Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

What rituals make you feel like a human being again?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Maybe we can just say we took him to the Catholic Church first.

Topping the list of dubiously appropriate places to take your toddler is Eeyore's Birthday Party. Even though it sounds like a Pooh themed children's event (and there were tons of kids there), it is actually a hippy celebration of spring complete with costumes, hula hoops, men in skirts, and lots and lots of weed. As we walked down the hill from our car we could see a cloud of smoke rising over the park (which was probably mostly from the grills at the concession stands but the whole time we were there we were asking "is that pot or incense? Should we stand somewhere else?").

Ergo Boy
We dressed Charlie up in his tie-dye shirt and shark hat and carried him there in the hippy approved Ergo carrier.

One of the main attractions of the event (besides the pot) is the drum circles. Instead of an actual circle it was more like an amoeba of dozens of bodies with instruments of all kinds--some marching band style drums, hand drums, maracas, tambourines, horns, kazoos, and even five gallon water jugs--all playing and moving together as one. The energy was infectious and we wanted to get closer to be a part of it. We got as close as we could but still couldn't see more than a couple of the people with drums. The sound was exhilarating. Charlie loved it.

Drum Circle
Drum circle is somewhere in there.

Eeyore of Liberty
Eeyore Statue of Liberty marks the location of the largest drum circle.

We met up with my sister and brother-in-law and their friend and after we watched some kids tie a man dressed like a giant to a Maypole we settled in for some people watching.

Katie, Sam, Neil
Sister, friend, Brother-in-Law

That's when things got really interesting. My brother-in-law came back from getting drinks and excitedly related seeing a couple dressed in elaborate bird costumes performing "a crazy bird sex dance" up on the hill where he said "all the really crazy hill people were" (a really remarkable statement considering we saw a man dressed as a tree, a woman who had been hula-hooping since six in the morning, and a man wearing only a thong and a bandanna before we even got near the hill). Then Eeyore himself walked by on a leash held by a man who could have been Willie Nelson's brother. THEN a guy came by and discretely offered us hash brownies for a bargain price of $5 each.

Wiped Out

Charlie was too wiped out for a bath when we got home last night so he went straight to bed. This morning I cuddled him in my lap as I was putting on his shoes and OH MY GOSH we sent him to the church nursery with his hair smelling of incense.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Well it's no Honda Odyssey but I think it will hold a twin sized comforter

I am on a Craigslist STREAK. Since we moved here in October we have bought a dresser, two nightstands, a lawn mower, a twin sized bed with mattress for Charlie, and today, the pinnacle of my online bargain shopping glory, I found an awesome, practically new, Pottery Barn Kids quilt that came with two shams all for $40 (Ryan: "Do we need to spend $40?" Becca: "DUH it's Pottery Barn Kids! It's an awesome deal!"). It's for Charlie's big kid bed! He hates covers but the quilt is adorable. The lady who sold it to me lives in my neighborhood and gave me her number so we can have playdates with our yet-to-be-born children.

The best part about finding things on Craigslist is the awesome houses you get to go in. Apparently I have quite expensive taste in gently used household goods because so far all of our treasures have come from huge, impeccably decorated houses. Nothing like ringing the doorbell at a house whose foyer could eat your living room and identifying yourself as the person who buys beds secondhand. It has a very Oliver Twist quality to it.

While we were in the house where we bought the quilt today, Charlie toddled through the dining room into the living room, pointing and exclaiming "Wow!" at the vaulted ceilings, the fresh cut flowers, and the wonderful art. No matter how many times I've told him that it's more polite to say something simple like "Your home is lovely" and ask about something specific, like the story behind the interesting family photograph, he still carries on like he's accustomed to living in squalor (how many piles of unfolded clean laundry can you have before the condition of your house qualifies as squalor). Our host was quite gracious, however, and said "Thank you!" to him every time.

We talked for a while about our kids, pregnancies, nursery decor, careers past and future, and how much fun toddlers are. We decided to get together after her baby is born to take all the little ones to the pool. I was so excited that she was interested in being friends.

When it was time to go my new friend folded up the quilt and shams and put them in a shopping bag. She walked me to the door and opened it for me and when she saw my little Neon she said (without a hint of unkindness or sarcasm) "Oh, do you think this will fit in your car alright?"

Charlie's Great Big Bed
I looked at Charlie in his crib last night and couldn't imagine how tiny he will look in this great big bed. Sniff.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Good News/Bad News

The bad news is that tonight's dinner menu includes a nice bowl of iPod Tabouleh. Mmmm.

(Genius Bar guy looked at Ryan like "Couscous?! Really?" and suggested we let it sit for five days before trying it again. If it still doesn't work I can replace it with a refurbished one at a very discounted price. I didn't ask if they could recover all the music I borrowed from friends who live in The Old Town)

The good news is that I have forty-two pages (that's about twelve pages in the last week and a half, some of that coming from data I hadn't created until Monday, woot!) written and lots more data to write about (before I get to the point where I have to work on the really hard thing that I hate and have been avoiding)!

Maybe blaring Johnny Cash while I'm working is distracting?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

That's Hott

Sometime between your first date and the fourth year of marriage, you go from spending hours selecting your outfit, fixing your hair, and asking the honest opinion of every girl on the hall of your dorm to spending the weekend lying around in baggy polar bear pajama pants and oversized t-shirts begging for a piece of peanut butter toast and some water because you have The Cold (Some of us may have also passed through an equally sexy period in which you ask your husband if a shirt of his is clean or dirty before using it as a convenient handkerchief for a snotty toddler, not that the answer is particularly important).

Some of the things I've done this weekend that almost guarantee we will not be having any more children include:


1a. Returning to the house an hour and a half later (after a really nice time at the park) like "GOSH will you put Charlie down for a nap? I feel like CRAP!" then taking a very very long shower while he dealt with Charlie, Kicker of Cribs, Resister of Naps.

2. Shuffling around in my pajamas like on of the Golden Girls muttering "It huuuurrrtts. How can my back possibly hurt this bad? There's no way it felt like this with Charlie. I will never make it to forty weeks at this rate." Repeating the same complaint at least four times today.

3. I don't know this for sure but given my current level of congestion I would imagine I am quite noisy and disgusting at night.

4. Decided that there is no way a cold could make me feel this bad, concluded that I must have some scary virus that will cause irreparable harm to Bravo, convinced Ryan to "check for little white dots" in my throat as I hung my head over the arm of the couch with my mouth open to catch the light of the floor lamp.

I told him that the good news is that after Bravo is born my new goal is to look like the women at the pool, you know, after the whole leaky boob and squishy tummy thing goes away.

To combat all the disgusting here's a picture of Charlie rolling down the slide this morning after his shoes caught on the plastic at the turn. He thought it was great fun but it scared the heck out of me).

Friday, April 18, 2008

In which I decide to go to bed until I am at 8 cm

Do you ever have one of those days that despite your Herculean efforts to maintain a cheerful, upbeat demeanor to mask how generally crummy you feel after barely sleeping the night before because you have THE COLD that was brought home from daycare and are afraid to take anything because you can't find the list your OB gave you and that Tylenol Cold Nighttime is beaconing to you from the medicine cabinet, things just keep happening to you until you vow to never, ever leave the house again for fear an aircraft carrier or something will come crashing out of the sky and land on your head?

Ryan and I were both in the driveway this morning getting ready to leave. I had gotten Charlie settled into his seat and was about to back out when Ryan started waving at me frantically from his car. He got out of his car (because his windows don't roll down) and told me it wouldn't start and asked if I would wait a few minutes while he silently swore to himself inside the car about how ill-timed this was given our recent "discussion" about how we need to replace one of our cars, preferably the one whose WINDOWS DON'T ROLL DOWN and whose reliability is a big fat question mark on even the best of days tried a couple of things to see if he could get it running. He couldn't. So off we went to engineer-town on the way to daycare and my doctor's appointment. It's really not on the way, but I had a nice time spending a few more minutes with Ryan so it was no big deal.

Chipper non-psycho pregnant lady attitude: INTACT.

Ryan even gave me a buck for the toll road to save me some time on the way back. Which was really generous considering how I said to him, "You know, instead of replacing your battery, you could just drive my car. And then we could buy a nice little family car for me to drive. We could probably get like $200 for your car even though it won't start!"

At daycare Charlie was happily playing with his friends when I stopped at the refrigerator to drop off his afternoon bottle of milk. I pulled the bottle out of my purse to discover that it was HALF FULL. Which meant the other half, four ounces of whole milk, had pooled in the bottom of my purse. I frantically pulled my dripping wet iPod out of the bag and gave it CPR. I dabbed at it with paper towels and held my breath as I turned it on. Much to my relief, it turned on without any trouble.

Bullet dodged: Chipper attitude INTACT.

Next I stopped at a restaurant to get some breakfast and send some sections of my dissertation to my advisor before my doctor's appointment. I carefully set up my laptop on the table and while I was waiting for it to boot up I pulled my iPod out of my computer bag and pushed the button. Nothing. Deep breaths. Pushed the button. Nothing. It's completely dead. All my friends? Johnny Cash, Simon and Garfunkel, Queen, Joss Stone, Ben Harper, the Ben Folds, the Beatles, even John Denver? Are GONE. If there was ever a time to cry over spilled milk, this was it.

I emailed Ryan: "Charlie's milk spilled in my bag. iPod is dead."

He replied: "Try not to stress about it, we'll replace it if we need to."

I replied: "You can't see me but I'm making out with the computer."

While I was replying my phone rang. It was Ryan, probably calling to make sure I wasn't hyperventilating too much, or about to eat my weight in Pain Chocolate as a coping mechanism. I answered. Aaaaaannnnnd? Nothing.

I emailed again: "Guess my phone doesn't work either!" I deleted the part about how really %#@$ing awesome this turn of events was because it was his work email and he's all professional and stuff.

He replied: "Eh, it was time for you to get a new phone anyway."

All of this after I had teased him about his beloved car! And the dead car wasn't even his fault like the milk flood was probably mine (or maybe we should stop buying bottles at yard sales). HOW AWESOME IS HE?!

Anyway, the doctor's appointment went well. Bravo is doing great. I've only gained four pounds (Pain Chocolate notwithstanding). My phone dried out and started working again. And I found a cute replacement purse for $20 at TJ Maxx on the way home. Maybe my iPod will magically spin to life later on! Or maybe I will figure out what is wrong with my data and be able to finish my analysis.

Upbeat attitude? Tenuous but present.

Update: On advice of Professor Art Nerd, iPod is in a container of couscous, which is the closest thing I have to rice. If it doesn't work I can always toss the iPod with some halved grape tomatoes, olive oil, and parmesean cheese for a nice side dish.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Seriously, I just named an equation "Equation". I am totally out of control! This is organization run amok!

p.s. You can blame this totally awesome series of blog posts on Dr. Advisor and the fact that I spend my days writing sentences like "Any sudden peak in any parameter of such a magnitude and of such short duration that it precludes physical explanation..." It makes me want to punch MYSELF in the face and I am afraid to let loose on Blogger for fear you will all show up at my house bearing torches and pitchforks. Not that I wouldn't love to see you all at my house. But maybe instead of torches you could bring Sex and the City DVDs and wine (that I! yes, smell. How is it possible that I set myself up to be pregnant for BOTH the proposal/qualifying process AND the dissertation/defending profess prosess, OH WHATEVER!)?

Back to making a total fool of myself on paper so Dr. Advisor can rip it to little bitty pieces and make me cry, and possibly also throw things.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but..

...OH MY GOSH this song makes me SO HAPPY and I have no idea why. Maybe it's because of the way Charlie and his cousin danced around like the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz when they played it at the baseball game we attended Saturday night (for Ryan's birthday. He wouldn't want me to say which one, but it rhymes with "purdy").

Dancing Cousins
"No Honey, you're a Suburb Boy. You wear Vans and roll in a Neon."

Anyway I downloaded it and I'm sitting here smiling in the coffee shop as I work on the Project We Will Not Speak Of.

More later, I've written ten five four pages today (Five if you count the page featuring a single graph and the words "WRITE SOMETHING ABOUT THIS GRAPH")!

Aside: You dissertation writers... am I the only one who stops writing periodically to reflect on what a big tool I sound like writing in passive voice?

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Is there anything cooler than feeling your new baby move while your big toddler-baby is playing with your belly button? It's like they're communicating. Anyone know how to get Charlie to stop pulling my shirt up, poking me hard in the belly button, and shrieking "Baby!" when I put him in the shopping cart at the grocery store? Especially since I laughed so hard the first time he did it? Because it really is funny, except for the part where the whole produce section knows what type of bra I wear. I've been buying him croissants at the bakery to keep him occupied so I can shop fully clothed. Did you ever think you'd find yourself saying "No, honey, leave Mama's shirt on please."

And also? I thought the lifeguard was grossed out the FIRST time I had to ask him to retrieve Charlie's nylon swim "diaper" from the lost and found (on Tuesday)? What he doesn't know is that I'm going to have to ask him for it AGAIN (probably this weekend sometime). Am I on top of things or what?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I don't live in the suburbs, I live in the freaking Outback

A day or two after we moved in, Ryan led me onto the back patio and asked gently "Do you think that is a toy?" as he pointed at a huge red and yellow bug lying dead on the concrete. We decided that it was a toy left by one of the three boys who used to live in our house. I was content with this conclusion because, as you know, I don't DO bugs.

A week later, I was in the back yard with Charlie and my brother-in-law and two nephews. I pointed out the huge bug to my BIL and told him it was just a toy but wouldn't it be scary if it was real? I walked over and PICKED IT UP to show him (can you tell where this is going?) and found that it was not plastic, as I had expected, but distinctly organic-feeling.

Oh my gosh. If I knew how to harness the self control I displayed that day by not screaming expletives in front of my nephews and son then I could probably have finished two dissertations by now (although they did get to witness my famous stomping and hand-flapping 'I touched a big, huge, scary, dead bug' dance). I threw it back onto the patio, where it remains to this day (and where it will stay until one of us *cough* Ryan gets up the courage to go out there and fling it over the fence with a shovel).

Nothing has really changed. It's still there. It's still dead. Only now when Charlie approaches it I shriek "DON'T TOUCH THAT!" so sharply that he almost cries and I have to feed him Nilla Wafers to assuage my guilt.

Now, for those of you are tempted to tell me that I'm overreacting, that I live in the suburb of a major city for heaven's sake how scary of a bug could possibly live there? Let me tell you. This is no ant with wings. This is no huge cockroach that clicks when it walks (something that I saw IN MY DORM, an incident that very possibly is at the root of the PTSD-like symptoms I experience when I find large bugs inside, all I can say is THANK GOODNESS it was a coed dorm or I would probably still be trapped in that bathroom with only four giant roaches between me and the door to freedom [shivers uncontrollably]).

I found the bug online. Click if you dare (btw I don't live in Arkansas). Tell me you didn't pee a little when you read the words " moving and aggressive titans..."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Oh right, mah blawg

Holy cow has it been almost a week since I posted anything? I have no excuse except that it has been nice outside and I've been working on my (incredibly frustrating, never-ending) dissertation a lot (including a particularly embarrassing afternoon Friday when I found the answer to the question I had just asked Dr. Advisor via email on freaking Wikipedia! I wonder if I can cite that as a reference). And I've been going to bed around 8:00 because pregnancy is magical (But hey! No more nausea! I'm free to brush my teeth with wreckless abandon! Whee! Now if I could just find the strength to walk up the stairs after 7:30 at night.).

Saturday I drove to a city a couple of hours away (despite my crazy hormone fears of being in a car accident and never seeing Charlie again) to attend the baby shower of my friend A. Shortly after I arrived Ryan called to make sure I had made it (I think I freaked him out a little by expressing my hormone fears out loud. While crying and yelling a little. Right before I got in my car) and I said "We're having a great time! We're laying on the couch together watching The Food Network. Just like old times." And it was just like old times, except for our two bellies (and the lack of Ruffles and French onion dip...mmmmm).

At the shower we played a game where you have to write down a baby word for every letter of the alphabet (A-applesauce, B-bottle, etc). A's sister and I got a little loopy and totally lost touch with the point of the game, which was to fill out the form quickly, and decided to help each other be extra creative instead. Which is how we ended up writing down H is for hemorrhoids, V is for vaginal delivery, and X is for Xanax and laughing inappropriately loud (this always happens to me at parties, even when no alcohol is involved). Neither of us won. Though we might have made A's grandma a little uneasy.

Today we had a family picnic at a park Ryan found near our house that has a giant sandbox with concrete dinosaur bones buried in the sand and community sand toys all over the place so the kids can excavate them. Charlie had a great time pushing a big dump truck around and burying our feet in the sand. When he was done with the sandbox we let him clean up by wading in a small stream that ran through the park. It was all very wholesome. A fish even swam between his ankles. We got some funny looks from passersby on the jogging trail but Charlie's joyful shrieks made those easy to ignore.

I plan on being back here before another week has gone by, but be patient. I'm working on like half a brain here. And most of it is occupied with figuring out how to develop PSDs with Matlab (that's what she said) right now.

And, oh! Here's a picture of Charlie, who we are calling Jarhead right now because his hair looks like he's shipping out to the Middle East tomorrow morning, eating some bread at the Macaroni Grill Thursday night where we went to celebrate my dad's birthday. I explained to him that we could get him a normal haircut if he would just stop screaming and thrashing around but he would rather do it this way. I tip his "stylist" about 40%.

Charlie with Bread