December, 2003

23 Dec 2003, by

So here I am in cold, wintry Michigan. It’s actually neither that cold nor that wintry at the moment. Almost 40 for two days now and the snow was falling off the house in big heavy globs, hitting the ground with a splat. It’s snowy enough to make a difference to my eyes and Sophia’s however. The lake is completely white and there’s patches coming through on the ground, but a lot of the landscape is white. I’ve had a nice few days. I read Celestial
, a book I had taken on my last trip, in September, but not succeeded in even cracking open. It was a pretty good book, I enjoyed it. Kurt’s parents are pushing The Da Vinci Code on us and Kurt is reading it right now and I suppose I might read it after he’s done with it.

We had our own little family Christmas before we left. I had only gotten Kurt one present, but it something he really wanted for his music setup. He got me two robes and a gaming book I had been longing for Two-Fisted Tales. He also had Sekret Santar things to unwrap (music dvd’s! He’s very excited). Sophia had Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak from Jerm and Krissi and she
was excited about the whole concept of presents. Not just hers but helping us unwrap ours and giving them out to whomever they were for. This is a good sign. We saved our present for her to open up here, although I don’t know if that was wise, considering how many presents she’ll be getting from her grandmother, grandfather, aunt and uncle. She’s going to be inundated. She’s already been inundated, as last night we had dinner with the extended family and Kurt’s aunts and uncles gave Sophia a present each (a hokey pokey Elmo and a baby doll). She also got more of the coveted beanie babies she loves so much: a tiger and a white french poodle looking thing. There was a whole bag full of them and each child was to pick one, but there were more beanies that children and I found Sophia surrounded by them toward the latter part of the evening. I told her she could
only take two. I have no idea how we’re going to pack all these things to take back. Kurt’s parents are going to have to bring down some of this stuff next time they ride down, I think.

Sophia was reticent at the large family gathering, clinging to me and demanding to be held, but about halfway through the evening she reached her comfort threshhold and was running around and playing with all the other children. All in all, I think it was a great experience for her.

This morning Kurt and I went geocaching, visiting two caches and making finds. We left Sophia behind, as the weather was kind of inhospitable and the terrain at both places a bit rough for a two year old. It was quite a lot of fun.

It’s very relaxing to be away from home and work. Kurt’s parents’ house is so beautiful and so restful. Whenever I come here I think that this is a great place to write and dream about having a place like this to get away to from time to time. Smaller, of course, there house is gargantuan, but still remote and cozy and pleasant. However, then I remember that they have no broadband, and
that our cell phones have no signal here and all those other things that make it great for a vacation but not so great as a place to live and realize that I couldn’t last more than a couple of weeks out here on my own. However, maybe a couple of weeks every three or four months would be a nice thing. Who knows?

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17 Dec 2003, by

I thought I should mention that the pregnancy seems to be going fairly well right now. I’m over being sick all the time. I still have occasional bouts of nausea, but they’re few and far between. I’m enjoying eating as the holidays deserve, more or less guilt-free. I know I’m supposed to have the attitude of eating only healthy things and that the whole eating for two thing is a myth, but it’s nice to eat whatever I feel like eating and not feel sick and to relish food again. I’m sure I’ll be traveling into tiny portion heartburn land soon enough as the baby squeezes my stomach into half its size, so I’m going to enjoy the fact that my ability to eat a lot of really good food seems to coincide with fatty fat season.

The baby is having regular movement periods. Two to three times a day I can feel turning, kicks, movement. I try to get Kurt to feel the baby moving, but whenever I put his hand on my belly the baby stills. Kurt reminded me, I had forgotten, that Sophia used to do the same thing. Again, just like with Sophia, the movements are usually very gentle, and they make me think of turning and shifting and swimming – not really of kicks and punches. The notable exception is the first movement I felt, which I neglected to say anything about because I was in the midst of November madness then. It was November 16, and I was sitting in bed with the laptop. I was writing. Suddenly I felt like I had been punched in the solar plexus. I was short of breath and smarting from pain. The realization of pain was followed quickly by the awareness that this was all occurring internally and that the baby was moving! Quickening, they call it, and I became aware of it sooner this time around, one day into week 18, than last time around. That’s common for second pregnancies, apparently.

It’s also common, from what I read, for your body to recognize what’s happening to it and for everything to come into place more quickly. I was sicker this time, so I didn’t have earlier weight gain, but my center of gravity shifted more quickly, I started walking with a waddle a lot sooner and I could feel the looseness in my hips and joints almost immediately. In fact, all my limbs feel a little bit like rubber bands. They seem to streeeeeeeetch infinitely, way more than they did prior to my getting pregnant, but there’s a point where they just seem to snap as well, and it seems sudden and painful when they do.

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This morning Sophia woke up and started kicking at the bars of her crib, which she always does when she’s just woken up. Kurt went into her room and said,”Who’s that making noise? Are you noisy?”

“NO! I’m Sophia!” announced Sophia.

He took her out of the crib and told her,”Mama’s in the bed.” I could see her stumbling over her doorstep and running towards me. She was wearing a hand me down nightgown that makes her look like she’s a character from Little House on the Prairie. It’s flannel and warm and looks totally adorable on her. She climbed up into bed and got under the covers with me. I hugged her close.

“Did you sleep well? Did you have good dreams?”

“Good dreams,” she echoed.

I wonder what she dreams about.

“I’m awake!” she added.

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10 Dec 2003, by


This morning I had some mail to put out, so Sophia and I walked to the mailbox at the end of the driveway to put the letters in. It was bitterly cold and the wind was blowing rather emphatically and Sophia said ,”It’s cold, so I have my jacket on.” and I agreed that jackets were good things to have when it was cold. We put the letters in the new mailbox (our old one fell over last week and Kurt replaced it) and the wind blew even more strongly and I rushed up the driveway telling Sophia to hurry so we could get in the car and out of the wind. When I climbed into the back seat to buckle her up into the car seat, I noticed that her eyes were watering. I guess she doesn’t know enough about being in the wind to duck down her head a little and was just letting the wind blow straight at her face the whole walk back to the car. For some reason, I found this very sweet.

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5 Dec 2003, by

Oh the things I could tell you about Sophia! I’m afraid I won’t be able to remember all the memorable things she’s done in the past couple of months since I’ve done a really thorough entry on her. She is growing so much, so quickly. Most noticeably, she is taller. Everyone says so. She talks all the time, about all sorts of things. She’s still fast-mapping words, adopting the ones we tell her instantly, effortlessly and without the repetition and reinforcement that was required when she was younger. More astonishingly, she appears to be picking up whole sentences and phrases. A couple of nights ago she was in the kitchen with Kurt and myself and we were having a conversation about database structure. I said “Kurt, I have a question for you about databases.” We were talking a bit, engrossed in discussion of tables and normalization and so forth when suddenly Sophia who’d been quietly playing with her “unicorn-horse” pipes up.

“Mama. Mama. Mama.”

“Yes, Sophia.”

“I have a question for you.”

“You do? Well, what’s your question?”

A pause. She makes her thinking face. We wait.

“Sophia!” she exclaims suddenly.

It seems a small thing, that she could hear and perfectly mimic a phrase she doesn’t fully understand, but she does this all the time. We’re hip deep into the be careful what you say because she’ll parrot it phase. She’s learning nursery rhymes and songs at an astonishing rate. I couldn’t believe it the other day when I heard her singing along with “London Bridge”, saying “build it up with wood and clay, wood and clay, wood and clay”. Those were lyrics I’d more or less forgotten were in the song. I’ve no idea whether she knows what wood and clay are, or even what a bridge is, but she can sure talk and sing about them. She’s started pointing out shapes everywhere. She talks about ovals and triangles and squares the way she talked about colors a couple of months ago. She’s mastering that things don’t just have names, they also have characteristics, they can have a shape, a color and be contrasted to other things.

Last night, when I came home, Sergei got a little over excited and plowed into her. Knocked her clean over. Predictably, though she was not hurt at all, she started crying and finger pointing. Sergei had done it, she sobbed as I picked her up and carried her to the couch. I told her I knew that he’d knocked her over because I’d seen him do it, and that it probably didn’t feel too good. Kurt made Sergei down, stay and then informed Sophia that he was in time-out. She was delighted by this, and proceeded to tell him exactly why he was in time-out.

Sergei, you’re in right time-out. You don’t knock Sophia over. You’re in time-out!”

I don’t know why it’s “right time-out”. I think maybe at daycare they put people in time-out “right now” and that’s her agglomeration of what they say, but I think “right time-out” is pretty funny, myself.

After a few moments, Kurt explained that Sergei was sorry and that he was ready to be good and so he was coming out of time-out. Sophia, feeling justice had been done, told Sergei “You sorry? I sorry. Everything’s all right.”

The thing is, she tells us things. What she’s thinking, how she feels, what she likes or doesn’t like. I love that.

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In: Sophia | Tags:

4 Dec 2003, by

Well, it finally happened. I finally stopped feeling sick all the time about a week before Thanksgiving. Just in time to start gorging myself on turkey and fixings. Kurt made the most delicious turkey ever on the grill. I can’t believe how good it came out. So today at the Doctor’s I got a congratulatory, “Hurray 4 pounds up!” instead of the “Hmmm, just one pound,” comment. My blood pressure is at 98/50 which is right in line with what it should be. They took blood but she didn’t say anything to me about how irregularly I’ve been taking my iron pills, so I’m pretty pleased about that as well. We heard the baby’s heartbeat, too, which is always cool but was overshadowed a bit today by the ultrasound we had done.

We told them we didn’t want to know the gender, so nothing should be given away by the photos below (and if it is, don’t tell us!):





My favorite picture is the one that shows the feet. They’re so adorable and perfect looking. The baby was really moving around a lot during the ultrasound, and the video shows it doing some karate chops (already a student of Sophia Fu, perhaps?) and sucking and all kinds of really sweet things. Everything looks to be in order, we counted fingers and toes, and we are very pleased and excited about the whole thing, of course. Thanks to my friend Chris Goodwin for scanning the pics and sending them to me with lightning speed so I could share them with ya’ll.

So I had my first major pregnancy brain lapse yesterday. I had just gotten my haircut and was trying to decide about lunch. I wanted something small, because I’d had a big second breakfast. So I took the High Street exit and figured I’d get some fries or something at one of the fast food joints. It was a little warm and pleasant (unlike today which is unforgivably, horribly cold) and I suddenly remembered that Burger King has delicious Icees and a cold coke Icee sounded like just about the best thing under the sun right then. So I resolved to pull into Burger King and order fries and a coke Icee. Unfortunately, the drive through line I’ve just pulled into is longer than I’d like. I sigh. I wait ten minutes or so. I inch my car around the restaurant. I look in the window and see a girl of about eleven with a Frosty. She opens it up and starts spooning big chocolate spoonfuls into her mouth. I watch her for a few minutes. She’s not at all self-conscious and never notices I’m watching her. I pull around some more, and find myself (finally!) at the speaker window for the drive through.

Someone asks me on the cracky tinny speaker if they can take my order. I realize I’m at Wendy’s then, and that Wendy’s and Burger King are not the same, and that I cannot get an Icee at Wendy’s. So I order large fries, thinking, I’m not even that crazy about Wendy’s fries anyways, and glance over to the Burger King parking lot, next door. The drive through line is a LOT shorter there than it is where I’m currently sitting. Gah. What to do now. Forget about the Icee? Go over and wait in their line and get and Icee? The Icee is the piece I actually really wanted, too!

So I decided that I’d go and get the Icee anyways. So two drive-throughs and 20 minutes later I had my lunch : fries and an Icee. Icee was delicious, fries were mediocre.

In other pregnancy news, my fingernails are growing out of control. I’ve cut them three times this week. I do remember this happened last time. If I were the sort of person who liked to do stuff with their nails this would be a great time to grow them, get them painted and manicured, and show them off. Alas, I find nails any longer than stubs to be highly annoying. I’m also getting occasional cramplike pains in my lower abdomen and I assume that’s my uterus streeeeeeeetching or whatever. This week several people have looked at me and exclaimed, “Oh! you’re showing! Just last week you didn’t look pregnant at all.” Of course just as many have said “You’re pregnant? I had no idea?!” when overhearing the first batch. I find it hard to believe people can’t see this tremendous bulge I’m carrying around, but I’m sure that it’s far more noticeable to me, the one carrying it, than to others. Once or twice I’ve woken up in the night with difficulty breathing, but it’s not gotten too bad yet. Sleeping positions are becoming an issue, and I’ll need another body pillow like I had last time, I’m fairly certain. All in all, things are going well and I’m feeling quite good. It’s also really comforting to be at the halfway point. 20 weeks down, 20 weeks to go!

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In: pregnancy | Tags:

1 Dec 2003, by

Ok, so I survived. It’s December 1 and NaNoWriMo is over and I am done with it. I did not do so well this year. I did not make it to 50,000 words. I am not a winner. However,
I do have 40,399 words that I would not have written had I not taken up the challenge, so despite being a loser, all is not lost. This book is a lot harder than the last one. Even had I gotten to the fabled 50,000 I’d only be about halfway through it. I can’t really promise that when I get to the end anyone not me will be interested in it. Since my forward momentum with this project was not as intense as my momentum last year, maybe it won’t come to a grinding halt now that the thing is over. One can hope, we’ll see. Better luck next year.

The good news is that my dear friend Legomancer also participated this year and he DID cross the finish line, make it to 50,000 and then on to the end of his project. He’s now in re-write land, and I’m thrilled that after years of not writing very much he’s back on track with the writing bug because he’s really super talented. You don’t have to take my word for it, though, you can check out some of his older stuff yourself.

Now that the franticness of November is over and done with, though, I will have to get back to all the things I neglected during the month I was trying to write but not able to make myself do so. I’m behind on a lot of things, this blog being only one of them. In fact, I was told in
no uncertain terms by my sister-in-law that I was not to write in my blog until I had updated Sophia’s
which is sadly out of date. I don’t think anything has been done on it since we got back from Europe in August, which is an eternity when you’re only two years old, as she is. So, you can clearly see how well I listen to direction as I’m over here type-type-typing away on my
blog. However, she should be pleased anyways, because the next two entries I compose are going to be about Sophia and her impending sibling, so there’ll be news on that front, even if it’s not on Sophia’s page proper. I have lots and lots of things to tell you about Sophia.

Work has been crazy. I have had an everchanging schedule with way more reference desk and lobby registration desk hours than I really expected to have. The schedules are kind of out of whack, the division director is making them on a day-to-day basis and almost never before to 2:30 the day before. It’s impossible to plan anything at all. I might be working 15 minutes at a desk giving someone a break or might be scheduled 8 hours with no lunch somewhere. Whatever software he’s using to design the schedule he needs something new, because he’s constantly scheduling people in two places at once, neglecting to give people lunch hours and other oddball arrangements. Presumably this is short term, but we’ll see. At any rate, I’ll be really happy when I get to work at my desk because I have three pretty exciting projects to work on. First of all there’s a revisit to the Sovereignty
database. Then, there’s the Eudora Welty stuff. She died, you see, and her house somehow became part of the Archives now (I’m not sure on the fine print or how all that works). It’s a very cool house filled to the brim with books and stuff. Inventory is proceeding, both of the books and the furniture and her letters. There’s thousands of letters, see, from all kinds of authors like Willa
Cather and all kinds of publications like the New Yorker and all kinds of famous and important Jacksonites and all kinds of fans. So there’s inventory going on that I will have to magic into a database of some kind for when this stuff is made publicly available. That’s going to be exciting work. I have to say that I’ve liked the stuff I’ve read that was written by Eudora Welty (all by obligation, in some class or another). I found that short story “The Misfit” to be especially striking for some reason. However, I could hardly be called a fan, and I would not name her among my favorite authors and I’m not the sort of person to swoon at the mere mention of her name (as many around this area are). Still, her house is indescribably cool. She was a true bibliophile and the place has, quite literally, bookshelves in every room including the hallways. There’s loads and loads of books and when we were there last I asked if she had annotated any of them. This is something I’m always curious about, as it seems to me to reveal something very integral to the nature of a person (though I can’t elucidate exactly what). There are those people who love books and write in them extensively. Then there are those people who love books and would never dream of so much as writing their name in it to signify it was theirs. At any rate, the woman (Welty’s niece) pulled a book off the shelf to show me how it had been annotated. At the back, in the last few blank pages, Eudora’d made comments about various scenes and characters, indicating the page numbers she was referring to just before each comment. Her handwriting was sure, but it was a penciled annotation. She wrote in those books, true, but very carefully and respectfully. I found this more interesting and human than I can describe. Lastly, we have
an outgoing governor. Tomorrow I will go and talk to their IT guy, to try and assess whether they have any electronic records that need to be transferred to us along with all the paper records we will be taking when they leave office in a few weeks. I imagine there will be some, because I think this governor is less computer phobic and has a more computer intensive staff than the prior one. At the very least, they’ve already mentioned that all their promo pictures were taken digitally, so there’ll be those. So exciting and interesting stuff, if I can ever get a chance to actually do any of it.

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