my fears and all that, separating the real fears from the fake ones. What happened in my dream wouldn't actually happen in real life, I realise that now that it's morning and it's all over. But I still don't like the prospect of going to bed at night with the possibility of more of these dreams tormenting me.

It helps to get it all out this way. I'd rather blog my fears than dream them.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lori's Fabulous Saturday O' Tidying

I love a good productive Saturday. I love feeling like I got something done. I woke up with Scott early this morning, and when he went off to work (yes, the poor boy had to work on Saturday), I put in a load of laundry, filled the dishwasher, handwashed the remaining dishes, wrote a good number of Christmas cards, hung up the wet clothes from the wash and put in another load. All before Scott got home at noon. We were then meant to take Scott's gran shopping, but she wasn't feeling well, so after spending a little time with her, we headed off for a late lunch and did our own grocery shopping. We came home, I put in another load of washing, I took a nap, then we returned a video to the video shop, where I rented another video and watched it. All of this and it's only 8.45!

I only say all this because I have nothing else to talk about... and I'm about to go to bed (8.45!) and I needed to blog today.

Sorry for wasting your time, buttheads!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sir Quackenbush III

I'm going to talk about my favourite toys. I'm not a total grown-up yet, and I don't intend to become one fully ever.

This is Sir Quackenbush III, sometimes referred to as the IV by mistake. Sir Quackenbush III is the adopted son of Sir Quackenbush the Second, a yellow duck presented to me by Scott on our first Christmas. Sir Quackenbush the Second is the highly successful son of Quackenbush, a yellow beany baby duck which quacks, presented to me by a friend (was it Devon?) in high school.

Sir Quackenbush III believes he is a duck, just like his forefathers, and we have allowed him to believe this. He does in fact quack. He has happily lived as a duck for quite some time, but recently he's been asking questions.

'If I'm a duck, why can't I swim?'
'If I'm a duck, why do I have to wear a raincoat?'
'If I'm a duck, why am I not yellow?'

I don't feel able at this time to tell him the truth about his adoption. I simply reply, 'But can you quack like a duck? Then you're a duck!' At this point, this satisfies him and ends the matter. But I know far too soon, he will begin to piece together the truth.

Sir Q has been like a child to me. He's the right size to be a baby, he's got little chubby legs like a baby and he has a small but adorable wardrobe. He's innocent and loves his daddy and talks to us (often during the night when one of us rolls over on top of him).

I love Sir Q. He is currently my favourite toy. He's one of the few toys I will almost refuse to let my kids play with and destroy. Not to mention the very real concern we have of both confusing our kids ('Teacher: What sound does a monkey make? McFarlane Kid: Quack quack quack!') and our kids telling him he's actually a monkey.

I'd be remiss not to mention the other favourite toy that I don't want my kids to play with. This is Bobo. While Sir Q may be a great companion, no toy will ever be like Bobo. Bobo and I go back further than I can remember. Bobo has been my lifelong companion. Bobo's been through (and survived) more than most toys; she's undergone about two or three surgeries and more precarious adventures than I can name. She was always willing to ride on the handlebars of my bike or be strung from the ceiling fan and swirled about.

She had a rough start in life. She was supposedly abducted (by me) from her first owner, the neighbour boy Justin, about twenty-two years ago. About sixteen years ago, she was betrothed to another sock monkey named Jay Roy. She and Jay Roy were inseparable until Jay Roy went through his anti-girls phase and broke off the engagement. She and Jay Roy remained friends, however, and two years ago, she married Fred. She and Fred are doing very well and often take the responsibility of watching over Sir Quackenbush III (careful not to expose their close biology) and Isabella Snowflake Bear, one of the other main residents of our bedroom.

For more on Bobo, I refer you to an essay tribute I wrote to her in university.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


As much as I'd like to blog about something interesting, something with a theme or topic, something thought-provoking and engaging, I'm just going to tell you about me.

Me and Scott and the changes taking place around here.

First, something happened two nights ago that has never happened to us before, in the two years we've been married.

We ran out of toilet paper.

This must be some kind of rite of passage or something. Into real marriage. Into parenthood. Into what the world is really like. 'People come into our lives and walk with us a mile, but then because of circumstance you run out of toilet paper.' I think that's what Mrs Balgavy REALLY was trying to say all those years ago.

Second, the cats are back temporarily. Scott's parents are in Australia for a month, so we've taken them back in for the time being. I actually really enjoy their company. I also enjoy the fact that they aren't staying. I think we've made the right decision in letting them live with their grandparents. At least for now. But they've been really sweet and not destructive, and I do so love Clementine's little sniffles.

Third, I'm starting to walk like a duck. Ok, here's a bit of good old TMI, it's just that the vaginal pressure is really hard to walk with. And when I get up out of chairs, I do it like a real preggo, with my arms pushing me up and my mid-section rising before the rest of me. And I have to hold my abdomen whenever I sneeze or cough (and it's probably an indication that I've not been doing my Kegels regularly enough that sometimes the sneezes cause minor leaks...TMI again). I feel pretty silly most of the time. But in a way, I like the duck-walk. It's another rite of passage. You're totally up the duff when you walk like a duck.

Fourth, I've decided to take control of my family's health. Dum dum dum! I say it's an effort to be that Proverbs 31 woman, but I think it's more just mummy-worry. I want my kids (and my hubby) to be healthy and strong and able to fight infections and do karate. So I've changed a few things around here. I realise that I probably will not realistically be motivated to TOTALLY change our entire lifestyle, but I can change the ingredients of our lifestyle. So I've thrown out all the crisps and crap like that (leaving a few treats), and I've started buying whole wheat everything - bread, pasta, flour, you name it. I've switched to organic cow's milk and organic anything that is in-a-jar type food (because I'm being honest with myself about my need to take baby steps, and I know I won't start making spaghetti sauce from fresh diced tomatoes and clippings from my basil plants just yet). I've started buying these Actimel things to boost our immune systems. I'm going to get Scott started on a daily vitamin supplement. (I'm on the prenatal ones.) I'm going to buy more fresh organic vegetables and fruit, and we're actually going to eat it; in fact, I actually for the first time ever finished a whole bag of apples, which I am immensely proud of! And for me personally, I'm going to stop eating chocolate that isn't organic (except for the odd occasion) for one simple reason - it's damn expensive, and if that's all I'm allowed to eat, I won't buy it very often! I bought a Green & Blacks dark chocolate and ginger bar on Tuesday, and I'm still only halfway through it. It's amazing how well this system is working for me. The organic chocolate is a lot richer and more in depth taste-wise than your run-of-the-mill chocolate bar, so instead of shovelling the chocolate down my throat, I'm actually enjoying it and getting enough, one little square at a time. And finally, this Saturday I'm going to head into Holland & Barrett and get some flax seed or oil, mineral-type stuff and a few other health food items to supplement all our meals.

Even though my house is a mess, it makes me feel good to know that I'm making a little effort to keep our insides from being one!

And fifth and finally, I'm really really really in the Christmas spirit, having spent the evening wrapping presents in beautiful silver paper and writing out Christmas cards. I want to put up the Christmas tree NOW, but Scott says no. He says I have to wait until after Thanksgiving. Which, really, I should be hugging and kissing him for, for allowing me to keep that family tradition alive in our new family, instead of carrying on this country's normal tradition of 12 days before Christmas. I mean, how sad would that be, a tree only 12 days before Christmas? What would be the freaking point? I should be happy that I get to do it in three weeks. Or is it two? Holy cow!! Christmas bells are totally almost ringing!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rich and Quietly Not Famous

Earlier, it was either post about Carman or post about nutrition. I chose Carman.

Then I read someone else's blog and decided I wanted to blog about that too.

What I Would Do With 10 Million Dollars (but we'll make it pounds because we're 'British' like that - or at least 2/3s of us are and the remaining 1/3 is a permanent resident):

1. First, we'd invest it and live off the interest (and Scott points out he'd never work again). Then, with the interest:

2. Scott would buy 3 gigabytes of RAM for his computer, two new graphics cards and another computer.

3. Scott would buy Nintendo Wii.

4. Lori would buy an Apple Mac - both in laptop and mini form.

5. We'd buy two houses - one in Arkansas and one in Scotland (Glasgow, Newton Mearns). Whichever one we lived in more permanently (as the other would be the vacation home), we'd have a master bedroom, a bedroom for each kid, two guest bedrooms, a library, a games room and at least one big enormous bathroom with the toilet in the shower like the Edwards' who I used to work with.

6. Lori would buy a Mini Cooper, and Scott would get a red car.

7. Lori would hire a cleaner, a gardener (sure we have one now but THIS gardener would plant flowers), and Allison for each pregnancy.

8. Oh yeah, and my houses would be beautifully furnished Laura Ashley style.

9. We'd go on a European tour (and pay to take our closest friends) and see France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Spain - eh, everywhere.

10. We'd go on an Antarctic cruise with Devon and Robert.

11. We'd give a lot of money to our church.

12. We'd give money to our families (or if they'd prefer, new houses or new cars or whatever). (Gosh, it took me that long to remember to be generous.)

13. We'd fly Amanda, my brothers and their wives, my parents and Devon, Robert and Ella over here to visit. (Hmm, might need more guest rooms. Or we could just put them up in fancy hotels.)

14. We'd go see Dirty Dancing in London.

15. Lori would buy all new clothes.

16. Lori would buy Scott an XBOX 360 without him knowing it. (Lori would later regret buying Scott the XBOX 360.)

17. Lori would buy every book she's ever wanted for that library she forgot she installed in her big house.

18. We'd buy Rangers season tickets (heck, hospitality seats even).

19. We'd buy a piano and piano lessons.

20. We'd adopt a baby from an orphanage. A Chinese orphanage, probably. Or maybe a Russian one.

Or something like all that. I don't really know how much 10 million pounds is. (But if I bought everything from America in dollars, we'd be just fine!)

Confessions of a Dangerous Geek

It's time to just out with it.

I used to listen to Carman. And I thought he was good.

Monday, November 06, 2006

A Big Grumpy Blogger

Laugh if you want, but I really had no idea pregnancy was going to be like this. I just assumed with a little bit of positive attitude, I'd just sail right through it. I thought that the hard part was going to be the labour, but the rest was going to be nine glorious months of blooming marvellous.

I didn't realise I'd throw up the entire first 16 weeks.

I didn't realise from 16 weeks through 26 weeks (and counting) I'd have excruciating back pain.

I didn't realise I'd start having painful Braxton-Hicks contractions starting in the middle of my second trimester.

I didn't realise I'd be so unbelievably tired.

I just thought it was all supposed to be a walk in the park.

I mean, sure, I'd read about the 'niggles' as the books so cutely put it, I'd heard the pregnancy horror stories, but I just assumed people needed to buck up and get positive and be excited about the MIRACLE THAT IS GROWING INSIDE THEM.

Ya'll, I'm totally excited about the miracle growing inside me. It's the rest of me I'm not excited about.

I'm so tired of feeling like crap. I'm so tired of my back pain. I have absolutely had enough of it. And yet I've still got ages to go. It's so depressing, knowing I could have yet another three months of unmanageable back pain to go. Most pregnant women are afraid of labour. I'm not. I'm ready for it. I can't wait. I can't wait to push this darling child out of my body. People tell me I'll miss the bump, and I probably will, but all I can think of now is how amazing it'll feel to not be in pain any longer.

But then I start feeling guilty for feeling this way, because there are so many women who would do anything to be pregnant and here I am complaining about it. And even me, I was desperate to finally have a baby. It's all I've ever wanted. So what gives me the right to complain? And I also don't want to wish my pregnancy away, because it really is such an amazing experience, one I wish every women could have, and it's such a relatively short period of my life in which I get to experience it myself. And I don't want to say I'm ready to have this baby, because I'm not, because what if I actually did have this baby now, it would be terrible! She's not ready to be born, and I know that, so if she accidently did come now, I'd feel guilty like it was my fault for being so impatient with her!

Ok, I can detect a bit of ridiculousness in everything I'm saying. A bit of placenta-brain talking. I'm just being grouchy and complainy and frustrated. I'm tired. I don't sleep at night, and then I work all day, and then I come home and see how much needs to be done here, and it's just too much right now. I feel headachy and fevery and cold and weak and my back hurts and I'm just feeling poopy all over. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to type any of this. I just feel lousy. It'll go away. I need to eat my dinner and go to sleep. My baby's kicking my ribs (that's a new one for me) and is probably sick of me giving her the blues.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Remember Remember the Fifth of November

It was the night when some chap called Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament. The polite British commemorate his capture with bonfires, fireworks and blowing up a Guy Fawkes doll.

I love it.

Guy Fawkes

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Middle Child Syndrome?

I am so unlike everyone in my family - in certain ways at least. If I didn't look like my mother's younger twin (but not much younger because my mom's still practically a baby), I'd think I was adopted. And if I didn't have her silliness and my dad's stubbornness and this matching lone freckle that me and my two brothers all have on our arms. If it weren't for all them genetics I'd be seriously wondering (and possibly checking the milkman's arm for a lone freckle).

Maybe it's because I'm the middle child. Maybe it's because of that stubbornness I inherited from Dad. Maybe it's because I studied the liberal arts. Or maybe I had a traumatic experience as a child that altered my sense of reality. Or it could be all those head injuries I accrued growing up (I can think of about four off the top of my head).

I'm nothing like my family in politics. My parents used to (affectionately?) dub me 'their little Democrat'. To be precise, I am not a Democrat and never have been. Neither have I ever been a Republican. I remember the first time I was old enough to vote. I had no idea that you voted for all the different local officials on the ballots too. I asked my dad how one is able to know all the issues each person on the ballot stands for. His response? 'Ya just go down the page and tick the R's.' Oh, I see, thanks!

Maybe I got that cute little nickname because I used to argue with them about the war in Afghanistan. Or maybe because I once accidentally said in front of them that Bill Clinton did a few things well. Or it might have been the fact that I didn't vote for Bush last time around. (And again, to be precise, I didn't vote for Kerry either. I actually intended to vote for the Constitutional party candidate, Michael Peroutka, but being overseas, I didn't manage to get my absentee ballot ordered in time.)

I'm also different in other, smaller, less argument-inducing ways. (I now just try to leave politics out of all conversations whenever possible.) I've also been (affectionately?) dubbed the 'little hippie'. I think this was in response to a peasant skirt I once owned when I was about 20 pounds lighter and living on cold Eureka Pizza. But it has escalated to my 'tree-hugging' and natural health and family planning ideals. And I, of course, was the weird one who moved out of the country (but it wasn't to avoid the draft, I promise!) And speaking of draft, I may be the daughter of a military man - and the sister of one too - but I'm soooo not into it. Though I will make the occasional pro-Air Force joke when surrounded by members of other branches of the armed forces (ie, The Air Force do the flying, the Army do the dying).

I must say though, in defense of my absolutely wonderful family, we all agree on one thing (with the possible exception of one of my brothers) - we're all Calvinists. At least they've got that right!

I don't say any of this to insult my family. I think I have the best family in the world. We're all very close and are there for each other. I'm totally proud of both of my brothers and think they have amazing wives, my aunts and uncles are all great and supportive and my parents did an incredible job of raising us all to feel loved, special, smart and independent. I see myself, as a mum-to-be, agreeing with a lot of my parents' parenting choices now, and I know I will look to them for guidance and advice and as role models.

It's just somewhere along the line, I realised they're all crazy. And I diverted away from the craziness. Though they'd say the exact opposite.

This post brought to you by my realisation that my pharmacist brother will probably faint if I decide not to vaccinate my children. And the need to blog something when I actually have nothing to blog about.

Friday, November 03, 2006

NaBloPoMo Block

Unfortunately what happens when one vows to post on one's blog every day for thirty days is life stops doing interesting things.

So once again, I'm falling back on the old list format.


Oh my goodness I don't even have anything to list.

Ok, here's something I was thinking about today:

I'd rather suffer physical pain than go number two when someone else is in the stall next to me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Well, it's a good thing I never actually officially signed on to this NaBloPoMo thing, because my work has now denied access to Flickr. Flickr. I mean, seriously. So since Flickr was the only way I could blog from work (because of course Blogger access is denied), I may very easily not get around to blogging every day.

It's okay, I'm not that bothered. I'll still try though.

But for now, these things must be said:
1. My back %$&#! hurts.
2. My boss is acting and speaking very favourably towards my working-from-home suggestion.
3. Saturday night is Fireworks Night.
4. Tomorrow is Friday.
5. I'm ready to put up my Christmas tree.
6. I wish I could sleep for a few weeks straight.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Life In Gerunds

I was under the erroneous impression that the 1st of November was Reformation Day. I was sadly mistaken. So I have missed Reformation Day. I have missed an opportunity to write a Reformation Day post. I will be frank with you - I'm okay with that. I would've had nothing to say on the subject anyway.

I received this email from my boss:

I have the Newsletter for you with some amendment suggestions,and I also have info on your working from home idea.
Regards, Colin

That was Monday. I haven't heard anything else since.
*twiddles thumbs*

I am mostly done with my Christmas shopping. I still have a few gifts on the list yet to get, but at least I know what those gifts will be. There are only two people for whom we are completely clueless as to what to get (and those two people happen to be our mums). It's a grand feeling. The lack of additional cash in the bank account isn't a grand feeling, but knowing the advantage of not buying all of it the day before Christmas is.

I've given up on several of the books I was attempting to read. Captivating has been officially tossed by the wayside. I just can't get through it. The cringe factor is too high. The eye-rolling factor is too great. The stereotype factor is too big. I just can't do it. Vanity Fair is still very much on the list, but I haven't picked it up in weeks. I interjected The Complete Guide to Breastfeeding in the midst of my other readings and finished it quickly. I particularly loved the oh-so-80's advice on appearance and romantic evenings (think matching sweatbands and videocassette players). I'm half-way through Velvet Elvis but not progressing much. My summer issue of the Oxford American finally arrived (on the 30th October), which has interrupted the rest of my reading. Sigh. Anyway. Reading shmeading. When will I ever get the time.

My poor hubby is about ready to ducktape my mouth shut about this whole vaccinations thing. I ordered The Vaccine Guide (Randall Neustaedter) with my Amazon vouchers (more reading!). It seems the more I look into the issue, the bigger I realise the issue is. There is so much to consider. I'm only just starting to get my head around it. I've created a spreadsheet (love spreadsheets!) to help me get an initial idea of what its all about.

Here's a wee sample:
Vaccination Schedule UK

My midwife felt that I was becoming a bit too anxious about the baby during our appointment on Monday. She felt this because I was first talking about taking an infant CPR class in case anything ever happened to my baby and then because of my indecision on the topic of vaccinations. But in all truthfulness, I don't feel all that anxious at all. Sure, I am overwhelmed at the enormity of responsibility I am going to have as a parent (and already have as a pregnant mother), and I think I have very natural worries (what if I'm not a good mother, what if something happens to the baby, what if I get fat), but I wouldn't call myself anxious. I just want to make good choices. I want to have reasons for my choices. I want to know why I am doing the things I choose to do.

I don't want to take everything I hear as Gospel Truth. I want to think for myself. I want to think in partnership with Scott too. And the more I learn about different things, the more at peace I feel. Knowledge is power, or something.

Schmooker is a kicking machine. She's getting bigger and bigger (duh) and so her kicks are more and more powerful. We can now see my belly move around when she moves. It's totally weird and awesome. This also means though that she is beginning her lifetime career of driving me nuts. Last night in my sleep was the first time I was aware of her movements. Luckily they didn't quite wake me up, but it's only a matter of time.

I'm also nearing the third trimester. I can't believe how time is flying! And how on the other hand I feel like I've been pregnant forever and have forever yet to go! Scott said to me last night, 'In three months we'll have a baby.' HOLY COW! I think I passed out after that.

NaBloPoMo In the spirit of internet community and good blogging (or in many cases, like mine, mediocre blogging), I think I will attempt to participate in this. I have a girlblogcrush on Kerflop, and while I don't need free hosting or anything, it might just be good for getting me to update regularly. However, you may have to read about what we had for dinner or how little sleep I'm getting, but blehwhocares.