Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays, With Singing

Hi!

Ish and I arrived in Boston on Monday night after not TOO much airport drama. My downloaded tv shows worked very well to keep me totally distracted, except that I'm almost too ashamed to let you know what series I finally decided on.

Um. I agreed that "Lost" might not be so great, seeing as it's based on a plane crash. I likewise decided that getting into Gray's, what with the whole weird pregnancy plot points, also might not be such a good idea because I'm crazy and tend toward hypochondria.

Dexter seemed to win the most votes, but I think it's something Ish and I would like to watch together. Also, I'm a little concerned about watching something SO serious and violent even just in premise -- I want drama but not too much tension. I'm also waiting to watch The Wire for both of those reasons, too.

Oh, and bonus points to those of you who recommended Arrested Development. Ish and I own them, watch them regularly, I have probably seen every episode at least four times. I don't think any show on television has ever been funnier or more clever. (Cleverer?)

So yeah. Whatever. Gossip Girl.

Anyway, in case I don't get to posting much in the next few days (lots of wrapping and cooking and family-ing going on), I wanted to let you know that I contributed to Neil's Holiday Spectacular.

I actually re-wrote "Santa Baby" into a super cheesy, bloggy version. Then I sang it with a karaoke accompaniment. And THEN I futzed around with Garage Band and iMovie and made it into a video on YouTube. Except by the time it got compressed and re-compressed to actually SHOW on YouTube, all my hard work (seriously, HOURS) were for naught, because you can't see anything I did. It's all fuzzy and impossible.

But! You can see the whole amazing concert here (Sizzle rocks it), or watch the video embedded below. With my sincerest apologies.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The "Other" News

Okay. So let me say that the CVS test on Thursday went very well. (I mean, as well as it can when you have a stabby needle stuck into your abdomen while you get to watch on screen, hoping it doesn't jab the limb off your Spot.) I'll post about the whole experience -- aren't you lucky -- soon.

Before we get to that, I wanted to post about the rest of the story. Because, hi! There's a LOT going on in my/Ish's life right now. (Stuff that has nothing to do with my deciding to become a redhead, though that also happened over the weekend.)

As you may or may not know, Ish works in the wine industry and commutes to Napa every day. That's a long-ass commute -- about 75 minutes with no traffic. Meanwhile my commute in the opposite direction, down the Peninsula, is nowhere near as many miles...but I'm traveling in prime SF/Silicon Valley traffic. That makes my commute about 50 minutes long.

Now. My work schedule can be very, very demanding at times, but it's entirely cyclical and dependent on when our conferences take place. Ish's job rarely demands long hours, but even if he "only" works from 9 to 6:30, he leaves by 7:30 a.m. (a full hour earlier if he goes to the gym) and arrives home by 8 p.m. Assuming I'm not in the throes of a conference, we eat dinner around 8 or 8:30, watch some television, talk, have a couple glasses of wine, and head to bed between 10 and 11. This is all totally thrown off once a week for my rehearsal and any night Ish does comedy (during conference season all bets are off completely).

The bottom line is that we don't see much of each other during the week, and when we do, we're usually in some sort of catch-up, slow-down, veg-out mode.

And you know? Some professional couples are fine with this. In fact, some couples even thrive on this sort of my life/your life type set-up. We just aren't that kind of couple.

Quite the contrary. We can't keep living like this is something we've uttered to each other on more than one "Sorry, I have to work late" occasion, or following the second 9 p.m. dinner in as many days.

Annnnnnd now that I'm pregnant, if all goes well, I am due right smack in the middle of the busiest time of the conference year. Which won't work, on so many levels.

So um. You know I adore San Francisco with all my heart. I love city-living, and I will continue to tell myself that San Francisco will always be here; we can always return. It just doesn't make sense for us right now. Not the space, or the expense, or the rave-partying neighbors, or the proximity to work.

And that is why we have decided, when our lease is up in February, that I will be leaving BlogHer* and Ish and I and our four cats and Spot will be moving to Napa.

Oh, and darling IIFs, if you think that seems totally and completely unreal, like, the craziest thing I've ever written, surely I can't be serious, is all this really happening?...well. My friend? You are not alone.

Hey, it's the new hair color...uh...everything!




*Want my job? Read all about it here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Three Strikes At The Super Mega Extreme ULTRAsound

Strike One

When I first found out I was knocked up, the infertility doctor's office wanted me to come in right away to give me an ultrasound. I guess to be sure I wasn't faking it, even though they'd already made me do the blood test thing. So I did go in, and the doctor stuck that microphone-looking ultrasoundery thing up there (yes, "up" not "over") and searched around while Ish and I stared quizzically at the screen and I tried to pretend I was having a normal morning.

"I'm not seeing anything," The doctor said, looking at the black-and-white blur.

And I immediately thought what any possibly-probably-maybe pregnant woman in stirrups with a giant camera up her hoo-ha would think: Don't tell me I'm doing this for nothing.

Mind you, this is the same doctor who also couldn't see my ovaries with the vag-mic. At that time, he'd said my ovaries weren't showing up either because they were "hiding," or because they were too small to see or produce eggs. Potato, potahto.

(That's sarcasm, folks. I wanted to scream at him. WHAT DO YOU MEAN, YOU DON'T KNOW? WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I'M EITHER FINE OR INFERTILE?)

Anyway, back to the recent past. The doctor eventually angled the vag-mic into a wildly uncomfortable position, like he was trying to poke at my belly-button from the inside. Suddenly a spot appeared on the screen.

"Oh, there it is." Nothing in his demeanor or facial expression changed when he said this. Perhaps he was wondering what to order for lunch. I wanted to kick him in the face. (Wouldn't have been too hard, seeing as his head was about level with my stirrup-ed heels...)

He then went on to explain, while continuously prodding at my uterus all Alien-through-the-stomach-like, that he couldn't get a good reading but it seemed as though Spot was exactly six weeks, 5 days old. Which would put Spot's due date at June 25. Which is exactly what BabyCenter had already told me and it didn't have to come anywhere near me with a giant, lubed-up vag-mic.

He concluded our meeting by saying I should schedule an ultrasound with the Ultrasound People who were apparently located "downstairs." Because they have better equipment and will be able to confirm that Spot is fine and has a heartbeat and everything. Um, okay.

I didn't leave that appointment feeling reassured in any way.


Strike Two


I returned a week or two later to get the Better ultrasound done. While still early, I was hoping that I would see Spot moving or doing something cool. Like be demonstrably alive.

This time, I had to show up with a full bladder. They tell you to drink 12 oz of liquid an hour before your appointment and to hold it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I say to you OH MY GOD. I pee every four seconds as it is. Trying to hold 12 ounces of water for an hour+ is absolutely torturous. But I did it.

I showed up, signed in and sat in the waiting room crossing my legs and trying to think about very dry things. Eventually my name was called (15 painful minutes late, mind you) and Ish and I were escorted into a room with the high-tech ultrasound person called a "sonographer."

You want to know how I know she was called a "sonographer"?

Because. I went in, took off my clothes from the waist down, got up on the table, laid back. She took out her OVER THE BELLY wand (yay! no vag-mic!) and proceeded to see if she could find my bladder so she could press down really hard on it. At least, that's what it felt like. It was painful and weird. AND HERE'S THE BEST PART. The screen was not visible to me. Ish could see it and the "sonographer" could see it, but I could not. I had NO idea what the screen looked like. I just watched her face.

Finally, she spoke: "Do you know why you're here?"

Was this a trick question?

"Because they want to confirm that I'm pregnant, and the age of Spot, and to make sure there's a heartbeat."

She continued to make faces at the screen while testing to see how much longer I could handle not leaking all over the table. She did not, however, reply.

"Uh...so...do you see a heartbeat? Does everything look okay?" I finally asked her in desperation.

And do you know what she said?

She said, "Oh, I can't tell you."

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She pointed to the sign on the back of the door. It read something like, "Sonographers are not permitted to make medical assessments. If you have any questions, please contact your doctor directly."

I thought I would cry, but luckily I had all the pain and uncomfortability of a near-to-bursting bladder keeping me distracted.

And just when I thought things couldn't get any more fun, she put the "over" wand away and busted out with the "up" one.

"I just want to see if I can get a better reading with this one."

Sigh.

When it was all over, and I had gone to the bathroom, and we were heading out of the office, the "sonographer" said that the doctor should call with my results by the end of the day. She added, perhaps taking pity on us and my bladder, "There is a heartbeat. It's just -- there's more than that, so be sure to talk to your doctor."

It then took TWO DAYS for me to hear from the doctor's office. Wondering what "more than that" meant. Maybe Spot had a heartbeat but no feet? Maybe there were three Spots? Who knew. So when I finally heard from the office, all the person on the phone said was "Oh, everything looks fine." Which is certainly better than any alternative, but COME ON.

I then had to schedule my first "normal" appointment with the "normal" OB department, I guess because the infertility people consulted with the "sonographer" and decided I should be scooted on over to the "regular pregnant people" office. Or something.


Strike Three

My appointment with the normal OB nurse wasn't until about two weeks ago. And while my appointment was mostly to tell me all the normal stuff -- don't eat sushi, don't use hot tubs, take pre-natal vitamins, sex is fine -- it started off with an ultrasound.

This time, I was pretty excited. I figured I was at about 11 weeks and should be able to see something. Dooce had seen a little thing flapping around by this time. Surely I would, too! Surely there would be an improvement over Spot and "reflection on sonographer's face"!

So out came the vag-mic.

Again, it took some prodding and poking before the nurse could see anything. At least she offered, "It's because of how your uterus is tilted." Good to know, I guess. Hi, my name is Kristy and I have a tilted uterus.

But then again, there it was. I could definitely see Spot on the screen. I couldn't see movement or make out limbs or anything like that, but there was a thing, and it had a head and a not-head, and I was very happy.

Again, however, the nurse just squinted at the screen.

"It's not a very clear image." Sigh. No, of course not.

"I've heard that being overweight can affect the clarity of ultrasound images. Do you think that's what's happening here?" I offered. No one had mentioned anything about my weight ever, so I was curious.

"That can happen, but I don't think that's the problem here. I think it's just the angle of your uterus."

She tried again to use the super-mega-extreme-ultra-sound to figure out when my due date was, exactly, but said the image wasn't good enough to say for sure. It was looking like July 1, but that might not be accurate.

She finally stopped with the wand, gave me the rest of an exam (your left nipple might be flatter than your right nipple, are you planning to breast feed?), and told me to meet her in her office. There, we discussed all the fun, DON'T DO THIS WHILE YOU'RE PREGNANT stuff.

Decided it was probably best to stick with my original due date of June 25, but it could be later (this sucks only because I am very VERY anxious to be out of this first effing trimester of terror), and scheduled my CVS test.

For today.

But I'll get to that.

My point, really, is that I feel pretty good and am trying to be positive and confident. But I already feel like I'm at a disadvantage. I've had THREE ultrasounds, and none of them were especially conclusive. No swimming or flapping around. Nothing but medical professionals squinting at the screen.

I left that last appointment and went home and cried. Maybe next time will be better.


* * * * * *
I go in for my CVS test this afternoon. CVS is, essentially, an early amnio. They stick a large needle into you and take cells from the fetus and then watch those cells develop for a couple weeks. At the end of that time, they can tell you most conclusively about any genetic disorders Spot may have.

Unless there are complications, we will find out if Spot has Fragile-X, among many other very scary-bad chromosomal disorders.

I don't know what we would do under the various possible circumstances. Probably nothing, probably in every case. But we want to know, and we want to know sooner than later. That is what we decided.

The chance of miscarriage is supposedly increased, though they aren't sure by how much. Current figures say anywhere from 1 in 200 to 1 in 360. I'm trying not to think about that.

Instead, I'm trying to think about getting to see -- hopefully, finally, for real -- a good, solid image of Spot. One that doesn't make the medical professional holding the vag-mic squint and go mute.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

You Don't Have To Read If You Don't Wanna

This flood of blog posts is the result of a lot of things. Mostly, it amounts to the fact that there is no longer dissonance between my personal life and the rest of my life, so I'm just oozing with all these thoughts and ideas that have been banging around in my head for two months (and in some cases, longer). I hope to keep it up.

And assuming I DO keep it up, I don't have any idea what all I'll be posting about, other than "my life." Which is what I have always posted about. Given the current set of circumstances, that will inevitably mean writing about being pregnant. That will also eventually (and Fates-willing) mean posting about the child I have. It will not mean changing the tenor of this blog. I will always curse and drink and totally over-share.

My point is, if pregnancy and child-related posts bore the shit out of you, then I guess that's my loss.

Right now, I am dealing with the fascinating issue of -- wait. Let me interrupt myself to paint you a real-time picture:

Right now, I am actually dealing with the fact that I just got back from lunch and am wearing some of it. I had to go to two different local establishments, because after I purchased lunch at the first place, I decided the smell of the food made me nauseous. So I went to a second place. I got back to my desk and opened my sparkling water and it exploded all over me and my desk. Then I dribbled salsa down my shirt. This following a bizarre incident with the microwave this morning where my coffee also exploded and I went to clean the microwave and then the door got hinged to my bra and I almost took off with the microwave dangling from my boobs. In the office. Usually I work from home on Mondays and now you know why.

But as I was saying.

Right now, I am dealing with the fascinating issue of gaining weight as a pregnant lady who is overweight to begin with. Regardless how you feel about Dooce (love her, hate her, don't know her), I think it's awesome that she's posting pictures of her growing "bump."

I will not be doing the same.

Between my first and latest doctor's appointments, I have lost about five pounds. However, none of my old pants fit me anymore and the weight I do have is all moving around and confusing me. Yes, confusing. Between eating more, eating mostly better, being very bloaty and gaseous (sorry, but true), and my uterus rapidly ballooning, I don't know what the hell my body is doing. I am losing weight and expanding, and, well, YOU try and figure that out. (I don't mean mathematically, I mean instinctively.) Last night I showed Ish my new "bump" and he was very sweet but also delicate in pointing out that the "bump" doesn't start out by forming there (just under the boobs), it forms lower, like around there (pointing to around my belly button). Meaning my bump was either gas from all the gourmet, low-sugar, non-caffeinated, non-artificial sweetenered sodas I've been drinking, or perhaps the result of 42 too many sugar cookies. Either way, not a baby bump.

Damn it.

But on the other hand, I look at it this way. Eventually my tummy will be protruding madly. And while many skinny pregnant women tend to freak out about that kind of weight gain ("I look so fat!"), I will be thrilled. Because I will have a huge tummy and it will NOT be from being fat, it will be from being pregnant. I actually think this will be a freeing feeling. I have never, ever wanted to show off my stomach -- even when I've been far thinner than I am now -- and yet now, when it's going to be fuller than ever, I can't imagine not wanting to show it off.

This new discovery almost makes up for the sudden lack of soft cheeses from my diet. Almost.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Writing Blog Entries Like A Hormonal Maniac!

Hey, have you ever tried the Pregnant During The Holidays Diet? It's going awesome.

But here is my question to you, since I had a slight panic attack today when I realized that I will soon be getting on several planes without the accompaniment of drugs or alcohol. (I know, seriously. What kind of holiday travel is THAT?):

What is the most addictive, most engrossing, most DON'T TALK TO ME NOW I'M WATCHING THIS show I can download to my iPod?

This past October, when I was flying for work and also not drunk or drugged (I am so no fun these days), I downloaded the last several episodes of Mad Men. I hardly noticed the flight at all.

Now I'm not sure what to turn to.

I have been mildly interested in but never seen:
Six Feet Under
Weeds
The Wire
Grey's Anatomy
Big Love

Basically, I'm looking for something that will suck me in and make me not care about the cramped seating, crying babies, uncomfortable clothing, sore boobages, and occasionally terrifying holiday turbulence.

Suggestions?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Next

I'm not sure if I can describe it, and I'm not sure that you even care, but I had been stuck.

Following the big conference last July, I was on an emotional merry-go-round. I was tired and needed a break from just about everything. And then I re-calibrated and found myself preparing for the fall conferences. This, the whole "work" thing, took a lot of time and energy, and I've noticed that whenever that happens my blogging suffers -- I have no creative stamina left to write with (even though arguably, it's the time in my life when there's the most to write about).

During this time, Ish and I were having many many many many conversations about the future and marriage and kids and fertility and balancing hypotheticals and what-ifs. The future held many wonderful, scary possibilities (as it tends to do), but they were all just possibilities. Nothing was actually happening. I felt hopeful but trepidacious and absolutely stunted when it came to blogging.

And now there's so much motion!

Someone asked in my last post why we chose to do this "all" at one time, and my first thought was "Oh hey, I haven't even shared all of it yet." But the answer is that I see this as one big-picture thing. I mean, we want to be married, we want to have kids. Getting engaged was, to me (and I believe to us), a jumping off point: Yep, we're ready, let's move on to "next."

(To reiterate though, we didn't think kids was a likelihood, and we believed with good reason that conception would take months, maybe years of trying...We did NOT expect to have this happen all at once, but so what? I'd take this over the alternative any day and I am nothing but grateful.)

And so speaking of "all of this" -- the funny thing is, I don't even care about the wedding anymore.

Well okay, that's not entirely true. OF COURSE I want to have a big ole' party with everyone we care about, la la la. But far more importantly, I just wanna be married to Ish. And with a peanut on the way, the details around the wedding just don't seem to matter so much anymore.

Anyway!

My point here is just that I feel like after MONTHS of thinking and contemplating and wondering and not-knowingness about what's coming next, I finally know.

And I can finally blog about it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pregnancy Blogging - Like Regular Blogging, But With Less Bourbon

Gosh, I have so much to tell you.

For one thing, thank you for all the well wishes. I kind of expected a lot of random advice and questions, so I'm kind of surprised -- and deeply amused-- that after "congrats" the most commonly expressed sentiment from you commenters was concerning the pee stick.

The truth of the matter is, I discovered I was knocked up on October 20. Five days after we got engaged. I'm due the end of June, and right at about 12 weeks already!

Meaning that --

-- well, actually, meaning a lot of things.

Perhaps most importantly, the stick in the photo is very clean and also almost two months old. But thank you for your concern.

I also have a lot to say about what these last 8 weeks have been like. Terrifying, weird, exciting, good, frustrating, and a little barfy. Not that I've actually thrown up at all, I just feel like I'm going to a lot and then I don't, and instead realize I'm kind of drooly.

Hmm. Did you know that you salivate an extra amount when you're pregnant? Yeah, well, neither did I. You know why we didn't know this? Because no one talks about grown-ups who drool. Oh, sure, people talk about pregnant women glowing, and pregnant women throwing up, but holy hell! There are a LOT of physical symptoms of being pregnant that are lodged between "glow" and "hurl" that's all NEWS TO ME. Like drool. And heartburn. And having a sense of smell like a bloodhound. (I swear, if pressed? I could tell you that there's a little mold on that bagel. In the freezer. Next door.)

But what I really wanted to tell you is the answer to the question that has come up a lot in real life: Did you plan this?

Answer: No. Well, yes. No. Sort of. A little. But mostly no.

For those of you following along, this is old news, but my situation is this: there is a genetic disorder that runs in my family. My sisters and I have discovered that we are carriers. This doesn't have to mean much, because carriers have few if any physical symptoms. However, there are two big concerns --
1) We can have kids who have the full disorder. This happened to my sister, Healy, and her son, Charlie.
2) We have a slightly increased risk of going through early menopause -- early as in, before the age of 40. It would make conceiving naturally impossible. Following the birth of Charlie, this also happened to my sister, Healy.

So then. Late this last spring, my cycle got really funky and uncooperative. And when you take my family risk into account, this is scary stuff. An infertility specialist told me a lot of things that amounted to nothing good. It was very possible that I had missed my window of opportunity, and I felt heartbroken.

For two+ years, I'd known that this was a possibility, I just hoped it wouldn't be the case. When I started having "issues," Ish and I discussed -- along with our future in general -- adoption.

This fall, the doctor said he wanted me to take a test. It was the Clomid Challenge Test, where they give you Clomid (a very common hormone used to spark ovulation) for a few days, and they take your blood before and after. If the results weren't so good, the doctor said, he would reommend moving directly to IVF.

SO.

Ish and I had every reason to believe we were looking at a very uphill battle on the road to conception, if it happened at all. And knowing it could take months and years of trying, we were like, "What the hell?" So before we were engaged, before we were even 100% ready to try and get pregnant, together, as a couple, we just said, "What the hell."

My Clomid Challenge Test came back looking okay. We breathed a huge sigh of relief. Hope was not entirely lost.

I went to my doctor for a follow-up appointment, where we discussed next steps. On my way out, I picked up a pregnancy test, because even though I was sure I was not pregnant, I was a couple days late.

I got home, peed on a stick, started fixing myself lunch and checking work email. When I grabbed the stick to throw it out, I was rather confused by that vertical line indicating a plus. Huh?

But...we...couldn't...first time?...not possible...NOT POSSIBLE...

And then I ran to Google because I convinced myself that there was no way it was positive. SURELY a FAINT line means nothing? It has to be a dark line? Right?

Not right, no. (As my friend later said to me: My "faint line" is eating crackers right now.)

I was, am pregnant.

And you can bet that, trying or not trying, it was a huuuuuuuuge surprise to us all.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"Promise Me"


Because we do not have a Chuck.

A few months ago I hosted a very small, very intimate dinner for an out-of-town guest that illustrates a lot about my life: I got a little worried about what to serve (I have not quite advanced to the level of "dinner party"), so I busted out our nicest dinnerware and made the table very pretty...and then we ate do-it-yourself tacos with ingredients my guests brought from a local Mexican place. We drank a lot of margaritas. Then, after dinner, properly fueled with laughter and tequila, we decided to play the cheesy Comcast On-Demand karaoke. We spent a good two hours singing emphatically to horrible, horrible renditions of songs that weren't that good to begin with.

It was silly and casual and fun and everyone had a good time.

The following week, my friend and I were IMing about our lives, and marriage, and the future, and that seemingly inevitable "having kids" thing. And she said to me:

"Promise me that no matter what, we'll always get drunk and sing at the TV."

There are lots of things that I cannot predict. Fate has thrown some pretty fucking horrible curve balls at me (and some pretty gloriously wonderful ones, too). I have learned maybe too many humbling things, including not to make promises I can't keep.

But dearest friends, invisible and otherwise, please know that no matter what, no matter if it's tequila or bourbon or wine or just love and friendship I'm drinking in, no matter if it's songs or words or blogs or musicals or dramas or home videos that are flickering on the ever-changing screen, no matter what, I do promise.

I promise that we -- you, me, Ish, all of us here at this blog, and even this little peanut --




-- we will always get drunk and sing at the TV.



P.S. The cats would have no part of posing for this photo.


Sherlock tries to rub his head against the stick.


Leon allows the stick to rest on his head, but he does not like it.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I'm Making A List. I'm Not, However, Checking It Even The One Time.

Emotionally, I could not be happier that it's the holiday season.

Physically, the season and all its stupid fucking joyous wonderousness has been a nightmare: colds, sinus pressure, digestion issues, girl problems, and loads more you should be grateful I'm not writing about, even though I totally want to be.

So here's a random update, in list form, because that's probably better than nothing. (Although if I were you I'd withhold judgment until getting to the end of this post. "Nothing" may indeed have been better.)

  1. In the middle of my Christmas music downloading frenzy, I stumbled across one of my favoritest CDs ever. Also, I am lame. But remember, I am (something of) a singer. And when I was in high school and singing all the damn time, I loved Broadway tunes. And NOTHING fit my range or desire to belt out in the car like Barbra Streisand's "Back to Broadway" CD. I downloaded the whole album (do we still call them "albums"? Am I THAT old? Hey, remember when "mix tapes" were actually cassette tapes? Anyone else have a Fisher Price record player when they were little?) and it is as awesome as ever. Nothing makes Highway 101 bearable like singing along with Babs. My chops aren't what they once were, but no one in my car cares.


  2. I had 80-90% of my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving weekend. As I've stated before, I do about 98% of my shopping online, and ship everything to my sister's, since that's where I spend Christmas. This is awesome for a few reasons. While I do miss the tactile experience of touching, looking, and selecting store-bought items, I would have to ship them all anyway. So, that's dumb. Instead, I shop early, send everything to Healy's, get myself on a plane a few weeks later, arrive in Massachusetts and find a bajillion boxes waiting for me. By then, I've totally forgotten what everything is, so I spend an entire day opening packages and being delightfully surprised as I tape and tie and scissors myself into wrapping-paper oblivion. And now that we're ALSO traveling to Arizona to visit Ish's family, I send a bunch of things to Phoenix, too, and repeat the whole buy-online-ship-fly-arrive-open-surprise!-wrap-give process.

    The only problem I have (kind of a sickness, actually) is that I get a little sad when all my shopping is done early, so I have a tendency to add "just a couple small things" over the next few weeks. And then Christmas morning looks like, well, an embarrassment of riches because I've gone so crazy. Even if many of these "riches" are actually things like ping-pong guns and Make Your Own Chocolate Mold In The Shape Of Your Penis kits.

    I am my mother's daughter.


  3. My a cappella group is hosting a little holiday get-together this Friday at our apartment. (You are of course welcome to come.) We'll be singing a bunch of carols and generally carrying on. (I think "carrying on" is a much more festive and polite turn of phrase than "getting shitfaced.")


  4. For some reason, I got very inspired to make coconut macaroons last Saturday. It was my first attempt, and I followed a recipe by Alton Brown. Macaroons do not need to be complicated (my friend who makes DELICIOUS macaroons sent me her recipe after-the-fact and I noted that it did not involve egg whites with any sort of peaks, damn it all to hell). Because, you see, Alton's stupid recipe -- which THANKFULLY came with a video -- involved adding a meringue to the mixture to make them delicious and light and fluffy. It should go without saying that I have never attempted any sort of meringue mixture before. For one thing, I do not have a standing mixer. For another, a lot can go wrong when you try and beat egg whites into "medium peaks."

    Okay, I lie. Only ONE thing can go wrong when you try to beat egg whites into peaks, and that is: you don't. I will have you know that I added the sugar very slowly and kept the hand-mixer going very steadily, AND I'd brought the egg whites up to room temperature, so I was feeling pretty confident about all this peaking nonsense. And still? Nothing.

    I Googled it, and there on the first page was a result that stated, "If you even get a drop of egg yolk in the egg whites, they will not peak no matter what you do." OH WELL THEN. No one told me that.

    Lucky for me, there were MANY comments on the Alton Brown recipe including the one from the woman who said her egg whites didn't peak but she still added them to the mixture and the results were delicious. WTG, other inept woman!

    So I added the unpeaked eggs, fuck it, and the results were delicious, if just a little...gooey. Whatever, I called the finished pieces "Kristy's Gooey Coconut Clusters," dipped 'em in delicious melted chocolate and crushed macadamia nuts and called it a day.

    INCIDENTALLY, what the hell is Alton thinking, giving us a recipe that requires weighing ingredients? Yes, foodies, I know that any cook worth his or her salt (as it were) should have a kitchen scale. But I'm just getting started and didn't even know the no-egg-yolk-or-doom rule. How on earth am I supposed to know the "cup" equivalent of five weighed ounces of sugar? Consider it friggin' amazing that I know that weighing five ounces is NOT the same as reading "ounce" on the side of the measuring cup. MIRACULOUS, I tell you! But next time I have to use Google more than four times in one recipe, I am giving up and serving my patented "bourbon with ice."


  5. I have decided once again that it is time to chop off my hair. Not super-short, but about shoulder-length with lots of layers. My cycle -- perhaps you're familiar? I seriously can't be the only one who does this -- is:
    - Grow hair past shoulders
    - Declare I love my hair long, and decide to grow it "very long"
    - Envision long, flowing, wavy locks, a la Kim Basinger in LA Confidential
    - Start the growing process
    - Ignore that I have the slowest growing hair in all the world, plus split ends
    - Get regular trims; resist urge to allow stylist to chop off all my hair, despite that she really, really wants to
    - Note that my hair has grown a total of one inch in six months
    - Keep at it with greater resolve and determination than ever
    - See pictures of myself from behind with sad, sad, non-growing hair
    - Decide shortish, layered hair is totally cute, what?
    - Cut hair to shoulders
    - Let cute, shortish, layered hair grow past shoulders
    - Repeat
    I'm thinking of going back to red.


  6. I know I wrote all that mostly good-happy stuff about Facebook, but the reality is that it's kind of upped the ante. I have many posts a-brewing in my head about a lot of stuff from way back when. (Actually, I even have a whole box in my apartment full of trinkets and hand-written notes and memorabilia that I have dubbed "blog fodder.") But it's one thing to write about the quirky horibleness of high school when you're thousands of miles and tens of years away from it. It's quite another to write openly and honestly about those experiences when most of the people who experienced it with you are out there, and their smiling faces are just one click away.

    I'll probably write what I'll write no matter what, but it's going to be a challenge to not dance around (my version of) the truth. For example, I hope I am not tempted to write something like, "He was a nice enough guy, he was just misunderstood," instead of "He was a complete asshole," if the latter was my reality.

    Not that Facebook is the only culprit. I don't know if you remember that post I wrote a while ago -- it was about an older gentleman who hit on me while I was commuting into NYC to meet a young, attractive med student for a date. (I will add a link when I have one, I can't find it at the moment). The post was about the what-could-have-been aspect of my meeting the older man (in my head, HOT), seeing as my date with the med student didn't really lead to anything. In fact, for the sake of the post, I called my younger date "forgettable."

    You can imagine how surprised I was to receive an email a few days later from him, asking if he really was that forgettable. No, of course not and that wasn't my point were my sincere responses. HOW DID YOU FIND ME AND THAT ONE SINGLE FRIGGIN' POST??? was what I was really thinking. But right, transparency, blah blah whatever, now we're in touch occasionally, and Bob's your uncle. I think you get my point.

    Writers of previous generations did not have these issues.


  7. There are many funny things that happen in and around my a cappella group, most of which are hard to capture because the humor falls under the "You just had to be there" category. And even then, I'm not so sure. Last night, for example, we were laughing so hard we were crying because the Soprano I part of "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" comes in by holding out the word "Christmas," except the way the music is written, the first note goes with half of the word, and the second note with the second half of the word. Meaning the entire first line of the song just says, "CHRIST-." It's not till the second line where the Sop I's get a second note that says "MAS." And let me just tell you -- holding one note on the word CHRIST is hilarious.

    See how uproariously funny that is?

    Don't even get me started on the side-splitting comedy that is "let's figure out these syllables" game. Imagine a very well put together professional woman asking in complete and utter seriousness:"Wait, is it doo-ma-doo-bop-bop (a-doom-a-doom-a-doo) or is it doo-pa-doo-pa-pa (a-doom-a-doom-a-doo)? Because it sounds like you're saying doo-MA but doo-PA is what's written."

    Anyway, this one time we performed at a woman-named-Phyllis's house because she had won us at an auction. And that right there is one of the more ridiculous sentences I've ever typed. We called it Phyllis Fest. The entire experience was pleasant, if a bit odd, and afterwards the lot of us went out for pizza and beer. While at the pizza place, another hilarious Loose Interpretations moment happened. I don't know that I can do it justice, but I will try. (You know that song, "There's a Hole in the Bucket"?)

    Anyway, here goes:

    Roe is sitting at the table, trying to look over the menu, and abruptly takes off her glasses.

    Roe: Oh man. My glasses are so smudged, I can't see a thing!

    Roe then takes off her glasses to clean them. Except after she gives the table and herself a once-over, she realizes nothing she's wearing will work as a good smudge-remover. She looks imploringly at Lisa.

    Roe: Hey, can I use your shirt?

    Lisa, who may or may not understand why Roe is asking, looks a little confused.

    Lisa: Um...okay...?

    Roe: It's just -- I mean, I can't use mine. Is your shirt cotton?

    Lisa: Uh...Does it have to be cotton?

    Roe: Yes, I think only 100% cotton really works.

    Lisa: I uh, I dunno what my shirt is made out of. Here --

    Lisa turns her back to Roe and leans toward her.

    Lisa: Check the tag. I don't know if this is 100% cotton or not.

    Roe grabs the tag out of Lisa's shirt and leans in, then literally falls off her chair laughing at herself.

    Roe, between fits of laughter: I -- can't -- read -- it!

    We look at Roe, not totally understanding why she is laughing hysterically at not being able to read it.

    Roe: Because I need my glasses! AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!


  8. I have started posting a lot of photos on Facebook. I have so many sitting in iPhoto, waiting for blog entries that may never happen, that pushing them to Facebook just made a lot of sense. Feel free to check 'em out.


  9. I probably should have stopped at 5.



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Splish, Splash, SPLOOOSSSSHHHHHH!

I know a lot of people who just forgo getting a Christmas tree because they have cats. Cats like to bat ornaments around and some even get it in their heads to try and CLIMB the tree. Lucky for us, our cats are not so much "climbers." It's not even that they're not agile enough -- Sherlock is certainly capable, and Eddie has regained his youthful physique since moving into our current apartment with stairs and room to run around.

So sure, Monster isn't going to friskily climb a tree anytime soon, and Leon -- Ish's older, diabetic cat who weighs approximately a million pounds -- is basically a lump of pudding who moves from the floor upstairs to his dish to a seat at the table and back again as his entire day's workout. He even lies down to drink his water.

But Eddie and Sherlock COULD scale the tree, I just think that they lack the imagination to do so. And that is fine with me because I don't even want to think about the ornamental detritus that would result should any cat decide to leap upon a tree branch.

However.

Last night I was awoken to sounds of rather violent water-bowl splashings.

Now, most of the cats (except Leon) put their paws in the water bowl and splash a little before drinking the water. Sometimes they only drink the water from their paws. I do not know why this is, except sometimes I think they can't actually see the water (since it's, you know, invisible) and so they splash it around to confirm that it's actually there. This happens all the time, and I don't normally pay attention to it.

But for some reason, it was super loud last night. And then I realized that it wasn't just loud, it sounded like a LOT of water.

Of course, at 3 a.m., your brain makes all kinds of allowances for strange sounds coming from a home full of cats: Oh, that's probably just a cat scratching up the entire side of the sofa, but I'm sure it won't leave any marks. Let's go back to sleep now.

And as I was dozing off, noting that the splashing had stopped, Eddie decided to re-join us on our bed. Try as I might, as he was walking all over me at 3-something in the morning, I couldn't help but notice that his paws were colder than usual. And then I noticed that they weren't just cold, they were wet. And THEN I noticed that they weren't just wet, but his entire front half was sopping.

Not what you want cuddling with you.

He was gently escorted to the foot of the bed and sleeping resumed all-around.

Later, at about 6:30 this morning when Ish and I were just starting to wake up, we again heard the very loud water-bowl splashing.Which is when it occurred to me:

You know what? I think Eddie must be...uh...jumping?...into the Christmas tree stand.

Ish got up and looked over our bedroom's half-wall down into the living room. He couldn't really get a clear picture, but Eddie was definitely bounding in and out from under the tree, seemingly darting to the tree stand full of water and splashing around in it with both paws.

EDDIE! STOP THAT! Ish yelled. And he did. Or at least, the splashing stopped. (Our cats are surprisingly responsive to our scolding them. I do not know why.)

Then Ish got in the shower. And while I was still trying to rouse myself, Eddie leapt onto the bed again, front half soaking wet again.

All in all, I find this rather cute (if annoying). I'd much prefer the cats take joy in the water bowl under the tree than the tree limbs or ornaments. And I've had my own run-ins in years past with what I affectionately refer to as "tinsel poo," so this is demonstrably better.

But this does not mean that I understand the behavior. Why so much fervor? Why so much splashing? What about the tree stand makes it a super fun game?

Beats me. But I will try and snag a video of it if I can...