12.28.2008

2008 Year in Review Survey

This is a Christmas present a friend of mine sent me a few years ago because I love filling out surveys.
Previous years for comparison: 2007,
2005


2008 Year in Review Survey

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Gave birth, became a mom and all that goes with that. Non-mom related: going to see Barak Obama at the Leesburg rally and I tried Pilates.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
no, but I dont make new years' resolutions
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
yes. not including myself... Bianca, Elissa, Melissa, and all my new friends from the Mom Group

4. Did anyone close to you die?
yes, my friend Hank
5. What countries did you visit?
again, just the U.S.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
at least one opportunity to sleep through the night

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 5th because Dylan was born that day.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
My baby. I know it's sounding really repetitive, but being a mom has pretty much been the focus of my entire year

9. What was your biggest failure?
not doing better in Scrabble... otherwise it's been a pretty successful year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a cold shortly after Dylan was born. And I got some random stomach bug in December... I ended up with a temp of 103.6 at one point. No fun. But fortunately, nothing too serious.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
a coffee maker and a new watch

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Definitely Matt's because without him I wouldn't have made it through a lot of this year. Ann's for getting ordained. All of my friend's mentioned earlier for becoming mommies as well.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
hmmm... no one in particular really

14. Where did most of your money go?
house, baby, cars, student loans

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
having 3rd row seats to see wilco, having a baby, all the Mom's Night Outs

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Forever Young by Bob Dylan... because it's by Dylan's namesake and the lyrics are so appropriate for a new baby (they are at the end of this list)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. Happier or Sadder?: Happier
ii. Thinner or Fatter than last year?: Thinner (much!)
iii. Richer or Poorer?: probably about the same

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
sleep!!!!!!!! but I think that goes without saying. other things: scrapbooking, playing piano, working out... all of my hobbies that I never have time for anymore, but it's all good.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
laundry, but it's got to get done

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
at our house. our families came over and hung out. Very low key. Dylan loved all his new toys.
22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
stayed in love

23. How many one-night stands?
0
24. What was your favorite TV program?
(there's more than one): 30 Rock, Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, and The Office
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
no, I try not to hate people

26. What was the best book you read?
hmm... I was definitely looking forward to the last Twilight book the most, but I'm not sure if that was really the best book I read. Nothing else really stands out to me at the moment though.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Baby Shark (doot doot, doot doot) for Dylan, along with many other baby targeted songs. I didn't really follow music much this year.
28. What did you want and get?
A baby! The house is painted. A new closet. A bigger car. A watch.
29. What did you want and not get?
To lose my baby weight. To fix the front garden and clean out the garage. I guess that's what next year is for.
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Nothing really wowed me, but some decent ones: Kung Fu Panda, Sex and the City, and Dark Knight
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 27. I had my family over for cake, which I made myself because my mom always made her own birthday cake, so I thought that was something moms did. I got a coffee maker for my birthday because my little french press just wasn't cutting it anymore.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having enough sleep so that being tired wouldn't get in the way of enjoying life. I try not to let it, but every once and a while it catches up to me.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
I refuse to get back into fashion until I'm back to a size I'm comfortable with. So I guess I would say that it is new-mom transitional. Very casual.
34. What kept you sane?
My husband, my family, and the moms group

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I hate this question every year, but if I have to pick my favorite 2008 celebrity I guess I would have to go with Tina Fey.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The Presidential election. I'm so excited that VA went for Obama. It makes me feel like my vote really does matter.

37. Who did you miss?
Harmony because she moved so far away :(

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I dont think I could single anyone out, so I'll just go with the ladies from the mom group

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008?
I learned to let go of little things. I learned that in order for me to consistently make dinner at home I need to write out a dinner calendar in advance, and remember to take the meat out of the freezer ahead of time. I learned that being a paranoid mommy is okay.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Forever Young lyrics...
May God bless and keep you always, May your wishes all come true, May you always do for others And let others do for you. May you build a ladder to the stars And climb on every rung, May you stay forever young, Forever young, forever young, May you stay forever young.
May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true, May you always know the truth And see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, Stand upright and be strong, May you stay forever young, Forever young, forever young, May you stay forever young.
May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift, May you have a strong foundation When the winds of changes shift. May your heart always be joyful, May your song always be sung, May you stay forever young, Forever young, forever young, May you stay forever young.

11.27.2008

A First

Last Friday I experienced a new first for myself. I went to the movies alone! It was great. I mean you dont really talk to anyone while you're at the movies, so it's not like I really need the company. I think it's just usually a social event so I always felt the need to bring people with me. But last week Twilight came out, and I was dying to see it. Unfortunately nearly everyone I know went and saw it at the midnight showing on Thursday, and that just wasn't practical for me... with a baby that wakes up about 3 times a night, I didn't want to leave matt with a screaming hungry baby that he couldn't take care of. So I had to wait. But on Friday Matt came home from work early and offered to watch the Dylan so I could go see my movie. I thought about trying to find someone to go with me, but it seemed like too much of a hassle, so I just went by myself. I think it's one of the first independent, fun things I've done post-baby (doctor's appointments and grocery shopping don't count because they are NOT fun). Anyway, here are my thoughts on the movie.

First of all... it is TOTALLY a teen girl movie. I was in a theater full of teenagers. There were a few other adults there, but not many. And you could tell it was totally geared towards teen girls because one of the pre-movie commercials was for DDR (that's Dance Dance Revolution for those of you not in the know). I felt a little out of place, but didnt really care too much. Then during the movie as soon as Edward made his first appearance ALL the girls started screaming (so happy that I have a boy).

As for the movie itself... It's pretty bad. I mean, I totally enjoyed it because I really like the book. But as far as movies go, it wasn't very good. The directing is weird at times, some of the acting is off, parts that are supposed to be serious just come off as goofy (there was laughing in the theater), and the story is very choppy. But I got to relive the book, so I was happy. And I got a night out for myself, which was really nice.

I also heard that they are going to turn the second book into a movie, so I'm excited about that!

Paranoid Mommy Syndrome

No one really warned me how about how much worrying comes with being a parent. I mean I know you worry about big and general things like "is my kid safe?" and "I hope nothing bad happens to them." But no one told me about the day to day, minute to minute obsessing over things that could be wrong with them, but in the big picture they probably aren't anything worth worrying over.

For instance... from the time Dylan was 2 weeks old, until he was nearly 4 months old he had a persistent diaper rash. I went to the pediatrician numerous times to get every kind of diaper rash medication known to man (then finally stopped going when my pediatrician said "some babies just are so sensitive that they'll have rashes until they're no longer in diapers" soooo comforting), I left him out of his diaper as much as possible (no diaper = no diaper rash). And every diaper change was so stressful, I had to be careful not to wipe too hard, or use anything with soaps and fragrances, then I had to apply all this cream, and I would stress over the fact that nothing seemed to be making a difference. It felt like this was at the front of my mind all day. I felt so bad for him, it looked so painful. But he seemed fine, never cried about it, didn't mind diaper changes at all. It was all just me, and my paranoid mommy syndrome. Eventually though, it did get better. I dont think it was anything I did, I think he just got over it (actually I think it had something to do with the fact that he starting pooping less frequently, but I don't really think people want to read all about his pooping habits so we'll just say it was magic that helped get him better).

Anyway, I am not one to obsess over things, or be paranoid that something as small as a diaper rash means the world is ending. I like to think that worrying is a waste of energy, instead you just do what you need to do to deal with a situation. But when it comes to Dylan, every little thing gets to me. In the past week here are some of the doomsday issues I've had to deal with:
-drool rash (apply some vaseline to it a few times a day and it healed)
-dry skin
-teething pain
-his first cold

Last night I think the teething pain and cold got so strong that he couldn't take it any more. He just started screaming... wouldn't eat, wouldn't sleep. Nothing I did seemed to help. And he was so tired he could hardly even keep his eyes open, but I dont think he was comfortable enough to sleep. I seriously was about 5 minutes away from bringing him to the ER, but decided to give tylenol a try first. But during this whole thing all these terrible thoughts were going through my mind... what if it's an ear infection (and today is thanksgiving so where do I bring him to get checked out)? what if something is bothering him that I can't see (and he can't communicate to me) that is totally unrelated to the cold or teething, but is something serious, what if I put him back in his crib asleep and he can't breathe through his nose (because of congestion) and then for some reason doesn't figure out that he needs to open his mouth to breathe and he stops breathing in the middle of the night and I have no idea? ... and so on. Anyway, fortunately 20 minutes later, he was back to his usual happy, hungry self. Ate and then immediately went to sleep, and all the terrible thoughts went away.

So anyway, I didn't really end up getting much sleep last night. Then this morning he woke up 2 hours earlier than usual. I tried to get him to go back to sleep, but no luck. So I made myself some coffee and put in Jeff Tweedy's concert dvd while he played on the floor. Fortunately he's taking a nap now, but I couldnt go back to sleep (thanks to the coffee), so I'm just finishing watching the dvd. It reminds me of my pregnant sleepless nights when I would wake up at like 2am with nasty heartburn. I'd come downstairs pour myself a little glass of milk, pop in this dvd and fall asleep on the couch.

11.20.2008

Meme Time

I got tagged for a meme by Tom. This one is all about randomness, which is pretty much how my whole blog is, so this should fit right in.

Link to the person who tagged you.

Post the rules on your blog.
Write 6 random things about yourself.
Tag 6-ish people at the end of your post.
Let each person know he/she has been tagged.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1- I have never had a full time job. I have held multiple part time jobs at once, but never a full 40 hour salary, benefits, kinda thing.

2- The only food I absolutely will NOT eat, or eat anything that has come into contact with, is baloney. I also will not make other people baloney sandwiches because I don't want to even touch or smell it. There are other foods I don't particularly like but will still eat because I'm not really a picky eater, it's just that baloney is too disgusting.

3- I have the rights to an arrangement of a localish all girls prep school's song. I was asked to record it on piano one year for their video yearbook. I also wrote it down (because there was no sheet music for it) and added a few chords in case someone wanted to accompany the girls. The following year I got a call from the school's new music teacher asking me for permission for them to use my arrangement at their graduation ceremony. I felt so professional, and shocked that they bothered to track me down and ask, I think most people would have just done it without asking. I was also shocked that they even needed my permission, not like I wrote the song or anything. But since I'm such a nice person, I gave them permission (for free even).

4- Most days I wish I was a brunette, but I doubt I would ever dye my hair any other color because I'm too lazy when it comes to maintenance for something like that.

5- I wouldn't mind having to wear a uniform because I don't know how to express myself through my clothes, nor do I particularly want to. But if I knew what I was going to wear everyday that would take a lot of stress (and prep time in the morning) off of me.

6- I get really excited when I hear people speaking German on TV or in a movie and I can understand it (because I don't understand much). If someone is around me, I'll translate it for them, even though there are almost always subtitles, at the very least I'll point out the fact that I didn't need the subtitles to understand what was said.

As for tagging 6 more people... um... I dont really know anyone else to tag because I don't read a whole lot of blogs, and I dont think very many people read mine. I'm kind of a mem dead-end. But if you have a blog and would like to participate, please feel free!

11.06.2008

I miss sleep

I've never really considered myself a High Energy Person. I'm not one of those people who is always perky and bubbly and on the go. On a nice sunny day I prefer staying in and reading a book or practicing piano, after a long day I need a long amount of sleep to recover, overall I have a fairly mellow disposition. Part of me used to think that meant I was a lazy person, but then a good friend of mine said that I wasn't lazy, I was just more mentally active than physically active. I really like that description of me, so I have learned to accept my low-key personality over the past few years, rather than think that if I'm not constantly on the go, something is wrong with me.

That being said... taking care of a baby is very taxing on me. Dylan is constantly on the go. I feel like at this point, the older he gets, the more exhausted I'm going to be. He's not even crawling yet, but he rolls all over the place and has been getting very interested in whatever objects he can get his hands on. He doesn't like to stay in one place for much longer than 10 minutes and I need to constantly be next to him to keep him from getting into some kind of trouble. I realize that this is something every parent goes through, and it's really fine. I dont mind playing on the floor with him all day. The problem is that he is turning into a terrible sleeper. I think he's getting all the sleep he needs, but I am not getting anywhere near the amount of sleep I need. I keep thinking that any day now he'll learn to sleep through the night, but after talking with people who have older children, I'm beginning to lose hope. And I really don't mind getting up once or twice during the night if I know that he'll take good naps during the day so that I can relax a little then, but he's stopped taking good naps lately. So I haven't been getting my downtime to relax, or even to do things like the laundry. I've even stopped going out during potential nap times so that I can make sure I'm able to at least sit and relax during his short naps, even if it's just for 20 minutes. The fact that there seems to be no end in sight is really starting to get to me. How am I going to manage once he's really mobile? Being a mom is hard.

I dont mean to complain so much, because of course I love my little boy more than I thought I could, and he is a lot of fun now. He laughs at pretty much anything that moves, which is adorable. And he's a really good baby. At least he's not miserable and cranky all day (even if I am some days). It's so weird because there are times when I get so frustrated, but he has no idea, and he'll just give me this huge smile which makes it so hard to stay in a bad mood. It's like his super power.

Needless to say, I certainly dont take sleep for granted anymore.

10.17.2008

Perfect Family Moment

Last night we had one of those moments I'll probably always remember. It was very simple. Right before we got Dylan ready for bed he was playing on the floor with this little drum toy that he loves, Matt was sitting in a chair playing guitar/harmonica, and I was nearly passed out on the couch singing along with Matt and keeping an eye on the baby. Everyone was happy and chill. Dylan was really interested in the harmonica whenever Matt played it.

10.13.2008

Where's the cold weather?

It's October... not June or August. I dont want it to be 80-something degrees anymore. I don't want to have to use the air conditioning anymore. I don't want to have to fight off mosquitos, ants, and box elder beetles (the bugs all over our house) anymore. I want it to be cold. I'm much happier in cooler weather.

We're planning on going to a farm sometime in the next week or so to get our Halloween pumpkins. I don't want to be wearing shorts while doing something Halloween-y. It's just not natural. I remember trick-or-treating when we lived in Colorado and it was snowing, when we were in New York I had to wear my jacket under my costume. That is how October should be.

10.09.2008

What's His Name?

All morning I was trying to think of a name. For some reason I was trying to remember the name of the American composer, who lived in CT, and used to be in the insurance business... then he did all this crazy composing stuff where he would have two marching bands walking towards each other, each playing different music.... what the heck was his name. It drove me nuts all day that I couldn't remember his name. Somehow I figured out that Charles sounded right, but I kept going back to Aaron Copland, which I knew wasn't right. Then a few minutes ago it just hit me... Charles Ives. Ahhhh, i feel so much better now. Of course I have no idea why I was trying to remember his name in the first place. Oh well.

My Halloween Decorations

Okay, so haven't really decorated for Halloween. But the outside of my house sure is scary looking right now. I got home from Mom's group today and to my shock there were all these beetles ALL over the front of the house. Like thousands of them. I counted how many were on a window and it was well over 100. Fortunately they aren't on the side or back of the house, but still, it's so creepy. I called Orkin right away, and they can't come out until MONDAY. And I had to bitch at them to get them here that soon (they originally tried giving me next thursday). I'm really hoping by then they'll be gone. But I really hope they don't get into the house some how before then. Of course since I live in a townhouse the bugs are all over the neighbors' houses too, but ours and the other end unit seem to be the worst. I called my piano student to tell them they'd be better off coming in through the back door, but they weren't home so I'm not sure if they'll get my message in time. I dont think the bugs are dangerous or bite or anything, I"d just hate for them to have to walk through it. Ahh, the joys of owning a home.

As a side note: dylan did much better at mommy group today. He didnt nap before we got there, but I managed to get him asleep shortly after we arrived. And he ate before we went out to lunch, so he wasn't totally miserable when we got home. I just fed him and put him down for a nap with no problems. He'll probably wake up when my piano student gets here, but that gives him time for an hour and a half nap, which is pretty decent.

10.05.2008

Religulous

Today I went to the movies with Matt and my sister, Sarah. We saw Bill Maher's new comedy/documentary Religulous. I thought it was worth seeing. Maher definitely raises some of the same issues/doubts/concerns that I have, and I never got satisfying answers for it either. At the end of the movie he says something along the lines of how certainty in religion can be dangerous, and having doubt makes you humble. I wish I had the exact quote, because I thought it was great. I'd say the movie was funny (it was, I laughed out loud frequently), but at the end the humor morphed into something more serious, and then it was a little scary.

The best part was when I bought the tickets. I got carded. I mean, it's a rated R movie, so you have to be 18, but come on, really? I don't look 18?? When the guy saw my ID he was like "oh, oops... you must get carded a lot." Which is pretty true. Except I bought a bottle of wine at Giant last week and for the first time, I didn't get carded. Maybe today's carding had something to do with my new haircut. My sister, who is 19, did not get carded (she didn't go to the same guy I did though, so that may be part of it).

10.03.2008

Top Pop Pianists

http://new.music.yahoo.com/blogs/listoftheday/97053/25-piano-men-and-women

Interesting article, that considering my background, I feel obligated to post. I will agree with what the writer says before he starts listing people... Thelonius Monk should be at the top, but this list just doesn't include jazz pianists, or classical for that matter. Also glad that Billy Joel isn't in the top 10... because he irritates the crap out of me ever since he insulted people who study music, and then immediately stated that he couldn't play the music from his classical album because he's not classically trained (maybe if he had studied music that wouldnt' have been an issue for him.)

I admit that I'm not familiar with some of the people on the list, but I'm a Ben Folds fan, mostly because I think he's amazing on the piano. I wish I could play like that. He always sounds like he's having fun without trying. I mean, I have fun, but it definitely doesn't sound like it. Anyway, matt always gives me a hard time about liking Ben Folds because he thinks Folds is just a rip off of Joe Jackson. It's probably true, but oh well. I do like Joe Jackson's "I dont like Mondays" song. It always gets stuck in my head on Mondays. "tell me why, I don't like Mondays/ Tell me why, I don't like Mondays/ I want to shoo-oo-oo-oo-oot the whole day down."

I am kinda surprised that Harry Connick Jr isn't on there somewhere.

10.02.2008

VP Debate... REALLY?!?!?!

Ugh, just watched Sarah Palin look like an idiot for 1.5 hours. Then the commentators all RAVED about her debate skills. Ummmm, is it just me? Maybe I'm not as smart as I thought I was... but, did she actually SAY anything? I mean I know she was talking (no matter how hard I tried to block her voice), but everything she said made me think that she was answering a question at a beauty pageant. Lots of big words, smiles, but nothing of substance. It was like watching a magician... you don't notice the trick because of the misdirection. Only in the debate the misdirection was her cutesy "normal people talk" and the trick was that people fell for it. grr. It did look like she was going to pee her pants when the moderator kept asking her questions about her position on gay marriage, that was kinda entertaining. I'm just disappointed that more people didn't call her out afterwards. Oh well.

Cranky Baby = Cranky Mommy

Today was a rough day. I think I may need to give my Mommy Group a break. The timing just kills Dylan. He pretty much missed all of his naps, skipped a feeding, and was plain MISERABLE by about 3:00. I kept trying to get him to take a nap when we got home, but he just would not have it. Then I started to get cranky myself, so we had to put in a call to Daddy and have him come home early. There's no way I would have made it through my piano lesson with Dylan in the mood he was in. This makes the 3rd week in a row that we've had a really rough Thursday. I keep trying to tell myself that one day of a miserable baby is worth the opportunity for adult interaction for myself, but it's starting to make me miserable as well, so I think we may skip for a while and see if he does better. After I called matt though I took him on a 45 min walk to cool down (and luckily got back in time to prep for my lesson before my student got here), and then Dylan was a lot happier. Matt took him for a walk as well, and apparently Dylan slept the whole time they were on a walk. I swear that kid just likes to give me a tough time somedays. But at least he was in a better mood once I finished teaching. And !!!!! (I'm excited) tonight is the 4th night in a row that Dylan has gone to sleep on his own. No rocking, no nursing. Just read a book, lay down, and he falls asleep... without crying! I never thought the day would come. Now if only I could get him to do the same thing for his naps.

In other Jessica news...
Wait, who am I kidding, all of my news revolves around the baby at this point. I have to admit though, I like being a stay at home mom more than I thought I would. I definitely have my rough days, but I just can't imagine putting Dylan in day care. I guess it's partly because my mom stayed home with me and so that's my "normal." But then there's the other half of me that is like "uh hello, you just got an advanced degree... don't you think you should put that to use?" It kinda sucks because I think no matter what decision I make at this point or in the future I'm going to have to deal with a large amount of guilt for failing in some area (stay at home mom vs career mom). But for now I think being home is the right choice. Plus, Dylan doesn't take a bottle, so I kinda have to be the one that feeds him during the day.

I really need to write in here more often. I just feel like I dont really have much to write about lately. I feel like my brain is slowly turning to mush. Though I am happy to say that I did use my awesome grad school skills to show my sister how good I am at research the other day. In about 4 minutes I found lots of good resources for this paper she was writing. She was impressed, but I told her that I basically went to grad school to learn how to do other people's research for them. Which is pretty much true. So if you ever need to find some obscure info, just let me know, I should be able to help.

Oh AND on the note of my brain turning to mush... here's my proof... I have yet to win a game of Scrabble on Facebook since Dylan was born. It's really pathetic.

Okay, time for the VP debate. goodnight

8.25.2008

What to do with a baby all day?

So yesterday I basically stayed home all day. Matt took Dylan out a couple times which gave me a chance to relax, sleep, take a shower, all that good stuff. Then later in the day we painted an accent wall in our living room (I say "we" but really matt did all the painting. I did tape things for him first though). Today I've only left the house to run to the post office and drop off some packages. I'm starting to go a little stir crazy now. I think Dylan is too. There's only so much time he can spend in his jumperoo. Right now he's watching the end of Ice Age. I know you aren't supposed to really let babies watch TV, but he loves it so much. So he usually gets to watch a few minutes here and there. But our typical day pretty much goes like this:

Wake up and play with his crib mobile for 15 minutes, while I contemplate the fact that I need to get up. Then he'll play on a blanket with his toys for a few minutes while I check my email. Next we go downstairs and I clean up in the kitchen while he sits in the high chair and either watches me or chews on some teethers. Once the kitchen is clean I move Dylan into his swing and I make myself breakfast. He's usually asleep by the time I'm done eating at which point I transfer him to his crib for nap #1. Depending on how tired I am and how early he woke up I do one of the following during his naps: sleep, watch TV, go on the computer, do laundry, clean the bedroom, take care of the dog, or make phone calls. Once he wakes up we both get dressed for the day. At this point I usually go and run whatever errands I need to do that day. Or if we're staying home I have to figure out ways to entertain him until his next nap. This typical consists of rotating between playing with toys on a blanket, bouncing in the jumperoo, going for a walk, playing with mommy on the bed, and reading some books. Pretty much the whole rest of the day is spent this way: eat, nap, play time. By about 3:00 I'm bored and tired of our typical routines. I try and get books that recommend activities to do with a baby, but until they are about 6 or 9 months, they really dont have anything that we dont already do. So from about 3:00 until I start making dinner, I'm just trying to keep my sanity and keep Dylan from getting too cranky. Then once I start making dinner Dylan goes back in the high chair in the kitchen with me until Daddy gets home. Once Daddy is home Dylan gets all happy and excited. I know it's because he likes spending time with his dad, but I also think part of him is thinking "thank god, someone besides mommy to look at." Dylan always sits with us in his high chair while we eat dinner. Lately I've been giving him a little bit of milk on a spoon while we're eating. I do this for several reasons: 1- he gets used to eating from a spoon since we'll be starting solid foods in a few weeks, 2- he gets to be involved in dinner time, and 3- it gives me something interesting to do with him. After dinner, we play for about another hour or so until he starts getting cranky beyond distraction. That signals that he's ready for bed. So I start his bath and get everything ready for bed. He's usually in the bath for about 5-10 minutes depending on whether or not it's a soap night. Dad usually takes him out of the bath while I clean up. Then we put on PJ's. At this point he's usually getting really cranky (though he's pretty happy in his bath and up until the pjs go on), so we turn out the lights, turn on the night light, and I read him a few books until he starts getting cranky again, at which point I feed him. He falls asleep pretty easily as long as it's close to 8:00 (anything before that and he'll eat and then just cry until 8 anyway). I put him in his crib, close the door, and that's the end of the baby's part of the day. After he's in bed I always have all this ideas of things I can do uniterrupted, like finish putting laundry away, doing the dishes from dinner, cleaning something or other... but I typically just get myself a bowl of mango sorbet and go to bed. Some days if I have enough energy, or if my back hurts a lot I'll take a bath first. But usually I'm in bed by 9 and asleep by 10. It's such a glamorous life.

Most days I try to plan some sort of mid-day outing. Like going to the mall, visiting my parents, going to a playdate, or something along those lines. This helps to keep me from getting bored by 3. We also have some more structured activities like Babygarten at the library, my weekly mommy group/lunch, and in November we're going to take a swimming class. At some point we'll probably also take a Baby Sign class, but I'm already starting to teach him signs at home... when I remember. But these activities, while fun for Dylan, or just as fun for me because it gets me out of the house and I'm able to talk with other moms/adults. Usually when we go out we'll get home around 3, and THEN I start the typical baby activity rotation, which is fine because I only have to do it until about 5, when I start making dinner. Which means only about 2 hours of keeping Dylan entertained, as opposed to a WHOLE day.

And that is a day in the life of Jessica. At least at this moment. I'm sure once Dylan starts crawling and walking things will get much more hectic. So I'm trying to enjoy him in his non-mobile phase. Actually this is a pretty good time as far as baby's are concerned. He's far more interactive than he was a few months ago (when he was in lump mode), but he's not crawling around and getting into trouble yet. Plus he laughs and smiles at pretty much anything we do now, which makes it all worthwhile.

8.19.2008

More about music

The other day I was driving home from my parent's house, Dylan was fortunately sleeping in the back of the car, there was nothing good on the radio, and I was sick to death of the CDs in the car, so I decided to play my Classical Music Game. I'm not sure if I've written about this before (it's possible), but I like to turn on the classical stations in the middle of a song and try to guess the composer. So I found a song that was bearable to listen to (the other classical station had a clarinet concerto on... gag me). And after listening to it for a few minutes I had it narrowed down to some kind of Romantic composer from Eastern Europe who took a lot of their material from folk tunes. I guessed Bella Bartok as the composer, but found out when it was over that it was actually Dvorjak. So close. I hate it when I'm wrong. But at least I was able to get the characteristics correct. It would have sucked if it turned out to be a Baroque composer from England. Anyway, it's a fun game for me.

I also like how lots of baby toys now use classical music. You know, to help you have a smart baby. For instance, the crib mobile I got Dylan was designed by developmental psychologists as well as musicologists. Honestly as soon as I saw the musicologists part of the description I stopped reading and just bought it. It plays 3 classical pieces: Sonata in A by Mozart (the Theme and Variations one), Prelude in C by Bach, and some unrecognizable Beethoven piece. How is it possible that I dont know the Beethoven piece?? I'm sure if I had looked it up in the directions that came with the mobile it probably would mention the song, but that's cheating. Anyway, he loves the mobile. It usually gives me enough time to take a shower or sleep in for an extra 15 mins if he wakes up too early, which is my favorite thing about it. He also has a swing that plays TONS of different songs. And several of them are pieces I've played. So whenever they come on I stop and listen to them and compare how I play them differently, or check to see if they've made any alterations to the piece. I'm happy to say that so far I've only noticed one piece that has been slightly altered, and I'm not sure why. But his swing plays Fur Elise, and it even plays the ENTIRE piece (not just the familiar part), and it's true to the music up until the VERY end when it adds an extra descending 1-5-1 in the bass instead of just ending on the A minor chord. No clue why they felt the need to do that, but it kinda irritates me. Oh well, that's just my snobbishness. Otherwise though they do a good job with the music.

Lastly...
One of my college professors, who I also worked with at St Matt's for a while, used to always point out when composers wrote music with lyrics that had a rhythm similar to how you would speak the words. So the accents of the beats fell on the natural accents of the words. Seems like she thought this was a good trait. Lately I've noticed that a lot of the pop music I like follows this as well. For example, I think Ben Folds does this really well. Especially in "Evaporated" which is the last song on "Whatever and Ever Amen." I love how easily and naturally the lyrics flow in that song. Just like you were setting natural speech to a pretty melody. And it's really distracting when lyrics don't follow the natural flow of speech. I've noticed that it can make it hard to understand the words.

Those are my current thoughts on music.

8.07.2008

Coincidence?

In 2000: The Patriots win their first Super Bowl (technically they won it in 2001, but it was for the 2000 season).
Also in 2000: Matt and I started dating.

In 2004: The Red Sox win their first World Series in 86 years, breaking the Curse of the Bambino.
Also in 2004: Matt and I got married.

In 2008: The Celtics win the NBA Championship after being the second worst team in the NBA in 2007.
Also in 2008: Dylan is born.

Coincidence? Or are the milestones between Matt and I the best thing to ever happen to New England sports teams?

We're trying to figure out what we need to do in order to get the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup next.

Welcome Back

I realize it's been a while since I've posted. But I have a good excuse. Dylan keeps me busy most of the day, and once I put him down for the night I am pretty much ready for bed myself. So needless to say, I've let my blog go for a while. But I think I'm at the point where I'm ready to start posting again... though I'm not sure if anyone will read this anymore.

3.25.2008

mmmm...

Current favorite thing to eat-- a Reuben from Arby's. Nice soft rye bread, good sauerkraut (yes, I like sauerkraut, I was born in Germany after all), and just enough meat. yum. Eve is also a fan, she appreciates the leftovers... what a spoiled dog.

Speaking of being born in germany... a few weeks ago I went to the Birthing Inn to fill out paperwork ahead of time (so I dont have to fill it out while I'm in labor). And they had me fill out some information for the birth certificate while I was there. I purposely left the baby's name blank because I felt like if I filled out that part of it, I'd be counting my chickens before they hatched. But I also had to fill out where matt and I were born. Me- Germany, Matt- North Dakota. Just seems weird to me for some reason. Maybe because I dont think I'll ever really believe that Matt was born in ND (since he spent the rest of his life on the east coast).

On St Patrick's Day my uncle asked what percentage of me is Irish. I'm not totally sure how accurate this is, but we (my family and I) figured out that it's probably close to 50%. The other 50% is made up of German, French, English, and apparently French Canadian (though I'm not sure how that's really any different from French.) Matt is mostly Portuguese, Italian, and a little bit Canadian Indian I believe. I actually dont think we have any overlapping backgrounds between the two of us, so our kid is going to be like 1/32nd of everything.

Reading to Pass the Time

6 more days until my due date... but who knows when the baby will actually come.

Since I'm not working anymore, I have had a lot of time to catch up on some reading. Last week I read my first Nora Roberts novel. She's so popular (and writes for adults, which I've been trying to get into) that I decided to give it a try and see what all the fuss was about. I read Tears of the Moon, it's a romance set in Ireland... guy and girl grow up together... guy sees girl as tomboy, girl has crush on guy, eventually guy falls in love with girl... they all live happily ever after. I'm not sure what the conflict was. But overall I'd have to say that most of the teen novels I've read are more interesting and real (even the ones about vampires had more realistic characters). So I think that will probably be my last Nora Roberts book.

I also read another adult book... Tales From the Crib. It's the follow up book to Notes From the Underbelly, which I read last summer. Notes from the Underbelly is about a woman who becomes pregnant and hates everything about it. I actually read it a few months before I found out I was pregnant and pretty much everything in the book terrified me, or at least confirmed my fears about being pregnant. But it was an entertaining read. So Tales From the Crib picks up with the woman having her baby and dealing with life as a new mom. Again, she pretty much hates everything about it, but this time I didn't relate to the book as much as I did the first one. I'm not sure if that's because my circumstances have changed, or if it just shows how much more terrified I was of being pregnant than I am of actually having a baby. But anyway, it was a fun quick read.

Next I read a new teen novel Kiss Me, Kill Me. It's kind of a mystery. Of course the thing I didnt realize is that this book is actually just the first in a new series, so the mystery doesn't get solved at the end. That was frustrating. But it was still pretty good overall... kinda predictable though... but at least there's a conflict.

And finally I've been reading Stephen Colbert's book, I Am America (And So Can You). It's pretty entertaining. I've been on the wait list at the library since it came out and finally got a hold of it. I was surprised to see that it's a nonfiction book with a call number 818.something. I'm trying to figure out what the 818 stands for since I really can't put my finger on what the overall subject is... except perhaps American culture. I know I could just look it up, but the librarian in me is trying to figure it out for herself.

Of course once I finish reading this book, I'll be left with nothing, so I may be spending some time today browsing Amazon and the libraray's catalog looking for new reads. (Basically I need to find enough books to keep me entertained until the final Twilight novel comes out this August... I've never anticipated the release of a book as much as this one).

3.20.2008

Still No Baby

Yep... I'm still pregnant. Only 11 days left until my due date. Which seems like an eternity to me right now. The good news is that I just came back from a dr appt and they told me that I'm already 2 cm dialated. Not that that means I'm in labor, but at least I know my body is aware of the fact that it's close to time. According to the doctor I was also having a contraction while she was listening to the baby's heartbeat, but I didn't feel anything, so maybe I'll be one of those lucky few people whose labor isn't entirely agonizing (though either way I'm still planning on getting an epidural, so it really doesn't matter). In all honesty though the last few weeks haven't been as physically uncomfortable as I thought. Other than it being nearly impossible to bend over and not being able to stay on my feet for too long, I've been feeling fairly normal. Sometimes I even forget that my stomach sticks out further than the rest of my body and I bang things into it (don't worry, not too hard).

That's my baby update. Other updates...

I finished my job last week. I was more sad to leave than I thought I'd be. I really enjoyed working in the children's department. The patrons were super nice and so grateful for any help you could give (even if it wasn't much) and the other children's librarians all got along really well and were fun to work with. The teen center part of my job wasn't as enjoyable all the time. Working until 10:30 every Friday night wasn't ideal, but I had a good last few weeks. I do enjoy putting together special programs and the last 2 weeks I ran a program where the teens made these little mini stuffed animals (patterns from the Cute Book-- which you have to check out because they are so adorable), and it turned out to be a better success that I anticipated. It's always hard to predict whether or not teens will be interested in something we plan, but they all seemed to enjoy themselves, and we even had a bunch of guys participate. Which kinda surprised me since the project involved LOTS of sewing (and it was painfully obvious that most of them had never even seen a needle and thread before). But anyway, I was glad that the teens enjoyed themselves and even happier that no one used the needles to stab anyone else. So on my last day at work I talked with the branch manager for a while and she recommended that once I'm ready, I should add my name to the substitute list for the library and that way I can work a few hours a week from time to time. So I think I'll probably do that once I'm ready to start working a little bit again, and the I plan on keeping my eyes open for Children's Librarian positions in the county.

3.04.2008

After finding a "You know you're a pianist when..." list on a friend's page, I stumbled across a "You know you're a music major when..." The music major list applied much more to me than the pianist one did (mostly because I'm not all that hot at piano, but I'm sure if you were, that list would apply to you). So I thought I'd share some of my favorites, because they are really dead on. At first I thought that all college majors had their weirdnesses, but since my sister is taking a music class to fulfill one of her Gen Ed requirements she has pointed out to me that it's strange to see people walking around the halls singing really loudly to themselves. Really? Not everyone does that? Anyway... here they are...

...you've ever had to sing to yourself in class to understand the point the teacher was trying to make.
... someone's cell phone goes off in class and people try to name the interval, including the professor. (can't even count the number of times a cell phone ring tone would become the topic of musical discussion in a class)
... everybody in your department knows everyone else, if not by name then at least by instrument.
... recital attendance credit will be the death of you. (mostly because we had to take it for 5 semesters and it actually counts as 0 credits)
... you actually have some classical music and show tunes on your iPod.
... you know the difference in between baroque, classical, and romantic music, and that Beethoven did not write all three.
... you know the beauty of manuscript of paper, one packet can last you for years.
... your personality has become defined by your instrument or voice part.
... you understand there is a silent war between the vocalists and the instrumentalists.
... your classes are randomly interrupted by the sound of someone loudly practicing down the hallway.
... someone says the words "sight-singing and ear training" and you feel a sudden urge to cry. (so so so true)
... even if you try to stay under the radar, most of the professors in your department actually know who you are.
... you've ever turned a pop song into an opera or classical piece. (check)
... you've ever had to write a paper that was more than five pages long on one freakin' piece of music.
... you've pretty much been in classes with all the same people since your freshman year.
... sometimes you pretty much hate making music, but it's such a part of you that you know you're not changing your major.
... you keep catching yourself randomly conducting music, even if it's
"Money Maker" or "Bye, Bye, Bye".
... you've ever laughed at a really corny joke that used a musical term.
... you've ever MADE a really corny joke that used a musical term, then actually laughed at your own stupid joke. (here's one of my favorites... What do you get when a piano falls on an army guy? A: A flat Major. hahahahahaha)
... meter changes in pop music make you cheer. (the meter doesnt even have to change any pop song that not in 4/4 makes me cheer)
... you even realize a pop song just had a meter change.
... you associate Beethoven Symphonies with certain moods during your day.
... you laugh when TV ads come on that have instruments in them and you know that the person is holding it wrong.
... you know that the person on TV playing the music but rather, Joshua Bell, or Yo-Yo Ma dubbed over the person.
... if you're in class and hear a muffled but insistent ticking coming from somewhere. Eventually everyone starts noticing and looking around, and diving for cover screaming, "Bomb!" and you are so used to the noise that it takes long awkward moments for you to finally realize... "Oh yeah, um, sorry guys. That's my metronome in my book bag. It must have been bumped accidentally...." (yes, my metronome has randomly gone off while in class)
...you see a sheet music mural and think it is just about the coolest thing ever, but mostly you just sit there trying to figure out composer/piece. (and half the time I point out all the incorrect notations in the mural... usually if it's a real piece though I can figure out what it is)
... the only things you can spell are chords. (I'm fairly confident that I can spell any chord out there... Abm7b5add11 = Ab Cb Ebb Gb C, not sure if that would sound very good, but that's how it works)
...you would rather practice piano than go to dinner and eat crappy cafeteria food.
...when listening to music as you walk, you automatically fall into step.
... your professors are like a second set of parents.
... you can answer the phone with a real or tonal answer.
... you enjoy the tang of a tri-tone whenever you can. (fyi: a tritone is the interval that begins "The Simpsons" theme song, they aren't very common in melodies)

(if interested in the rest of the list... and to give credit where it's due: http://themusingsofkev.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html)

2.26.2008

Baby Pool

Okay, so I'm officially 34 days away from my due date of March 31. Not that the due date means anything since technically giving birth anywhere between the 37th and 42nd week is normal. Unfortunately most first time pregnancies go at about the 41 week mark, so that's what I'm expecting. But if anyone wants to take a guess at my delivery details feel free... here's my prediction:

Delivery Date: April 5th at around 1 pm
Baby's size 7 lbs. 8 oz.

But I'm really hoping that I'll go long before then. In fact my main concern was not going before the Wilco show, but since that's behind me now, I'm pretty much ready to get this kid out of me.

One Last Vacation

This past weekend, Matt and I made a quick overnight trip up to Philadelphia. Our main purpose for going was to see Wilco in concert. Matt got us third row seats back in December before they announced they were coming to DC again (though this venue was probably better than the DC one since you had assigned seats, versus General Admission... I hate having to fight for a good spot). But it also gave us a chance to go away... just the two of us... one last time before the baby is here. Because who knows when we'll be able to do that again.

Anyway, I'm not really sure how much I've talked about how critical I can be when it comes to seeing bands live, so I'm going to do that now. I hold bands and musicians up to a very high standard when I go and see them perform. I have several expectations for any show, and when they aren't met, I am very disappointed and typically will decide not to see that band live again. So here are some of my requirements:
  1. This probably comes from my classical background, but I expect all the music at a live show to be performed live. Which means that I dont want to hear instruments or voices that appear out of nowhere because they are on a tape or some kind of loop. We saw Aerosmith this summer and they performed Love in an Elevator, which on the recording has several layers of Steven Tyler's singing in order to create the harmonies. And when they performed this song live, suddenly it sounded as if there were 4 or 5 Steven Tylers singing. Except there's only one actually there. I dont know why they couldn't have gotten back up singers or structured the song differently so they could perform it all live for real. Anyway, I understand that they wanted to make the song sound like the recording, but one person just can't sing more than one note at a time. And so when I hear several parts being sung by one person, I get annoyed... even if it's on a recording because my first thought is... well there's no way they're going to be able to pull that off in concert without backing tapes. But at least someone like Aerosmith should be able to afford back up singers for such occasions. I realize that most people dont have a problem with this, but it's one of my pet peeves.
  2. Songs should sound as good as they do on the recording. This refers only to quality. The songs do not have to sound exactly the same as they do on the recording, in fact I almost prefer it when they get mixed up a little for a live performance. I'm sure the bands and musicians must get tired of playing a song after the millionth time and so changing up the arrangement makes it more interesting for them, and also for me. If I just wanted to hear exactly what I heard on the CD, well I could just listen to the CD and save myself the aggravation and expense of going to a live show. But I do not want a drop off in quality. Sometimes I think bands rely too much on recording techniques to fix their mistakes or cover up their weaknesses, or even to give them a different sound, but then when they have to recreate it live, it just falls dead. And I dont want to pay to hear something worse than what's on the CD, it makes me feel like I've been ripped off.
  3. I want to see a show. This doesn't mean that I need pyrotechniques and fancy screens with animations and crazy stunts. It means that I dont want to be bored, which happens more easily than I care to admit. I want the experience of a live show to take advantage of the fact that the band can interact with the audience and offer the audience more than an audio CD can. For some bands it may mean using props (I think Peter Gabriel does a great job with this, though I've only seen his DVDs, never a live show), for others it may mean having a front man with some charisma, and for others it may mean playing with a lot of energy. One thing I dont want is fireworks going off for the sake of fire... I'd like some kind of performance with intergrity if at all possible. One concert moment I remember was at the White Stripes this summer. In the middle of one of the songs, I think as the chorus kicked in, all the lights in the venue went off except some pointing at a huge disco ball which was placed in the center of the venue and the whole place went sparkly. I know we've all seen disco balls before, but for some reason, this was just amazing... maybe because of the song and timing, maybe because of the scale of everything, but it kinda stirred that feeling in me I'd get as a little kid when I saw someone perform magic.
I think those are the big things I look for.

So my review of the Wilco concert. Well it definitely hit all three of those points. Plus some more... First of all I was really impressed by how well the whole band played together. I mean, Wilco's stuff is fairly complex, but they all knew exactly where all the breaks and changes were, who had to play out more and when, and who needed to back off and when. They were so in synch it was easy to take it all for granted. But they have some very high quality musicians in that band. Of course we all know by now that I think Jeff Tweety is a great songwriter, and even though he's not wild and crazy on stage, he still commands attention when he's singing. The lead guitarists, Nels Cline, is somewhat wild and crazy, but very talented. And he knows when to take the spotlight and when to give it up to other band members... which keeps him from being obnoxious for sure. The bass player provides excellent back up vocals in addition to the bass line, and the drummer never misses a thing. The other two add the textural complexity with a bunch of other instruments that gives the band part of it trademark sound. And they play a LOONG set. I think Matt looked it up when we got home and found that they played 25 songs. We think they would have gone longer, but there was a certain time they had to end by. I was thrilled when they started the show with Sunken Treasures... because they did the Jeff Tweety live version rather than the album version. One song I wish they had done but didn't was Theologians. Oh well though, maybe next time.

And did I mention that we had awesome third row seats?? We were so close that we could actually see Jeff Tweety's spit as he sang. Not that that's something you want to see, but the fact that we could see it just shows you how good the seats were.

The one complaint I have about just about any concert doesnt have anything to do with the band, musicians, or venue... it's the other people that go to the shows. It's inevitable that matt and I get stuck next to crazy drunk people who dance like morons and have no problem invading other people's personal space. We thought that by paying for better tickets we'd weed out these annoying people, but no such luck. I told matt that from now on we'll just have to buy all the tickets around us and fill them with our own personal bouncers. Oh well, I guess it's all part of the experience.

So there's my review. A great show from a great band! And in case you are interested, Wilco is going to be on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

2.14.2008

What's Wrong With This?

Last night I had a dream that had something to do with the Virginia primaries. Mostly that just tells me that I've been watching too much Daily Show and Colbert Report because I dont really watch the news or follow politics at all. Last night was the first time this year that both shows had their writers back... in all honesty, I wasn't that impressed. First of all I was disappointed that the Colbert Report didn't do the Word of the Day segment. I thought that had been cut specifically due to lack of writers, but they didnt bring it back yesterday. Hopefully they will soon.

Speaking of these shows, I think last week one of them had this Stanford professor on. He was there to promote his book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. According to the author of the book his title comes from the story about how after God made man and told Lucifer to obey man, Lucifer stood up to God and showed him that man was not a perfect being and therefore should not be above him (the reason for tempting eve with the apple was to prove this). So according to this professor, in this Bible story, Lucifer was right to stand up to God and God was wrong to banish Lucifer just for not following what he says. The whole idea being that people shouldn't just blindly do what they are told to do, they should think about it and stand up for what is right and good. Then he went on to talk about a study he did at Stanford, and this is why I remember him. My college freshman psych teacher told us about this study... anyway, they took a group of good kids, and divided them so that some of the kids would be prisoners and the others would be the prison guards. The experiment was set to go for a while, at least a couple weeks, but they had to cut it short after only 5 days because the prison guards were becoming too abusive towards the prisoners to be able to continue it safely. Basically the guards got it in their head that they were better and could treat the prisoners (who were "lesser") anyway they wanted, despite the fact that no one had really done anything to deserve their role (being either the prisoner or guard). But it just shows how power can corrupt even good people. The professor also mentioned that very very few people will actually stop and think about what they are doing and stand up against what the think is wrong.

Which reminded me of another experiment my psych teacher told us about. This one took place in the 1950s or 60s. They set up the experiment like this: 2 people were involved. One person had to memorize a series of images or words, and the other person tested them to see how much they had rememberd. The person who was doing the testing was told to apply an electircal shock to the student whenever they got a question wrong. For each wrong question the voltage was increased slightly, but they were told that even at the highest limit, the voltage would not harm the other person. So as the experiment is going along the students are getting more questions wrong and therefore being electrocuted with a stronger dose and they start crying out that they are in pain and want to stop, but the people leading the experiment assure the tester that no harm will come to the student and all they are experiencing is minor discomfort. The truth of the experiment (which was revealed later on) was that the student was in on the whole thing, no real shock was being administered, but they were faking the pain they were in to see if any of the testers would actually stand up to the experimenters and stop it before they got to the end. But no one did. Every single tester went up to the highest voltage. Sometimes they would let the experimenters know that they didn't feel right about it, but they did it anyway.

So here are my thoughts on this: first of all, I hope that I would not fit into the norm for either of those experiments. I really hope that I have enough integrity to stand up for what I think is right and not just blindly follow what other people tell me is "ok." I think i've made decisions in life that support that. But I think religion is a tricky area when it comes to this type of thinking. How much are people just supposed to follow along with because "God says it's right?" (a person of religious authority could also be the one speaking on God's behalf...) And there are plenty of examples in history that show a big failing when this happens (the crusades come to mind). Really? is it ever ok to slaughter other people because they dont believe the same thing you do?

I think if we take religion out of it and just look at things in life from a moral perspective then we can see that it's good to do what's right for the sake of doing the right and good thing... not because someone else tells you to, and not because you are afraid of being punished (hell), or expecting a reward (heaven) for doing one thing or another. Right is Right and Might is just Might in my opinion (to allude back to my 10th grade Arthurian legend days... my english teacher would be so proud to know that I still remember that). But I think the idea that Might (authority) dictating what is Right to the masses often does just lead us into places I don't want to go.

Okay, enough of my rambling. I'm sure about 90% of that doesnt make sense, but I'm writing this post while I finish waiting for a cake to bake so I had a lot of time to kill. But now it's done so I'm going to wrap up.

2.13.2008

Icy Day Thoughts

Not too much has been going on lately. I had my baby shower a few weeks ago (click here for some pics). That was a lot of fun. Unfortunately we aren't quite ready for all the baby stuff to be in our house, so it's still all sitting in my mother-in-laws dining room. Matt plans on painting the baby's room this weekend, so I'm hoping that once that is done we'll be able to start moving baby stuff in.

As far as the pregnancy goes, everything is a-ok. I'm starting to have trouble sleeping though. It seems like I'm destined to wake up in the middle of the night for about 2 hours. And it's really hard to move around. Yesterday I spent about an hour and a half screwing a new shoe rack together. It probably wouldn't have taken that long if I were able to bend over and move around easier, but instead I had to sit on the floor and move the rack around me. My back was in agony by the time I was done, but I was determined to put it together myself.

Other thoughts... only a week and a half until we go up to Phillie to see Wilco. I'm really excited, and as far as I'm concerned, the baby is free to come any time AFTER we get back from that. I was so bummed that they didnt win the grammy for best rock album. I mean, the Foo Fighters album is ok (it won), but I think they've way overplayed it on the radio and I'm just sick of it. Speaking of the grammys, Matt and I watched most of it. Here are my thoughts:
  1. Someone should tell kanye west he's lost touch with reality... what was he wearing? and he acts like he owns the grammys or something... so whoever tells him he's lost touch with reality should also tell him that in about 5 years from now people will be saying "kanye who?" Maybe he'll get lucky and wont dwindle off for about 7 years, but in the grand scheme of things, I dont think his music will endure the way great music does. Also the same person should tell him that making good music should be about just that... not about winning a grammy.
  2. Personally, I enjoyed the classical performances. The Rhapsody in Blue duet really made me realize how much I miss going to concerts on a regular basis (like I was forced to when I was in school). The pianists were outstanding, and even though I'm not sure why they made it a duet (it's really just written for 1 pianist), it was fun to see the different techniques and styles the two had and I was glad that I knew enough to pick up on the subtleties (like they both had very different finger technique and attacked/release techniques). Also the duet by Josh Grobin and Andrea Bocelli was really pretty. It reminded me that I had planned to see an opera sometime before the baby is born, but unfortunately I just haven't been able to find one in the area that I'm willing to pay lots of money to see. I'm hoping next year's seasons will be better. Really I'm mostly looking for a good Puccini opera, it shouldnt be that hard to find.
  3. Amy Winehouse's reaction when she won her first Grammy was priceless. She really looked stunned. And it was great that she was surrounded by her band and family and able to celebrate it with them right away (since she was in London and being broadcast via satellite instead of in the grammy audience). It was way better than the lame acceptance speeches most people give.

1.30.2008

GH Post

Another reason to love General Hospital:

Sometimes if an actor's contract runs up and they dont renew it, instead of getting rid of the character, the show will just replace him/her with a new actor. When the new actor first appears, there's a voice over that says "The role of Carly will now be played by so-and-so." Sometimes they do this too when an actor is just on vacation, it's like having a sub. At first I'm always pissed off when they replace people, but eventually you get used to the new person. I imagine it does make things difficult when they want to do flashbacks, because they dont want to bounce around to all the different versions of one character, so it kinda limits how far back in time they can go.

But here is why I bring this up. Tomorrow they are adding a new character to the show. The thing is that the actress portraying the new character used to be the original Carly a LOOONG time ago. Now she's coming back, to play someone different, while another woman plays the current Carly. Seriously... where else do you get that kind of realism?

1.21.2008

Pizza Night

I went over to my parent's house for dinner tonight. My dad made home-made pizza, which he hasn't done in a really long time. When we were younger he used to make pizza every Sunday night. I think it began when he told my mom, after she had a surgery, that he would cook one dinner for every staple she got to close up the incisions... thinking there would only be a few. But then it turned out that there were tons (I dont know the exact number, but it's way more than you'd expect). So the Sunday Pizza night tradition was born.

So while we were all eating pizza we also watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. One of the women on Wheel of Fortune bothered me. She solved one puzzle when she only had $400 and there were plenty of letters left on the board. Then when she earned $10,000 and it was a prize puzzle (meaning they give a secret surprise to whoever wins the puzzle), she kept spinning even though she obviously knew the puzzle (since she was picking letters like "v") and there weren't very many letters left to pick anyway... and then surprise surprise... she spun one too many times and landed on Bankrupt. But I was confused as to why she solved one puzzle with only $400... and why she kept going with another puzzle when she had well over $10,000.

Jeopardy was awesome as always. My dad and I both got the final jeopardy... something along the lines of:
This land, named after an Italian, was only mentioned once by Shakespeare, in the play "Comedy of Errors." (it might actually be a different play than that)

The answer (or question really): What is America?

Only one of the contestants got it right, and she obviously guessed, since she was shaking her head before Alex said she had the right answer.

1.08.2008

Pregnancy Dreams

I was just reading up on Month 7 in the What to Expect When You're Expecting book and I came across a section about pregnancy related dreams. I found this interesting because I have definitely had some very odd pregnancy related dreams, and none of the other pregnant women I know seem to have them (okay, so I only know 2 other pregnant people).

Anyway... towards the beginning of the pregnancy I used to dream about tornadoes a lot. We would all be at home (me, matt, and the dog), and all of a sudden there would be a tornado warning, and I'd look out the window and I could see it coming. And Matt would be like "I dont know what to do" so I'd run through the house real quick and open all the windows (so the pressure change wouldnt cause them to explode-- I think I remember learning that the year I lived in Kansas and we had tornado drills at school), and then I would drag matt and the dog into the basement bathroom (because it's the closest thing we've got to an underground room and there are no windows in there.) And we'd sit it out. But the tornado would never get that close to our house. Sometimes it would destroy everything around us, but we always came out okay. But just because nothing too bad ever happened in the dream, dont think that it was pleasant for me. Dreaming of surviving natural disasters 2 or 3 times a week gets to be exhausting. Anyway, my interpretation: definitely had something to do with feeling out of control when I found out I was pregnant. But at the same time, also realizing that I would be able to handle the situation and come out ok in the end, even if I get a little scared along the way.

Next series of recurring dreams: These are a little more direct, and they arent exactly the same, but there are very strong similarities, so I'll just describe those. They usually start with me in the hospital right after I've had the baby. Usually there's a lot of "family" around (not really my family, but in the dream they are my family), and they are all excited about the baby, while I'm laying in the hospital bed trying to figure out what is going on. Then someone gives me the baby and, not surprisingly, it can talk (I say "it" because sometimes it's a girl and sometimes it's a boy). And usually it says something like "are you sure you know how to be a mom? because I can take care of myself you know." From there on, no matter what I do, the baby tells me I'm doing it wrong, makes me stop, and then takes over and does it on his own. A lot of times too I'll end up going somewhere and a little while later I'll realize that I dont have the baby with me and I can't remember where I last saw it. I dont think that one needs my help at interpreting. I just hope that particular dream stops... soon.

Random Musings

No rhyme or reason to anything in this post:

When I was singing in choirs (for church and school), I learned a bunch of things about language that I never really paid attention to before. For example, people have a naturally tendency to pronounce "want you" as "wan-chew." Which is a big no-no when singing. But now whenever I'm listening to the radio and I hear someone say "wan-chew" instead of making the effort to clearly annunciate, it totally stands out, and kinda bothers me. Another interesting choir-language observation concerns the word "the." I never realized before that sometimes people pronounce it like "thuh" especially before a word that starts with a consonant, and sometimes you pronounce it "thee," especially before a word beginning with a vowel. In choir that was pretty much the rule (totally unknown to me before), but I've started noticing it while people are speaking too. But if someone would have asked me how to pronounce "the" I would have only said the first way, I dont think "thee" would have ever crossed my mind.

Other language issues... one night the security guard at the library was working on his english skills (he's fluent for the most part, but still struggles with complex grammar... who doesnt?) So he asked us the difference between the words "have" and "had" and when it's appropriate to use them. In all honest, I have no idea. Here was the example he gave: They have shut the doors. They had shut the doors. This is why I could never master a foreign language.

Baby update... all seems to be healthy and good so far. Apparently I'm gaining more weight than I should be, but as long as the baby's doing fine, I think that's the important thing. He's started kicking a lot more now. I read that it's because he's started building fat which gives him more energy, making him more active. I feel kicks, jabs, and swirly sensations pretty much all day long now. I've also picked out and registered for all the baby stuff I think I'll need (which I'm sure is probably nothing like what I'll actually need), though that was a loooong process. First I had to find out what stuff babies need, then I researched all the products to see which were best, then I went to babys r us to see them in person and make sure it really was something I wanted. Hopefully I picked good, safe items. Next week Matt and I are cleaning out the future baby's room... I have no idea where all the stuff is going to go though. I have a feeling that having a baby is going to require that I get over my issues with clutter.

I think that's about it for now. I have to admit that I really enjoy not going to school. But it has been challenging try to find ways to be productive around the house, though I think I'm doing a good job. Cleaning out stuff, repairing stuff, getting ready for the baby... plenty to keep me busy, just doesnt really make for interesting blog posts.