Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Big Picture Recap

Man, I am so happy my kid seems well and I haven't been throwing up and I'm going to have a kid...but I Really don't enjoy being pregnant. Yesterday, something tweaked in my back and put me in more pain than I could imagine. I'd already had to cancel the camping cabin reservation in the NH woods that I had, and then had to keep cancelling plans. Including my new plans for New Year's Eve. Every few hours it plagues me again. Man it hurts. Tylenol, heating pad, hot baths, staying still. I guess that's all I can do.

It's been a crazy year that flew by. Here's a wee recap, since I'm laid up at home for the evening:

In January we got our two kittens at the pound and they are such a big part of our daily lives now. I can't believe they used to be so teeny.

I then drove cross country across the south with my old friend Andrea in February as she was moving to San Luis Obispo, CA. That was a great two week trip. I ate lots of wacky fried food in the south and saw a lot of art, and played in the desert and was really impressed by the beauty of that part of the CA coastline.

When I came back, the jeweler I'd been working for was moving further away than I wanted to commute and I landed a more local jeweler to learn from for this year in a place that is also a store. I enjoy the fact that people (customers) come in and out throughout the day, but I miss the energy and focus at the old gig, too.

Glenn finally got laid off from the job he was at (he was a big fish in a small software company that got bought by a bigger one and a bigger one and he'd gotten a bit lost in the shuffle) and found a job he absolutely loves a block and a half from our house. Just before he started we went to Vancouver for a week on my frequent flyer miles; it was pretty great.

In May I lost an incredibly dear friend of mine, Jim, and began this blog with his eulogy. His birthday was yesterday, and I miss him terribly. I spent last New Year's Eve with him and tried so hard to make him a great birthday cake that I think I used four kinds of chocolate.

Over the summer I managed to climb a few mountains and get a few kayaking trips in. I went Down East and up north and to Gulf Hagas and various parts of New Hampshire.

My brother and I had work in the same gallery in Gloucester, then this fall I was able to rent a studio space with two metalsmithing friends as studio mates...and then this last month Jade, my current employer, invited me to sell my work in her store. I did my usual web writing/content type consulting/freelance gigs this year, but stopped in the fall when I got sick.

The fall was a bad time for me physically, I spent some serious time at the doctor and in hospitals. And then presto magic, I was pregnant. I still haven't gotten used to that. The tyke is currently practicing cartwheels. Meanwhile we got to see friends and family get married here in New England and in Texas.

Glenn and I just went to Puerto Rico for a week. We visited the huge caves in Camuy and saw the world's biggest radio telescope and then went to Vieques (island off the coast) and kayaked at night in the bioluminescent bay. It was great, but definitely not easy while pregnant.

We managed to celebrate the holidays with each other, with each of our families, and with our friend families. I baked some of my usual fare, and then made a fab brunch one of the days. I painted a tree on my sliding glass door this year and put a dress of my grandmother's on a dress form and put a big star on top of it and strung it with lights and put presents under it. Our little cat sits and stares at the lights like she's worshipping the headless xmas lady. I told glenn it was in honor of the important ladies of the season with no first names like Mrs. Santa and our daughter. My toddler friend Anastasia was over the other day and I showed her my painted tree and thought she'd find that pretty funny that I'd painted it on the door. Instead she toed the rug and swayed back and forth with her face scrunched up and said pityingly "Yeah. well. WE have a Real tree." My 12-year old friend Devlin, however, said the lady was "quite possibly the best Christmas tree Ever."

In July I reserved a camping cabin on a x-country ski trail in NH for New Year's but I had to cancel it. Then I had to cancel my new plans. Hopefully I will have recovered some more tomorrow and can start 2007 afresh. I wish all of us a peaceful, environmentally conscious, loving 2007. 10...9...8...7...

(maybe I'll add photos later)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tips for Taking a "Babymoon"

Go somewhere warm. Not super blazing hot, but warm. It adds to the ways you can just relax. If you're going to a foreign city and not minding the cold since you'll need to stop and have something to drink or rest frequently anyway, don't forget that many cafes and restaurants in the world are extremely smoke-filled.

Don't stay in hotels known for their nightclubs. Even expensive hotels with popular clubs don't always shield their sleeping customers from noise. There's nothing more pathetic feeling than a total lack of sleep while you're pregnant in a foreign place.

Stay in places that are near stores or restaurants so that it's easy to have a constant supply of bottled water and snacks, and you can make decent last minute or fatigued decisions about meals.

Don't plan in too much walking. Maybe you're a hiker, and maybe you Really want to be an active pregnant lady, but guess what? You get tired more easily. And you'll be a lot more frustrated by that than by not having tired yourself.

If you're traveling anywhere with remote, bumpy off-road travel involve, you may want to rethink your plan. Riding over big potholes in dirt roads actually really hurts the new ligaments supporting your stomach, and occasionally your lower back. Body parts that hurt have a tendency to thwart sleep, and overtired pregnant people feel horrible. And, really, no one likes a scrambled baby.

In fact, do as little as possible. This is really hard for super Type A travelers and very self-sufficient people. However, get over it. Sleep in a hammock by the beach for hours. Take a cab those couple of miles. Have security guards give you a ride up to the summit of some site you want to see. Treat yourself. Especially if you've traveled to a place where people actually act respectful to pregnant women.

Walk on the beach and swim in the warm ocean or a warm pool for your exercise (no hot tubs!). If you hike constantly in your pregnancy, take some short hikes. If you kayak, paddle a little, but take it easy. Everything is about moderation, from the fried food craving to the exercise.

If you're pregnant in a cold season and traveling to a hot place, be prepared for other bodily changes – extra weight makes for faster body temperature rises, harder hill climbing, chafing, heat rash and more. Even more water intake is necessary.

Bring Tums, possibly chewable fiber pills, and your vitamins.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Department of Homeland Stupidity

Karthik Arumugham, a family friend, was detained and interrogated by DHS on Saturday night, Dec 2, at the Orlando airport. He was supposed to be flying to Frankfurt; instead, he was removed from a plane by Department of Homeland Security officials and interrogated for over an hour. He was warned by DHS officials not to write about his experience or to post it on any message boards, which is a clear violation of first amendment rights. So his family is asking that everyone help him do it.

In this process, he missed his connecting flight, and the airline would not put him on the next flight, and his computer and hard drive and cell phone were searched. He was never offered a lawyer at any point in the questioning.

Of particular interest to them was an email his sister sent to their parents saying she wanted to visit the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. It happens to be in Oklahoma City, which is a few hours drive from where their parents live. She was a gymnast from the age of 3-16 and has taught and coached gymnastics since then. She is a dancer who often travels abroad and loves watching gymnastics almost as passionately as dance.

Karthik is in the process of documenting exactly what happened, and they are filing a complaint with DHS. They're also trying to publicize this . . . . .


Monday, December 04, 2006

Pink and Blue?

I've been trying to research where this blue for boys and pink for girls nonsense comes from. So far what I've found is that until the early 1900s babies of both sexes wore white dresses. Then after that boys wore pink as it was considered related to the strong color red. Blue was considered a dainty color for girls.

This color code switched sometime around WWII, it seems. This overwhelmingly adhered to trend is not very old! It was hard to find out why the switch occurred, though it is proposed that it might have something to do with the Nazis plastering gay men with pink triangles and people being homophobic or avoiding the whole insane Nazi business and not dressing their boys in pink anymore.

I think the most interesting thing about it all is how important it seems to people to know the gender. It is the first question I am asked every time anyone hears I am pregnant. Why do we care so much? And why is it so important that people know on sight what gender your infant is? How could is possibly matter to them? It's fascinating.

All tests have gone very well with our wee one. There is no sign of any chromosomal or structural problems. And there is no sign of the clubbed feet that I was born with. We have a scheduled arrival of early May. I may give birth on the very day my dear friend Jim died last year, on the birthday of my dear friend Sakura who died the previous summer, or on Mother's Day. A time for rebalancing I guess.

I am happy to hear your name suggestions. . . .