Saturday, May 30, 2009

Trying to relax

Blechh. My calves hurt (three charley horses last night--Eric said, "How is that possible when you only have two legs?") and I'm tired and there's a baby bubbling around in my internal organs. The last bit isn't so bad, except sometimes I wish I could make it stop, and the middle one is a good tired; I went out and worked in the garden and the yard a bit, and that makes me happy. Eric was going to mow the lawn, but his shoulder injury from an old car accident flared up again yesterday (possibly triggered by an irritating episode with his mother and her computer) so he's taking it easy. I'm trying to, too. We went to our first childbirth class on Thursday and I walked out of it crying because the relaxation exercise had triggered a whole bunch of unhappiness I hadn't realized I was carrying around. Eric said, "Apparently neither of us are real good at the relaxing thing," but we're giving it a try.

This weekend we intend to unload the bookcases in the office so that we can replace them with the bigger bookcases in the nursery, and make ice cream. Lemon ice cream. Yummy yummy lemon ice cream. I also intend to make another batch of chai, if there's enough cream left. I made some this past week just because I felt like it, and I think I'm getting close to a good recipe. I'd like to have someone else to get a second opinion (Eric's no good because he doesn't like chai), though I'm not sure why when it's my taste I'm trying to cater to. I think. Anyway, books and ice cream ahead. What could be more relaxing than that?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Chicago is big and interesting and full of toll roads and taxidrivers who love to honk. Even if you're stopped because going forward means running over six or seven pedestrians. Especially then, perhaps. Our last act in Chicago was to get smoothies from Jamba Juice, and since we had our car at the time and there was no street parking available for several blocks and we weren't about to pay $19 to park in a lot for the ten minutes it would take, this involved letting me out quickly at a red light and me calling to read the menu to Eric, then ordering, then calling back when I had our drinks. I stepped outside in time to see Eric on the corner, trying to turn right on a green light but unable to because of the thick stream of pedestrians crossing, and a taxi honking steadily at him from behind. I yelled at the taxi driver, though I doubt he heard me. Then I ran after Eric because he was finally able to turn and couldn't stop, and eventually we met up in an alley halfway down the block. We are not moving to Chicago.

However, the rest of the trip was great. We went to the art museum, which was free on Friday, and laughed at the modern art section--there were a few interesting pieces, but the artistic merit in the majority of them was in the descriptions. A canvas in one or two colors with a couple of big gouges in it: "In Meanderings of my Summer Mind (or whatever), Artist X moved beyond conventional artistic envisioning by transitioning the medium outside of the two-dimensional plane using either of two alternate postmodern techniques--cutting, or [Italian word], and tearing, [other Italian word]--in order to invoke the kinetodynamic realm of motion and shape." There was what looked like the side of a garage, complete with misspelled random words, measurements, and what looked like kids' scrawls, and was described as a masterpiece of modern technique; there was a pile of wrapped hard candy that was described as representing the artist (or artist's friend?) in his struggle with AIDs or cancer; visitors were encouraged to take a piece, thereby representing the gradual eking away of the victim's life; meanwhile, the art museum would restock the candy, representing a "virtual immortality." Eric couldn't get over this one. "Pile of candy!" he would say every once in a while during the rest of our stay.

On Saturday we took a bus to the Museum of Science and Industry and overheard a man haranguing another man about...something; what I really remember is the sentence "Even mammal dinosaurs were feathered, so they're wrong, they're all wrong!" I have no idea whether the second man was a friend of the first one or was just a hapless stranger. We went to Shedd Aquarium--which was okay but not impressive, but our feet hurt so much it didn't really matter--and the Field Museum, which should by rights have taken two or three days, and the planetarium, and the Sears Tower. We walked along the beach and ate at interesting restaurants and had a good time.

And now we are having a good time being home, with our refinished bathtub and lack of need to be standing up for eight hours every day. Contrast is everything, I guess, and vacations are good, but home is very nice indeed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chicago bound

The garden and plants are watered. The clothes are folded. The dishes are mostly done. The snacks are packed. The bathtub is in the process of being refinished. It must be time to go to Chicago. Well, it's time to pack for Chicago. Tomorrow, we take showers at the mothers' (owing to aforementioned bathtub needing three days to dry) and drive away. I'm totally excited. We haven't had a vacation that wasn't visiting family since our honeymoon, which was not a disaster but was not exactly the ideal vacation, what with the panic attack and the severe sunburns and the lack of variety of occupations. (The food was great though.) Yay vacation!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Home comforts

I am quite tired--pleasantly so, except for the back. I spent a good four hours out in the yard today--mostly doing garden work, but also weeding around the raspberries and the one rose (which may be getting yanked; we'll see how I feel about it). Eric helped out by Round-Up-ing weeds. While we were both out we learned that the neighbors have such frequent parties (a few times a week) partly because one of them is a Pampered Chef salesperson (whatever they're called). If I'd known that before I would have inquired whether Pampered Chef has angel food pans any better than the Baker's Secret ones.

Alas, I didn't; so Eric got one from Kroger today, because we were bound and determined to have angel food cake with sugared strawberries and homemade French vanilla ice cream tonight. And so we shall. The strawberries are macerating, the ice cream is setting, the cake is cooling. We've just finished dinner, tacos. I don't mind quick meals on the weeknights, mostly, as long as it doesn't descend into "What do you want?" "I don't know, what do you want?" "I don't know. Pasta?" which it too often does. I'm sick of pasta. But I'm really liking a more work-intensive, well-rounded meal on Sundays. Followed by dessert is even better. A dessert that kicks off the ice-cream-making season is better still.

Monday, May 11, 2009


I read Theodore Sturgeon's The Dreaming Jewels over the weekend. It's one of the books I didn't realize Eric (well, we) had but noticed when we moved books out of the nursery last week. I keep hearing that Sturgeon is a fantastic and phenomenal writer, and I've read two of his books now and I'm disappointed. It was a nice book, as was the other one (More Than Human), but they're not mind-bending and illuminating and everything that people say they are. Apparently he goes with Heinlein in my mind as a class of over-hyped writers. I wonder if this is because I'm so used to contemporary writing, or because I have a different viewpoint from the people who admire their work, or what.

We saw Star Trek on Friday (I think Eric was disappointed there was no line or anything to get in, but the theater did fill up respectably) and it's a decent movie as a movie, but not as part of Star Trek canon, according to Eric. The things that bugged him were things I didn't know (ages were off, Kirk wasn't born on a starship, etc.), but there were definitely flaws in it as a movie; there were some logical inconsistencies and not much character development except a little in Spock, and it felt like it was stuck between trying to appeal to the older Star Trek fans (especially bringing in all the main characters, who are all ridiculously young and all geniuses at their jobs despite being ridiculously young, to the ship at the same time) and to newer, young fans (too much flash and fun without logic to back it up). Also, it technically passed the Bechdel-Wallace test, but only technically, and I really didn't like that the only major female character was reduced to a love interest and nothing else, despite also being ridiculously young and a genius at her job. I did think the actor who played McCoy was fantastic, though.

I also made the sourdough onion rye bread and it's pretty good, but it needs work.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Mundanely better

Another bout of last-minute kid-watching today. "We'll make it up to you," my mother-in-law said, looking down at my burgeoning belly. "Won't we?" (I've swelled up in just the last couple of weeks or so to suddenly looking distinctly pregnant. It's weird, but I think it's better than when I just looked overweight. More overweight, anyway.) Despite that, I'm feeling quite a bit better. I talked to Eric about my resentment and worry, and I took my glucose test, and I've finally got the tomatoes out into the garden, and I'm working on the thank-you letters. The desk is still more crowded than I like--messy workspace means messy mind to me, so it makes me all scatterbrained and irritable--but I'm getting it under control.

I made bread today, plain wheat sandwich bread, but it was nice to do. And tomorrow I'm going to make sourdough onion-rye bread, which totally excites me. I might have to actually bake it Saturday, as Eric wants us to go to opening night of the Star Trek movie, but that's all right too. We're going up to see some friends Saturday, but not until the afternoon, and in the morning I planned to go to the farmer's market for salad fixings and strawberry plants anyhow, so it all works out. Now the only thing really wrong is that I've got a slight headache from eating too many Nerds.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Grumpy pregnant lady

I was a total grumpy pregnant lady last night, caused partly by wearing maternity clothes to work (they were fairly comfortable physically but not at all psychically. I have issues, I know) and exacerbated by a last-minute all-evening babysitting gig for the eleven-year-old stepsister-in-law for no good reason (and the two-year-old niece for a good reason, but only for a couple of hours and we'd agreed to that earlier) and annoying dogs at the mothers' house. I'm not a dog person anyway, and slobbery tongues and noses all over my pants and hands just as I was finally sitting down to the dinner I had to argue to be allowed to prepare even though everyone else was hungry and wanted what I suggested did not make me any more so.

Ahem. I really am slightly better this morning, though not a lot.

Today Eric has promised to mow the lawn and build a bookcase. I do not actually believe he'll get both of these things done, but I hope to be wrong. We bought three bookcases from Target a couple of weeks ago for the purpose of moving the library out of what'll now be the baby's room while still leaving a couple of small bookcases for the baby's stuff (not to mention her own books--she only has five or six at the moment, aside from the kids' books that I still consider mine, but that will change). Our dream house will have a dedicated library with built-in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. (And a secret passage.) In the meantime, we're lining the dining room with cheap bookcases. If we ever get them built. There's also a corn syrup slick in the pantry to clean up, and a mouse to poison or track down and shoot, and a whole bunch of other work to be done. Part of my grumpiness last night (and this morning) was also due to the neverending messiness and dirtiness of the kitchen and the house in general. Why are we homeowners? Arrgh.

To be honest, I think I'm disgruntled because I don't think I should have to be the one to work. Or rather, not the only one to work. Not twice in two years. Not when the house isn't any cleaner or better kept than when we were both working. Eric said on the way home from Penguicon that he was wondering whether he shouldn't just stay home with the baby next school year (and maybe teach lab part-time at the university) instead of getting a job. We need to talk more about this--it would be nice if it doesn't drive him crazy and we can afford it, but I wonder if he's really considering it because he's afraid of not finding a job, or of being dismissed a third time if he does--but I'm feeling all kinds of unattractive things when I think about it. I want to be the one to stay home. I didn't have to worry so much about money when I was unmarried. I do all this emotional caretaking already, I don't see why I have to be the sole breadwinner and the household manager too. I want someone to lean on, not someone to support. I'm a woman and a wife and I'm not supposed to have to do everything.

I hate that I feel this way. It's really not that bad; I’m just disgruntled and tired and anxious, and also the baby's hiccups resonate in my bones and I have to go take a glucose test and I still can't eat much cheese so mealtimes are difficult. (Not because I can't cook without cheese, but because our shared meals often involve it, especially in the winter, so if we want to eat something together there's a limited selection to choose from and if we decide to eat separately Eric invariably says he'll just have some chicken nuggets/a ham steak/Testosteroni/a banana and a cookie, and he's lost seven pounds since February so I really want him to eat better than that. And if I suggest making something that I won't eat he protests, like with dinner last night. I'm glad summer's coming, and that we can get to the farmer's market this Saturday.) I'm going to skip the glucose test today--I have no appointment; I just need to show up at the lab sometime this week--and go talk to Eric before I start yelling at him, which I don't want to do. And maybe bake some bread. That might make me feel better.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Penguicon 7.0

We're back from Penguicon, plus a long nap. Penguicon was fun--the hotel was large but not quite large enough, so apparently a bunch of people had to stay in neighboring hotels and the game rooms were smaller than people would have liked, but oh well. They had the consuite on the first floor, which was nice, but it wasn't as well-supplied as the Confusion one and closed before the con did, which annoyed us. And I never did get to the nitrogen ice cream. But there were interesting panels and interesting people, and a live performance of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" (with a few scenes cut out, to dispense with characters, I think). The lead was fantastic--he sang well, he acted well, he interacted with the audience and rolled with technical goof-ups well. The woman who played Penny sang beautifully but didn't have any lines otherwise, and the man who played Captain Hammer did his best but didn't sing nearly as well as would have been nice. He did have the right attitude, though. Somebody in the row behind us commented about halfway through, "If this were better it wouldn't be nearly as good."

The workshop was most of what I did--nine to twelve-thirty on Saturday and ten to one-thirty on Sunday--and was interesting; I've never done an in-person writing workshop before. I now know that I need to write up my critiques differently, at least for presenting out loud--we each had about three minutes (supposedly) for talking about each piece we critiqued, and that called for a summary rather than a detailed description. I learned a lot from doing the critiques, and from hearing other people critique--especially the facilitators, Jim Hines and Catherynne Valente. I apparently have no confidence issues as a reader so it didn't bother me that my takes were different from other people's, but it was interesting to hear how we differed. I got some very useful feedback on my own story (the beginning of Shoelace), which, fortunately, doesn't seem to necessitate giving up or redoing the whole thing, which is nice since I should be very close to finishing the first draft. (Also learned that Festivus is something from Seinfeld? I used it as a name for a holiday but three or four people commented on it, so evidently I'm going to have to find something else. This is the problem with never watching TV: not knowing pop references.)

Tonight I'm unwinding (we ordered a pizza, despite an annoying bill from the OB/GYN, because I just don't have the energy to think of something to cook) and finishing up an article for the business journal I've been doing occasional freelance work for. The source for this article wouldn't do the interview unless I promised to send him the rough draft before sending it in, so I did, but he hasn't responded and it's due tomorrow, so he's out of luck.