Wednesday, May 27, 2009


You know what people have been giving me a lot of lately? Journals. Which is, I suppose, okay. I say this because all the parenthood books I'm reading tell me I need to journal the following:

1. frequency, duration, and characteristics of each breastfeeding with the baby
2. frequency, contents, and odor of Baby Love's poop
3. my postpartum moods (to verify that I don't get a desire to hurt Baby Love or put him in the dryer or something that speaks of illness needing drastic medical intervention)

You know what I'm interested in journaling? My weight, even though weight is just a number, body fat percentage, nutritional intake, and exercise regimen. I have decided my first goal is to return to Crossfit within 8 days of delivery, even just to do a few 400m walks and some good mornings, and then to be back at rugby practice September 1 (Sub-goals include a real kipping pullup and a full rope climb, but these don't have time limits attached yet).

I don't think these are unrealistic goals. That gives me about two months of Crossfit to work my way back up from waddling with the empty bar to really working and moving my body. I want to record this process. I don't so much want to diagram the poops of my son.

I'm thinking I'll use the engraved, leather-bound journal I've been squirreling away for my Operation Fit Body journal and, if I remember, I'll write the other stuff down in the Anne Taintor one with the great pictures. But I promise not to feel bad if this one slips and then I can just continue to use that one to jot down driving directions when I go new places. And then not label them, so I have no idea where each scribble actually leads.

That just leaves two Japanese themed journals of varying sizes to find a use for. It's funny how much my habits have changed since I got a laptop. I used to go through those notebooks like I go through mint ice cream. Now, I just cycle through external hard drives...

Basil Faerie

Last night, we had Big Perm over for birthday tacos. I was walking her out to leave and noticed some salesmen/evangelist type people going up the block, so I went inside and boarded up the house, put plywood over the windows, sandbags around the foundation. (Really we just turned off the lights and locked the front door).

About an hour later, we heard some rustling on the porch, the screen door opening. "They're here!" I said to Corey, "Hide!"

We paused the movie we were watching and tried to be very still and quiet. "I think they are putting something in the door," he said, "probably a flyer or something."

We waited until all sounds had faded away, until it seemed safe, and then he got up. We nominated him because he is more agile and mobile right now. He slowly opened the door, one millimeter at a time, to see what they left. "Is it a flyer? Were they republicans?" I yelled, with feet elevated.

"It's some kind of plant. Maybe it's a green movement?"

"Is it a flower? Was it the Veterans?"

He came inside with a very fragrant, beautiful potted basil plant. It was a variety I was unfamiliar with, and had pointier leaves, but smelled wonderful. We put it on the table in front of us and stared at it.

"Who put that there?" I needed to know.

Corey doesn't like to speculate about anything. He preferred to just pretend the plant no longer existed and he took it away from my sight line. I am not so easily fooled. I remembered that we had it!

"Why didn't they just ring the doorbell?" I began theorizing about the plant. I have been telling everyone who will listen about my abysmal luck with growing things this year. My tomato seedlings died. My zucchini didn't even sprout this spring. Nor did my cucumbers or gourds or corn. Basically, all I've got are some garlic plants and some replacement seedlings I had to buy at Home Depot. Even the basil seeds I brought back from Italy were a big, fat failure. And lots of people know about this. That basil plant could have come from anywhere.

Or it could be poisoned.

I decided I have no mortal enemies at this time and tried to think of the most thoughtful people in existence. I remembered how our neighbors mulched our bushes for us when we first moved in (and had bushes) and how they mowed our lawn while Corey's dad was sick and how they give us food and herbs and pretend not to care when I dig up their oregano with the Wovel or steal their mint every day to flavor my water. They must have been the plant deliverers. My basil Moses.

I sent J a text message to see if I was right, and felt very silly typing, "did you happen to put a potted basil plant on our porch?"

It turns out the neighbors ARE the basil faeries! They remembered my lament and wanted us to have some basil and just gave us a tall, fragrant variety. Still unsure why they didn't ring the bell, although our solicitor preparations may have scared them away.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Strange Dream

Last night I dreamt I rescheduled another motherhood massage, because it was so good. In the dream, I was in the desert sand room derobing and waiting to get on the table so Jane could massage my feet and hips. All of a sudden, Bonnie Hunt came bursting through the door screaming that she needed my appointment time because she, too, was pregnant and very busy.

I got so upset in my dream. I didn't care that she was Bonnie Hunt at all. This was my time, that I carved out of my busy week. I started yelling at Bonnie Hunt to get out, step back, make her own appointment. I wondered, in the dream, why Jane wasn't doing anything about this intrusion. Then I really screamed at B.H., saying, "My time is valuable, too! I teach online students, who depend on my comments to complete their rough drafts!!!"

It sounded just as stupid in the dream. But then I woke up feeling like I lived in New Jersey again, where everyone feels all entitled (Corey's family excluded, obviously) and acts like they are the keystone of the gravitational pull in the galaxy. I did NOT let Bonnie have my massage time, and I feel glad about that.

I think the message here is that I need to schedule another massage for later this week. Maybe for Wednesday, which happens to be my wedding anniversary, which will be a non-entity because we have childbirth class that night. I predict strange dreams this week. Very strange.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Feet, Part II

I had my nurturing motherhood massage (birthday gift from best husband ever, or BHE). As promised, they rubbed my feet! And my hands. And my back. And, strangely, my belly.

When I first climbed aboard the table, I had anxiety that the massage therapist was going to massage my belly. Baby Love is, after all, huge and feisty, and I couldn't envision a way it would feel nice to have him pressed in toward my squished guts. But I ended up liking that part of the massage as much as the rest of it. The whole thing just felt good. (Although my therapist initially handed me a tiny little pillow case for modesty when my chest was bare for the belly rub...I just told her we'd need something a little larger for the G-cup pumpkins I'm sporting).

The foot rubbing was actually not my favorite part of the massage. Though it was wonderful. No miscarriages happened. Just some deep kneading of the tissues and contented sighs from me. She rubbed my ankles, dug her thumbs between the bones of my was wonderful.

But nothing can compare to the way she worked out my hips! I've been limping around like my grandma (after 2 hip replacement surgeries) for a month and having stabbing pains each time I move from supine to erect posture. The therapist told me she could feel the separation of my pelvis and sacrum, whatever that means, and empathized. "No wonder you have pain."

I guess I'm just making space for Baby Love to come sliding out of my childbearing, German hips, as my neighbors are quick to tell me I have. At any rate, when I left the massage, I could walk like a normal person. Now, some have said I don't walk that gracefully as a rule. I had one roommate in college who told me I scuttle, like a crab. But whatever it is that I do, I'm right back at it after the most amazing massage ever.

I now know I need to convince BHE to buy tennis balls and massage my hips instead of wasting my energy begging for foot rubs.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Great Big Whiner

Here are the things I want to do on Memorial Day weekend:
Play rugby on Saturday
Slip n Slide with my rugby teammates at JG's bbq on Sunday
Sail on the lake in Moraine State Park
Kayak or canoe on the same lake
Ride my bike on one of the many trails in the area

Here is the number of those things I am able to do: 0 (though I am helping administratively with the rugby match)

Last night at dinner, Corey pretty much told me I suck because I couldn't even duck out of the way of the boom on a sailing vessel if we drove to Moraine. He's right. I might be buoyant (I actually have no idea because I haven't submerged myself this pregnancy) but I am not agile. I feel like a big drag, like I'm spoiling his fun and mine.

To make the weekend more exciting, technical difficulties with the online class I'm teaching mean that I'll be spending a great many hours over the weekend making up grading because the students got deadline extensions.

I have decided to throw a pity party, starting right now, and I am the only guest. The menu includes caramel Frappuccino, cake, and a really ripe pear. Potential party games include transplanting tomato seedlings, buying crib sheets at Macys online, and watching Family Fued at lunch time. It actually sounds like a kind of fun party...

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I'm researching an article on Vanishing PA Foods for PA Pursuits magazine. One of my vanishing foods is something called Schniz und Knepp, which I have apparently eaten loads of times. I called my grandma for some research on this. Here is what happened:

Nanny: (loudly. Louder than you can imagine) Helllooooooooooooo?
Katy: (loud, right back at her) Hi! It's KATY! (some banter about how I'm doing this article and can she tell me about the food a little bit)
N: Well why the hell are you writing about it if you don't know nothing about it?
K: It was an assignment.
N: Oh. Well, you know, I use half sweet and half sour apples in mine. And I use apple juice instead of water. That's how I make it.

(She starts to tell me her recipe, how she pours the juice and dried apples (DRIED! NOT FRESH!) into the pan, sticks the ham on top, and bakes it until the ham is done.)

N: Then you drop in your biscuits. Like your raw batter. You must put the lid on! If you take the lid off, your biscuits will drop. That lid must be on. Because you know your juices are bubbling. From the apples.

(some of the recipe steps come at me a bit out of the fact that you are supposed to whip up biscuit batter while the ham bakes)

K: Now, my mom says you make pig stomach when you make this. Is this true?
N: I used to! I did it like Aunt Fanny. She would chop up the potatoes, like, and stuff it with spare ribs. Now most people use sausage. But not Aunt Fanny. I made it like her. Then you bake it in juices. Aunt Fanny always poured her juices off and then fried it so it was all brown on the outside. She kept turning it. You know.
K: That sounds gross.
N: No, it's good! Pig stomach is real good. I used to make it with the Schniz und knepp. Now I just do that alone without the pig stomach.

(We talk for awhile more and I finally ask if she knows where I can get such a thing at a restaurant)

N: Well yes, as a matter of fact I do!

(In the background, Nanny's husband, Leonard, starts screaming alternately at the Price is Right showcase showdown and at Nanny)

Leonard: Yer over, idiot! Risser's! Risser's!
N: Risser's diner. Now where is that? Ernie Risser is his name and he is a big man. Oh, he is a big man
L: It's five miles down 322. This asshole just bid $30,000 for a boat and a TV.
N: It's not on 322! It's on 422! What's the matter with you?
L: It's in Myerstown
N: It's more Womelsdorf, like. They serve all those foods there. Pig stomach, too.

Equipped with the information I needed, I let her get back to Drew Carey while I called up Ernie Risser, big man and restaurant owner. I learned that for only $10.95, one can purchase Schniz und Knepp with soup, salad, and a soft ice cream cone. Sounds like a good deal to me!

Gosh, I love my job.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Yesterday was my birthday. Instead of celebrating at a Pirates home game like we've done for the past three years, I requested only one thing: rub my feet. It was my birthday, and dammit I wanted a foot rub (and chocolate cake, but that goes without saying).

I spent the day reading placement exams for incoming freshmen on campus and then I was supposed to meet Corey for dinner, followed by my foot rub. It occurred to me after about 150 freshmen essays about Axe Body Spray commercials that I should get a pedicure. They rub the crap out of your feet during a pedicure. Who cares if we were supposed to have dinner at People's at 5pm? We aren't 80 years old! I decided to get a foot rub.

I took the bus from Oakland to the gritty little nail salon on Graham and Centre, walked in, and announced my goal: pedicure. I climbed aboard those massage chairs, plunged my feet in the blue water, and prepared to be pampered. I haven't even been playing rugby, so I was excited that they wouldn't have to get out the dremel to take off my rhino hide. They didn't even need the cheese grater this time! More foot rubbing time for me.

Kevin, my foot artist, turned up the water jets and asked me weird questions about being pregnant. Like does it hurt me when the baby kicks. Then he started rubbing the lotion onto my feet, the massage part. The best part of the pedicure. I sighed.

Then, all the ladies in the salon started screaming at him in a foreign language (Mandarin? Perhaps Thai?). I got scared. The snoozing man next to me jolted awake. There was a great to-do. Kevin dropped my foot into the blue water.

He told me that he was not allowed to rub my feet because doing so could cause a miscarriage. He pointed to a place on my heel and another on my ankle that are, supposedly, the danger spots. Then he gently rubbed peppermint-smelly stuff into my calves and painted my toes.

Could Kevin be right? I started freaking out because Corey (who desperately hates feet) has been rubbing my yams in the evenings. It feels so darn good and he hasn't touched them since June, 2001 when he gave me a foot massage in a successful attempt to get into my pants. Is Corey's act of good will hurting the baby? Or is Kevin full of crap?

After Kevin put on the cherry red polish and walked me ever-so-slowly to the nail dryer, he said, "Your husband come get you, right? He pick you up?" Apparently the small rubbing of my feet was a big deal, very bad. Luckily, Corey was parked outside reading a magazine and waiting for dinner. I waddled on out of there.

I did not get a foot rub last evening, but I did get an awesome gift certificate for a "Nurturing Massage for Mothers to Be," which promises: Specialized positioning on our unique body cushion is used to ensure the ultimate in comfort and relaxation. Helps to relieve tension in your lower back, hips and upper back and alleviate any swelling in the hands and feet, while easing your mind and uplifting your spirits.

Sounds to me like they are going to rub my feet. Which is all I wanted for my birthday!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Belly Haikus

My God! Look at that
glowing full moon on my front
It shines and pulses.

Have you seen my feet?
I have not seen them for years
They play peek-a-boo

Perhaps it is good
to not see my feet because
they look like blobs now.

I smear cucumber
butter on the belly each
morning. It smells nice.

At baseball games, drunk
men bump my belly, pushing
past me for more beer.

My hips hurt. This gut
is heavy and its contents
are restless. Come out!

You, belly, are just
the right size to hold ice cream
bowls or mugs of tea.

"Can I touch it, please?"
When people rub you, belly,
Your tenant jiggles.

Corey calls you a
parasite. I think of you
as my sweet lichen.

I wonder whether
water balloons would bounce off
my belly or burst?

I am filled with awe
that my body knows how to
grow a human being--

nobody taught me.
I've just always known how to.
What else can I do?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Marathon: Snacky D

This is the story of the Pittsburgh Marathon 2009, as told to me by Snacky D, Eagle Scout extraordinaire (*I have added some literary license to this tale).

The adventure began driving a stick-shift Subaru to a downtown parking garage at 6am on race day after a feeding at Ritters (aka Shitters) diner. Eggs and toast: the perfect carbo protein pre-race treat?

Lost in the vast sea of runners, our brave Snacky tried to find the dude with the yellow cardboard "4 hours, 30 minutes pace" sign. The start is organized by groups according to running pace, so there isn't the hectic commotion at the starting line like there is in many 5k races. These avid runners do the whole race at a pace far slower than they're capable of in order to make up for having to hold up a sign the whole time. Snacky originally hoped for a sub-4hr marathon, but some injuries told him to shoot for safety in the 4-30 group.

Snacky started his stroll through the neighborhoods of our city, traversing the bridges, marveling at the bands and the crowds and the intensity of the experience. After 7 miles, his trip to Shitters necessitated a "nature break" at one of the course's aid stations. While many other male runners chose to break for nature behind dumpsters or cars or poles or barely even out of sight, Snacky D did the right thing, paused from running, and waited for the portable facilities. *Snacky has asked me to mention that my literary license made the nature break sound like much more of a big deal than it really was in my haste to chastise the food at Shitters. This was a number one nature break*

Soon after: Game on, and our Snacky resumed his run. It had become clear to him that the pace setters with the yellow signs were not running at the pace they claimed. Slower? Sometimes faster? It varied as much as the order of juice/water/sports drinks at the hydration stations. He broke free and ran on his own, until he found Corey who said (as only Corey would do), "You're off your pace!" Snacky began to rely on his own watch and found his rhythm.

Soon after, he realized he was hungry. Desperately, empty tank hungry. He approached a water station and said, "DO YOU HAVE FOOD?????" as he swiped and missed at several polystyrene cups. This detail is important because the race claimed it was "greening up" this year and listed wax paper cups as something to get rid of. Snakcy was not pleased with the polystyrene and even less pleased at the lack of sustennance at the water station.

Grumbling, angry, near death, he started to climb over the Birmingham Bridge when suddenly, he spotted an angel sent by God. A woman stood holding out a bag of gummy bears! Snacky swooped toward the woman, a vulture attacking carrion, and took the proffered candy. Rejuvenated by this treat, he found Corey at the crest of the bridge, which sank and swayed as a herd of runners ran past.

Snacky was overjoyed and gave Corey his ceremonial Eagle Scout greeting:

Snacky continued along the route without much to-do (giving high fives to friends and supporters in Oakland and the South Side). I got a text message from the racing website telling me he had crossed the 20.8 mile mark, mere meters from where I stood at my regular bus stop (now closed for the much faster human runners) hoping for my own high five. You see, the magical chip in his shoe communicated to his masses of followers, who registered online to get texts when he passed check points. Anyway, in the gloomy flock of runners reaching their breaking point, I saw Snacky round the turn with the biggest smile on his face. I think I got 3 high fives before he was gone, out of sight, down Negley Ave and into the home stretch.

As our hero made his way onto Liberty Ave, one block from his apartment, he had his low moment. His aching bones told him to just turn right and go to bed. But then a jazz band appeared on the corner and began to play. Re-energized, tapping his toes a bit, he got his mind back in gear, crested the Liberty hill and looked down on a sea of humanity: the city cheering him on the last 2 miles, the runners in front and behind, and a lady offering beer at mile 24.

Certain this last feature was a mirage, Snacky D kept running while the woman said, "last call for beer!" Our Eagle Scout then turned around on the street, ran back UP the hill after trudging on for nearly four hours, and swiped blindly at her cup of proffered ale. "The best beer of my life," Snacky told me later. It fueled him for his big finish.

I got my final Snacky update: he crossed the line at 3:58--under four hours! Snacky D then covered himself in a mylar blanket and ate a sub, waiting for his "green" goodie bag which was "green" because it was a reusable book bag rather than a disposable plastic tote. Disappointed with this greenwashing marketing scam but overjoyed at his accomplishments, he waited to cheer on his training buddies and then hobbled to his car, where the clutch proved difficult to press along the journey home. When I met up with him hours later for mussels and cheese, it was hard to say who walked more like a pregnant lady.

All in all, it was a memorable day marking the return of a fantastic tradition. Corey and I are so proud of Snacky and our other marathoning friends!

Friday, May 01, 2009


We have this vent thingy in our bathroom. It's pretty gross. We've lived in our house for two years and never cleaned it and I'm pretty sure the previous owners never cleaned anything, so Lord knows how much accumulated filth is in there. Gross.

When we turn on the fan, it makes an awful noise and a weird smell comes out. Corey says the smell is pretend, but my pregnant nose smells all and I say it's real. Last night, when we had been in bed reading for about an hour, I went to pee (again) and couldn't bear the smell anymore. I made Corey come dismantle the vent thing.

Let me tell you, there was so much caked on filth and dust in there that I couldn't even bear to take a photograph. You know that scene in Heroes where we see the weird spider nest things Dr. Suresh makes to coat his victims? It looked like that. We spent about an hour vacuuming and soaking all the parts. Even the screws were coated in an inch of filth.

The goop kept raining down from the vent hole as Corey cleaned in there, a black hail storm of filth.

But then we put it all back together again and the fan doesn't stink. Nor does it make a grinding death wheeze. In fact, it's sort of cheery in the bathroom now (at least in my opinion). We decided that every April 30 would be vent day, and we'd clean that sucker out while we each had free reign to complain about whatever we wanted during the venting process. I think it will be a good family tradition.

We also decided that as soon as our son was either 7 or tall enough, that was going to be our stock punishment.