February 28, 2011

From soup to nuts

So I was screwing around on Facebook this evening, putting off cleaning the bathroom, when something very interesting caught my attention. My friend Nicole was looking for help getting her next cookbook ready and put out an informal job advertisement for some assistance. She has about 200 recipes that she needs edited, organized, and uploaded into a print-on-demand website. I was excited by the opportunity and expressed interest, and she responded, "Amie, I was secretly hoping you would be interested in this." I was incredibly flattered.

I met Nicole a couple of years ago via our mutual friend Bree. At the time she was designing a survey for parents regarding the local school lunch program and needed some help. Designing surveys was a component of what I used to do in my research life, so it was very easy for me to offer my services. She liked the work I did for her, we hit it off, and for the next couple of years I followed her chef blog and we traded Facebook comments.

I am terribly excited because I enjoy cooking, but even more than cooking I love cookbooks! I have a pretty decent collection, and I spend a lot of time looking up recipes and ingredients online. Plus, I have plenty of time on my hands and this sounds incredibly fun. We just got off the phone and are currently nailing down the specifics, but expect to begin work together very soon.

I would like to personally thank the universe for throwing me a bone.


He knew how I needed to be loved.

February 27, 2011


For someone who ostensibly knows a thing or two about human behavior, I feel like I've never understood less. As I've moaned and cried about considerably, it was shocking to me how many people were not happy about my pregnancy.

But there have been some pleasant surprises, too.

My lovely and very much missed friend T.K. surprised me with a gift certificate for a natal massage ("to meet all the needs of the mother-to-be") a couple of nights ago when I was feeling incredibly low. I am so tempted to use it now, but I have a feeling I will appreciate it even more when I am huge and ungainly.

A girl from high school that I really never got to know very well surprised me by asking if she could make something for the baby. She has four children of her own, and assured me that she wouldn't be giving me any unsolicited advice because she knew everyone was probably busy doing that already. I really appreciated that--hell, THAT could be my gift.

Another girl with whom I never really got along heard about my pregnancy and contacted me to ask for my address so she could send me a gift. I was so touched.

I love to go to the doctor. All the ladies in the office are so genuinely kind to me. They smile and answer my questions and pat my arm reassuringly and congratulate me. I beam and beam.

Oh! And as my friend Lael said it would, my hair is getting fuller and thicker. This fucking ROCKS.

God. I hope that only happens to the hair on my head.

The magic beam

I guess I'm pretty naive.

Somehow I assumed that once you got pregnant, you would KNOW. Like there would be this magical beam that would radiate from within you, indicating the life growing inside.

There's no beam.

I am in my third month of pregnancy now, and I still don't really FEEL pregnant. I mean, there are a couple of signs other than the obvious pregnancy tests taken at home and at the doctor. I am moody and irritable and emotional and driving Ivan crazy. I'm tired and my formerly slim feet and long toes look like pudgy sausages. I have to eat every four hours.

But that's about it. I haven't had any morning sickness, and that strangely seems to disappoint people who love to ask, "Are you puking your guts up?." I can't say that I am sorry that I have missed this rite-of-passage thus far.

Tonight, four year-old Darius and I were talking about the baby before he went to bed. A commercial came on where kids were talking about "Where do babies come from?" and I cringed. His father was in the other room, and I didn't want to be the one to make decisions about what he does or does not know about where babies come from. Of course, he immediately turned to me and asked the inevitable question after the commercial went off.

"They come out of their mamas' tummies," I said simply, praying he would leave it at that.

"Are you a mother?" he asked.

"Not yet," I replied. "But I will be soon."

He thought for a second and said, "But you have a baby in your tummy, so you ARE a mother."

I smiled. I guess I just hadn't thought about it that way.

February 23, 2011

She said, "I'm ok. I'm alright though you have gone from my life."

My list of friends continues to stream-line.

Today a former friend deleted me from Facebook and dropped the spare keys of mine she'd had for years through my mail slot.

It seems I have been taken off the member list of one of my book clubs, as I've not been invited to the next meeting.

I felt like I had to drop out of my other book club after a member urged me to "consider all [my] options" regarding the baby. It hurt me so deeply and offended me so much that I don't feel like I can sit and smile through another meeting in this person's presence.

I didn't need all that social support anyway.

February 22, 2011

Things that currently make me cry

At the moment it seems like I am not QUITE as weepy as I was. There are a couple of themes to my tears, though, and they are coming most regularly when I think/hear about or see these things:

- people who feel lonely
- hungry, abused donkeys
- the very existence of the word "miscarriage"
- running out of my favorite orange juice

February 21, 2011

Jan is going to die.

During my summer jobs in college, I worked for numerous camps for kids of varying ages. One of these was Energy Express, a six-week reading and nutritional enrichment program for rural children in West Virginia. Because we spent so much time immersed in children's literature--reading it, writing about it, drawing scenes from books, acting out our favorite stories--I developed a real appreciation for kids' books at this time. I started accumulating a small collection I wanted to save for my own kids around 1996.

These have come in very handy since Darius spends so much time with us, and we generally read at least one book together before bedtime. He tends to pick the same stories over and over, so last night it was a pleasant surprise when he chose a book we hadn't read before: How Smudge Came.

It had been at least a decade since I'd read the book, and I honestly didn't remember much about it other than a girl finds a stray puppy. We snuggled down in bed under the covers and I began reading. Darius likes to ask a lot of questions about the story and the illustrations, so it ends up being a slow process. As we read and discussed each page, Ivan was moving around the room, getting ready for bed. Then I got to a page where another character is introduced and read:

Here's Jan, who isn't very old, but he is ugly with disease and he is going to die.

Ivan froze and said, "What the hell are you reading?" Darius turned to me with wide eyes. Apparently unable to muster any sensitivity and compassion at such an unexpected turn in the story, I burst out laughing.

As it turns out, the story is about a girl with Down's Syndrome who lives in a group home. She rescues a stray puppy in a snow storm and tries to hide him in her room. She cleans for a nearby Hospice facility during the day, and takes the puppy to work with her to meet the residents. The story ultimately has a happy ending, but it understandably brought up a lot of questions for Darius. We ended up having a conversation about death, dying, and Hospice right before turning out the lights for the night. Lovely bedtime topics for a small child.

Oh, yeah. I'm really a natural.

February 20, 2011


"A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life"

by David Foster Wallace from Brief Interviews With Hideous Men

When they were introduced, he made a witticism, hoping to be liked. She laughed extremely hard, hoping to be liked. Then each drove home alone, staring straight ahead, with the very same twist to their faces.

The man who'd introduced them didn't much like either of them, though he acted as if he did, anxious as he was to preserve good relations at all times. One never knew, after all, now did one now did one now did one.

February 18, 2011

Despite all the delicious mustards out there, yellow is still my favorite.

At 8 weeks of pregnancy, my books tell me that Fetus Marie is now the size of a pinto bean. Before she was a blueberry. Next week she'll be a ripe green olive. It's starting to seem unsettling to compare her to food so much. Especially food that sounds delicious! (I say this as I lick mustard off my finger. Not sure why you should know that, but there it is.)

Generally, I find the pregnancy books I ordered to be fairly dull and not particularly well-written. One part I do enjoy is the "Dad Tips" in Your Pregnancy Week by Week. The authors advise expectant fathers regularly to:

- bring home flowers for no reason
- buy a present for your partner and the baby
- bring home her favorite dinner, or cook it yourself

Generally, they seem to be saying "Now that you've knocked her up, you better kiss her ass every chance you get." I am a fan of this advice, even if it is rather patronizing.

Fortunately Ivan is cooking dinner as we speak.

February 16, 2011

Miss Crankypants

While bursting with the need for connection, I started looking around yesterday for online pregnancy support groups. I thought it would be nice to find some ladies who were possibly experiencing similar issues and we could, you know, TALK. A few sites were recommended and I checked them out. One that seemed to annoy me less than the others was www.i-am-pregnant.com.

Shit. These ladies are really irritating to me.

To begin with, there are a whole host of abbreviations to learn. Por ejemplo:

BFP = big fat positive
TTC = trying to conceive
BD = baby dance (intercourse)
EWCM = egg white cervical mucus (yuck!)

You get the idea.

Another thing that seemed strange was that a huge contingent of the i-am-pregnant site contributors are trying to conceive (oops! I mean "TTC"). Shouldn't this be a separate forum? I mean, these ladies definitely should have the support they need, but isn't it just torture to be surrounded by pregnant women comparing notes? Plus, I've seen new users announce a pregnancy happily only to be pounced upon with, "I'm so JEALOUS. In what position did you have sex?"

This is another big deal, apparently. There are whole discussion boards of women comparing *in depth* how they had sex and recommending their positions to others. One lady swears that you should be in the sleeper section of a tractor trailer cab with your feet braced against the ceiling.

In response to all this silliness, one woman said, "Uh, how about the PENIS IN VAGINA position?" I think she and I could probably be friends.

This morning I was immediately irritated when one happy user announced she and her husband had just found out they were joining "team pink." Barfy McUpchuck Pants.

Some of it is educational. I mean, I'm learning all sorts of gruesome things about nipples that turn white, mucus plugs (*shudder*), and something ominous called the "bloody show."

Mama. Hold me.

February 15, 2011

The titty bone

A: I can't find chicken breasts with bones in them.

I: Chicken breasts don't have bones.

A: What? Of course they do.

I: Do your titties have bones?

A: (silence)

I: I mean, do they?

A: Haven't you even been to KFC? Yes, they have bones. Usually you have to pay extra to get them without bones!

I: (thinks) No. Those motherfuckers don't have bones.

February 14, 2011

The remains of the day

All in all, today can suck my left nut. There are a few things worth mentioning, however.

As he does most every weekend, Darius spent the night with us. This morning when he found me crying over an email I had received, he studied my face, reached up and touched a tear that trickled down my cheek, and then hugged me. It is really something to be loved by a child.

This evening, a very thoughtful friend asked to knit a hat for the baby after I'd mentioned how much I enjoy looking at the little owl and hedgehog hats on Etsy.com. She said she couldn't promise it would be without flaws, fit a newborn, or even resemble a woodland creature, but that she was up for the challenge. Her kindness meant so much to me, and I (shocker!) cried again. (I have to meet my hormonal quota of at least 27 cries per day, after all.)

During my recent bouts of insomnia, I have been enjoying listening to music on Playlist.com as I catch up on reading friends' blogs; research pregnancy, health, and nutrition; and generally sit in the dark basking in the glow of the computer. At present I sit here listening to Alice Cooper's "Poison." I am taken back to a very specific summer day around 1990 when I sat in the bathtub shaving my legs ankle to hip and singing along with that song on a mix-tape I'd made off the radio.

I want to love you but I better not touch
I want to hold you but my senses tell me to stop
I want to kiss you but I want it too much
I want to taste you but your lips are venomous poison...

I remember thinking how terribly exciting such sensations sounded to my 13 year old ears, and imagining the the best kind of love was like that: desperate, wild, clinging.

I was so wrong.

It is a partner who knows *exactly* how you like your coffee and makes it for you every morning. It is snuggles and sleepy murmurs of 'I love you' under the covers in the middle of the night. It is someone who always washes the dishes for you. It is the person with whom I can spontaneously burst into singing Kool & the Gang's "Joanna."

This. This is the best kind.

Guess what?

Good news!

I have now disabled anonymous comments on this blog. That means the folks who have been sending me nasty little comments and snide remarks for the last 12 hours or so can *not only* go fuck themselves, but they can also put their name to their words or kindly shut up!

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 12, 2011

A little blog of fury

I think I lost a friend today.

I was meeting some friends for lunch this afternoon. I waited at the restaurant, looking forward to spending some time with some of my favorite people. Three of them were running late. The one to arrive on time is someone I've considered for years to be a dear friend, and she was the very first person I met when I moved to San Francisco and desperately needed friends. It had been quite some time since I had seen her, and I was genuinely glad to glimpse her face in the bustle of people on the sidewalk walking toward me. She looked tired. I hugged her and joked, "You're the only one on time!" She didn't say much, and we went in the restaurant. We hadn't gotten to talk in person yet about the baby.

When we went inside, I sat down at a table. She stood next to it, looked down and me, and said, "What is wrong with you?"

I was totally caught off guard, and said, "Excuse me?"

She said, "What were you thinking? With this child?"

My heart dropped in my chest. I met her eyes and said, "You know, I am really happy about this, and if you're not I don't want to hear about it."

She said very simply, "Okay. Bye." She spun on her heel and left, never looking back. I sat at the table alone for the next half hour trying to fight back tears.

I am so fucking angry, and so fucking hurt. A couple of friends for whom I have left messages when I tried to tell them my news have never bothered responding. A few people have asked, "Do you know who the father is?" A couple have inquired, "Can you even afford to being doing this?" One suggested ever so fucking gently that I should have an abortion and that this is just not a good time.

Right now I would kill to be one of those married women who has picked out trendy nursery colors and is already on waiting lists for the very best schools. People shit rainbows upon hearing her news and practically trip over themselves congratulating her. Instead of asking private, invasive questions, questioning her decision, and advising she abort the baby (for her own good, of course) people tell her she is glowing and chuckle that she'd better enjoy her sleep now because she won't get another full night for years.

I thought that having a baby was a joyful time. At home I carefully plan recipes loaded with vitamins and minerals, giggle over adorable hand-made baby hats on Etsy, and wonder if my baby will have a full head of hair. I want so very desperately to share this.

February 10, 2011

On prenatal vitamins

A: Oh, my god. These pills are huge.

I: Do you stick them up your butt?

I am with child.

Ivan and I are expecting a baby in September, and we couldn't be happier about it. Despite the challenges of recent months, we decided that the time was right for us to start trying. We kept this private. I had reason to believe it might take awhile. As it turned out, it took two weeks.

I had always wondered what the moment felt like when a woman found out she was pregnant. I could envision shock, horror, joy--depending on the point she was at in life and whether it was planned. Mine *was* planned, but at the exact moment I looked at the test I felt panic. For a moment I wanted to run away and be five years old again and forget that any of this had ever happened. And then I had to sit down and take deep breaths. And cry. Ivan and I confirmed the names we had chosen and agreed to wait awhile before telling almost everyone about the pregnancy.

But I just couldn't keep it a secret. I was so excited, and I was dying to share my news. I began spilling the beans immediately.

Not everyone has reacted well and I--perhaps naively--was utterly shocked. It honestly just never occurred to me that would happen.

I am feeling so many things.

Today I read that my baby is the size of a blueberry right now and that her face is forming. I cried.

I have been thinking of all the people I love who are no longer on this earth who will not be able to see my child. And I cry.

I am terrified that my friends who have chosen not to have children and I will be increasingly unable to relate to each other and that our life paths will continue to diverge further and further apart. I cry.

Despite our difficult history, I want to talk to my mother all the fucking time. I long for her to hug me and tell me it is going to be okay. I want to talk to other mothers. I want to ask them how their vaginas are doing these days. I want to be surrounded by women. These longings make me cry.

When Ivan is sleeping, I need to touch his bare skin and listen to him breathe. I think about this being that we are creating together, and the enormity of it hits me in the gut and I cry quietly next to him in awe and wonder.

I feel incredible guilt about being able to conceive so easily when I have known some wonderful women for whom this is not the case. The tears begin to fall in big, fat drops.

Everywhere I go and everything I do, I am aware of this tiny life growing in me. I feel so privileged to be able to experience this. It's like a wonderful secret I take with me wherever I go.

I want a rocking chair. I want recipes that make broccoli and brussels sprouts and spinach taste divine to me. I want my aching boobs to knock it off. I want tall glasses of cold milk.

There is so much more to say. For now I am exhausted.