Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Cupake Menu!

Dozen just released their spring cupcake menu. I have until 7pm tonight to find out what a chocovanilla is, and I plan to come home with results, darn it! Or maybe I'll eat a peanut crunch. Or both!

Friday, March 27, 2009


Today was a pretty nerve wracking visit to the midwives for several reasons. First, I had my glucose test. Last month, the midwives warned me of this test. I'd have to come in super early in the morning and drink sugar juice. Not just any sugar juice, they said, but uncarbonated soda. Nothing to me sounded more vile than syrupy sugar juice. This from the girl with the sweet tooth!

They make pregnant ladies drink this goop so they can test our blood an hour later and make sure we process sugar properly and don't have gestational diabetes. My sister, with her wonderful Arizonan midwife, got to eat a candy bar. I go to a major research hospital and had to drink the syrup, which came in a medicine vial with a label and bar code and everything.

For some reason, I imagined this juice would be brown and thick and gross. I got myself a little worked up over it, actually. When I got to the lab at 7:20, the tech said, "ok. You have five minutes to consume the drink. Starting now."

Man! This woman CHALLENGED a rugby player to something. A competitive freak like me, who has to win at the dentist and beat Corey at toothpaste conservation. Five minutes? Please! I prepared to chug the sludge in under a minute. When I saw it, clear and watery looking, a wave of relief washed over me.

It actually tasted ok. Like sprite. Maybe even refreshing? In no time, I had the whole cup in my gullet and had to make a mad dash to the midwives' office so I could pee out my urine sample in their special bathroom, stat. I find out the results on Monday. I'm thinking I won at glucose testing.

My visit was also frustrating because we had to discuss the follow up to my last ultrasound. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but I am convinced (after a solid six months of research) that the American medical system has done everything in its power to medicalize birth and operates not to promote this natural, wonderful experience, but to avoid litigation and industrialize or somehow efficiently process labor or something.

Because I see the midwives within this major medical research hospital (Magee Women's Hospital), I get my ultrasounds with not just techs but highly trained obstetricians with many years of college. They are trained to handle the most troublesome pregnancies in all the universe, and thus are highly aware of every little abnormality on their super sonic ultrasound machines. This is why they noticed that Baby Love has a "bright bowel."

When they first pointed this out, I researched the problem. 90% of the time? Just bright bowels. Sometimes it means the baby has Down Syndrome, or CF, or a virus. So Corey and I got tested and got Baby Love tested for all these things. Negative. But his bowel is still bright. I like to think it's his shining, poopy star, because 90% chance of normal feels ok to me.

These ultrasound folks? They are doom-sayers. They tell me he is breech, as if a 25 week fetus doesn't churn around all over the place. They go on and on and on listing everything in the DMV ever associated with bowels, and it makes me panic, which makes Baby Love upset, which pisses me off and it's a viscious cycle. I hate how they're trying to convince me that something is wrong with my very normal, squirmy wormy baby.

Today, the midwives measured my belly and my fundus and told me things are beautiful. They listened to his heartbeat and told me everything is beautiful. They monitored my health and my blood and my urine and it's all beautiful. Add in the super fancy technology? Disaster. Fear. Death. They support my decision to not be worried and view the pregnancy as normal. I like having them on my team.

I just want to move to a place where birth and pregnancy are still normal parts of the life cycle. Where people understand that my body can push out a baby without drugs because the female body has been doing this for millenia. I am blessed with a healthy pregnancy and a wonderful baby. I don't like sitting on a table with goop on my belly while a bespectacled man talks at me for over 15 minutes, making me fear things that have a 1 in 5000 chance of happening to my baby. You know what? One in six women are victims of sexual assault. I have like a one in 250 chance of getting breast cancer.

So take your scary news and save it for the pregnancies that really need your attention, because Baby Love and I are just fine. Stop trying to scare us and make us upset!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Oh god! When we first moved to Pittsburgh, our wonderful upstairs neighbors introduced us to the fabulous world of Catan. I cannot explain to you the vast awesome-ness of this game. It is probably the best game in existence. Maybe even cooler than rugby?

Anyway, we were delighted when our new neighbors on Duffield Street revealed not only a shared love of this game, but that they OWNED a copy!!! We spend many of our free evenings over there, trying to take over the island.

My brother-in-law recently tipped me off to the fact that you can play Catan online. For free! This is not good. Not good at all. I spent pretty much all of yesterday playing Catan.

It all started when two of my phone interviews stood me up. This meant I not only couldn't work on the drafts of those stories, but I couldn't refine or edit them either. Pretty much my whole afternoon was shot. A sensible person would have shifted tasks from later in the week into this new hole. Not me. I played Catan. All day.

Then I got invited to play Settlers in real life with the neighbors, but I was having strange abdominal cramps in the evening and had to lie on the couch with my feet up...and the laptop on my belly as I...played Catan! I even got Corey involved. He wouldn't create a screen name himself, but watched me play and offered lots of "input."

At first I hated these online people because they were mean to me. They called me an idiot, said I was brainless when I made mistakes, were generally hostile. But Corey reminded me that I have a rich life in the real world whereas they have only Catan and their petty words to act out against the world that shuns them. He's so wise. I felt so happy about it I played a few more games.

Right now, I am desperately behind on my grading and haven't planned out the class I teach at 2:30 this afternoon. And still I am having to force myself to NOT play this online game of trading and world domination! Gah! I am hooked!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sweet Tooth

I make really, really strong efforts to eat well. My meals--and I eat four of them instead of just three--are generally filled with greens and veggies and whole grains and good fats. We eat very few things that come from boxes or packages, especially since I'm on the pregnancy diet and don't do well with white rice or flour. This is made easier because I have a partner who really supports good eating habits.

As much as I make him sound like a nincompoop in the kitchen, I have to point out that while I was in Arizona, he planned a week's worth of healthy meals and had all the ingredients purchased for when I got back: farro in vegetable broth, paninis on whole grain bread, whole wheat pizza with fresh tomatoes, spinach salad...lots of good things.

But I can't stop eating sweets! I feel literally incapable of not eating mass quantities of ice cream, dark chocolate and, recently, Cadbury mini eggs. I feel such guilt over the mini eggs that I've taken to hiding them in my coat pocket to conceal how many I'm really snacking on, only to forget how many are in there and show up in my office with a melty, poop-looking pocket.

And then everyone I know is selling baked goods. The damn Girl Scouts affront me everywhere I turn with their Thin Mints and Samoas. The grad student book sale includes snickerdoodles and macaroons, which I bought instead of books. And ate right there before the elevator even arrived.

Instead of rewarding myself with sweet treats when I finish my work, I've taken this backwards sort of view where I reward myself with filling out grade books if I can just resist the mini eggs for two hours. It's very twisted.

I am fearful that my baby will come out with the same sweet tooth, the same sugar addiction. Then he'll get fat and obese and have diabetes. I started following the cupcake shop on Twitter, for God's sake! I need an intervention. Like Miranda from Sex and the City, I need the Betty Crocker Clinic.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Buying Clothes: Procedures

There are many ways in which I was not so much like my mother. For example, I cringe when someone leaves the wet shower curtain bunched closed or forgets to hang the bath mat to dry. Why? Or why must all the light switches be pointing up when they are off and down when they are on? Because growing up, light switches had to all be pointing certain directions and heaven help the person who left them the wrong way.

But there is one habit I am quite thankful my mother instilled upon me: I wash clothes before I wear them. This means that when I buy something at the store, I take it home and then put it in the washing machine/dryer before I let it touch my body. I do this for several reasons:

1. Armpit juice. I sweat like a hog even when I'm wearing deodorant. Other people try on the clothes from stores and the thought of their armpit juice--potentially more abundant than mine--grosses me out.
2. Commando. Some people just don't wear underwear. Then they try on pants. Maybe this doesn't happen, but the fear of it is enough to make me do laundry
3. Filmy residue. When I worked at K-mart, I discovered that clothes come from the manufacturer individually wrapped in plastic. Every single shirt or pair of pants is generally individually wrapped and the sales associate has to take it from the plastic before putting it out on display. Perhaps this is why store clothes feel/smell odd? Anyway, I like to wash that gunk off before my delicate skin wears my stuff.

I thought everyone pre-washed. But it turns out they do not! Corey's mom doesn't pre-wash clothes, only sheets. Corey doesn't pre-wash anything at all. I must admit, in a pinch I've slapped new rugby shorts on my body before a match, but that's different somehow (though I don't know why...I've seen the scuzzy men's bodies at tournaments trying things on at those tents...).

Are people just not afraid of these bodily fluids? Why, if you don't wash, do you not do this? How can I be less paranoid or should I even try to stop pre-washing my garments?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Dooce blogged about peeing while pregnant today, and I can't pretend I haven't been having the same experience for months. There is nothing more disturbing to me than the way this pregnancy has affected my ability to relieve my body of waste.

Take last week. I was on an adventure and really, after it's over, what sticks out the most to me were bathroom excursions. Waiting in the security line at the airport? Torture because I had to pee so damn badly the whole time. Going to the Botanical Gardens? Eventual torture because I had to sprint/waddle to the bathroom and then only one drip of pee came out, while my bladder still felt like it was bursting.

In talking to other pregnant women, I've learned some of the tricks. Lean forward, spread your legs to make space for your belly, lean further forward until your face is on the disgusting bathroom floor, then pee. You know what happens when I do that? Farts. Farts happen. But not pee.

I have to pee right now. I just peed! Baby Love is kicking the crap out of my bladder with his long, strong legs (which I encourage! Be active, my love!) but I just cannot pee out the 36 ounces of chai I just drank this hour.

When my sister Betsy and I took Ananda to the park, I looked around in search of a toilet. I saw a little hut in the center of a den of vagrants. Betsy, in fact, thought one of the vagrants was an overturned tree stump and shouted, "What IS that??? What's that thing on the ground???"

Turns out that thing on the ground was a sleeping man, who was lying sideways in front of the park "bathroom." This facility was a hut with no door containing three "stalls" with dividers in between, but no doors. Unless you squatted in the third prison-style stall, the vagrant could see your every move through the lack of doors. Such was my peeing emergency that I went into the third "stall," pulled down my elastic-waist pants, and bent forward until I looked like one of those lawn butts. I am happy to say the experience resulted in actual urine.

But then we had to cut our park visit short because I had to go again twenty minutes later and refused to go back in that gharish place.

The rest of the trip was more of the same. Want to know the best bathrooms in Vegas? The one by the cash cage in Cesar's is nice, but the one outside the wedding chapel is better. Phoenix airport? Try the one before the security line. Pittsburgh airport? I go for the one on the international departures floor because nobody knows it's down there, to the left of Franco Harris and one level down. Cathedral of Learning? Go for the bathroom on the 6th floor because it's less busy and you can wail in frustration without embarrassment.

Want to know how to help a pregnant woman pee, like poor Dooce? I have no idea but would love to find out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Highlight Reel

I've been gone for like 9 days. There's too much to say about it, so here are the highlights:
1. Penny Slots. I won ten bucks! Proceeded to cash out immediately and walk to the crepe restaurant in Cesar's Palace, where I bought a ten dollar chocolate crepe. It was actually $9.40, but I put the change in the tip jar. I sat outside the cafe, which is really inside because nothing in Vegas is actually outside, and was eating away happily until this awful woman came and sat at my table in the only remaining chair. She was smoking away heavily, as you are allowed to do in Vegas, and then said, "Oh, you don't mind do you?" "My baby does!" I bellowed and shoved the crepe plate at her. I stomped off to lose more money on the penny slots, enraged that I didn't even get to finish my crepe. You can bring cigars to the gamboling floor, but not chocolate crepes...

2. Shelbie's wedding. I got to sign the marriage certificate and be in the bridal salon with her and her family. It was really something. I hope I didn't get too "wise" and talk about my wedding too much...that was the last thing I was trying to do. I just wanted to be in there with her while she got ready. It was so amazing to share that experience with someone I've known since I was 5 years old...

3. Chihuly! Wouldn't you know I was in Phoenix at the same time as the Gardens and Glass exhibit? I got to see the wonderous glass masterpieces in the desert landscape. They had the butterfly garden open and one landed on my back. Everyone started yelling, "Look! That lady has one on her back!" Then they shoved and shoved to get a picture, manhandling my tiny, pregnant sister out of the way. She had to get all uppity to take her own picture. I was, after all, her actual sister and not just "that lady" to her...

4. The mayor. I had dinner with the mayor of Phoenix, Phil Gordon. I was doing research for an article on water in desert cities, and he told me all about irrigation ditches. You can read the full report later on the Mother Nature Network, but how cool am I having dinner with a man who gets to talk to Barack Obama this week? He was so chill and he sucked the frosting off the chocolate cupcakes we had for dessert, putting just the cake part back on the platter. Ah, Phil.

5. Bikes. Ananda (my nephew) is quite the bike rider! While my sister Sami treated patients, Betsy and I took Ananda for long bike rides...long for his 4 year old legs anyway. On Monday, he wasn't really wearing the right shoes and kept slipping off the pedals, causing him to crash his bike over and over again until the training wheels fell off. He asked me to carry him home but my baby bump prevented that. Instead, I made him carry the bike helmet as a purse with our water bottles in it and I wheeled the mangled toddler bike down the street while he cried a little bit. I assured him the bike was totally fixable and it wasn't his fault. Then he got distracted by the ice cream man and totally forgot all about it.

6. Kids. My nephew woke me up yesterday with the following dialogue: "Aunt Katy, when Baby Love is born, he can play with my toys if he wants to. Also? Um, Baby Love needs a brother so you should make him a brother too. Only make him real. Is that Baby Love in there right now?"

UPDATE: Pictures

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Off into the Sunset

Corey and I leave tomorrow for Shelbie's wedding in Las Vegas. I am traveling on from there to visit Team Bravo in Phoenix along with my little sister and give my nephew enough kisses to last until the next time he comes to PA. Because I'm a crazy person, and can't just take a vacation, I have managed to work in a writing assignment while I am out west, so I extended my stay. I'll be dining with the Mayor to research an article!!!

Probably won't be on here much for the next 9 days. Won't be doing Crossfit, won't be consuming any animal biproducts, and I'll have to survive on the cookies I'm bringing in my carry on, because they don't eat much junk food out that way. Hopefully I can squirrel my nephew away for a cupcake or something when my sugar addiction catches up with me...

At least it's warm and sunny there! Maybe I'll get a little tan on my baby bumpy belly.

This is, I have promised myself, my last big journey for awhile. Although we're flying to Philly for Seder in a few weeks...I guess that makes me a fibber? Man, why can't I just sit still. It's like I don't even really live here in Pittsburgh this year.

Friday, March 06, 2009

World Cup

Today (I guess technically yesterday for EST folks...) was the first day of matches for the first ever Sevens World Cup for women. I should be there watching and supporting. I should be in Dubai right now. I can't stand not being there! It's like there is all this energy and history being made and I'm watching it in a tiny room in Pennsylvania. I feel so excited for the Uganda team, whom I've gotten to know via their blog. I feel really glad that the Netherlands are doing well, since one of their players is starting up rugby again just weeks after giving birth to twins.

I feel like there is so much powerful feminist energy happening across the world right now. Even watching it from afar gives me goose bumps. Good luck, USA. I rubbed your calendar for luck this morning while I drank tea! Gosh, what a thing it would be to win the first ever cup...even to be there is so monumental.

I was telling my students this week that the USA women's team could, for this spring at least, simultaneously exist as both women and professional rugby players. The thought of that is so huge it makes my head explode a little bit. We are on our way to something like equality in the sports arena! We are on our way!

Go Eagles!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Spring Fever

Not only is it above freezing today, but it is well above 40 degrees. Above 50 even! And unlike those sporadic days in February where it reached 70 before dipping back to the negatives, it feels like it might be sticking this time. I've let it get to my head.

Instead of lesson plans, this morning I packed for Vegas. Instead of lesson planning right now, I'm writing this blog post. I also bought chips, ate chips, adjusted my belly band, and stared out the window for awhile.

All this leads me to believe I should not expect stellar attention spans from the students this afternoon. And who could blame them? I don't think I will. It's likely their last class before spring break. I wish I could concentrate hard enough to come up with something super fun for them to do to get their minds ready for the essay they'll write.

I think instead we'll probably just gab about spring break destination plans. And that's ok! Some example I set.

PS--Might be eating ice cream on the PORCH rather than on the sofa tonight

PPS--Giving prenatal yoga another try. This time, I've had no beans or fart food, so hopefully things will be better.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Hot Date, Katy/Corey Style

I have been looking forward to this for weeks. Tonight is date night! Since the two of us have been taking turns gallivanting all over the place least since Valentine's weekend...we've barely seen one another. What with dodgeball games for Corey and crossfit for me, plus work and rugby and marathon training, it's like we're on separate life paths this winter. We generally only run into each other at the midwife's office for our monthly visits.

Until tonight! We are having a date! A romantic, wonderful, food-filled date. (Keep in mind that I am married to a man who refuses to buy cut flowers because he finds them wasteful. Every few years when I get flowers, it's always a potted perennial. For birthdays, I buy him workout clothes or race registration fees...we define romance a bit differently on Duffield Street) Here are the particulars:

Corey will come home from work at 5. Like actually at 5...when work is over. Not 7:30.

We will then change into workout gear and go to Crossfit together! For an instructor's choice workout! Wooooo!

Following the workout, we'll walk to the Thai place around the corner and eat spicy food in our sweaty Under Armor, together, maybe holding hands, but likely not. We'll rehydrate and share some pad thai.

Then, we'll go home and eat ice cream on the sofa while I convince him to watch Lost with me.

Have you ever heard of a more perfect date? It sounds like I'm kidding, but really this will be a great time for us. Who knows? When we go to Vegas for a wedding next week, we might even wear fancy clothes for dinner together. Or at least get room service?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Greener Gadget Convention

In case you wondered where I've been lately, you can read about it here!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Garden Distress!

Last year at this time, I had a dining room filled with tomato seedlings and a front yard full of peas. This year? I haven't even ordered my seeds yet! What am I thinking??? Corey's boss and our friend has started a garden blog because their family actually successfully mimics Barbara Kingsolver and feeds themselves from their garden. They fill every square foot of their property with cabbage or beans or tomatoes or something. It's really miraculous. We get together and talk about compost together...

Anyway, I feel much more on top of things because I finally ordered my seeds. Now, I do realize that by the time these things grow out of the ground and need constant picking and attention I'll have a newborn infant. My hope is that no matter how poopy or smelly or tired I am, I can still climb outside and pick a cucumber and a tomato and put salt on it for a rejuvenating treat! Or, alternately, pay the neighbor kid to go out back and get me my fruits...

This year's experiments: gourds and corn. What will we eat this autumn???

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Big Love

I've been reading Under the Banner of Heaven. I was supposed to finish weeks ago for book club, but didn't get to it. Now I'm watching season 3 of Big Love and all I can think about is plural marriage. It is permeating my conscious thoughts. I know there are people who are far less feminist than me and that's ok, because someday I'll convert them. But these principals? Plural marriage, subservience, obedience, the racism...I feel scared these folks will get to my baby and make him think such things are ok. Maybe I'm not scared of that. Maybe I'm more scared because I don't see how I can help the women who are stuck in places where people tell them such things are not only ok, but necessary.

I need to stop reading heavy books until I give birth, I think. Also to stop watching shows this distressing.