Thursday, January 27, 2011

Couldn't sleep last night

I didn't sleep all that great last night, but I wasn't all that upset about it for some reason. I tossed and turned a little bit, got up several times during the night to use the bathroom, and after being up for about an hour, I wrote a few emails on my iPhone to a friend. It was some okay writing, so I thought I'd share my thoughts with my friend, with you. Nothing earth-shattering but I haven't been blogging much, maybe it's because of Facebook, and I wanted to prove that I have been writing something, even if it's just silly little emails.

Here are the highlights:

2:58 a.m.
Moony moon moon. What a gorgeous night.

We had a giant (really, really) raccoon in the backyard on Monday. He was fearless, snuffled his way all over the yard. Franny and Dora went nuts.

I can't sleep. Obviously.

Sent from my iPhone

3:28 a.m.
Dora just cruised by. She's such a little princess, in her teeny tiny kitty-cat high heeled shoes. She didn't stay long, I think she was checking on Patrick, making sure I'm treating him right. She lets me pet her more these days but he's her man.

Franny is no princess. She's a pest, a circus performer, a screen door climber, a giant stomach (we call her Sto-Match), babycat, a perfect small headed Magic Cat. She's the world's worst hunter of the cat kingdom, but so enthusiastic about it, you hate to point that out. I love her and hope she lives forever. Yesterday I was sitting in the baby's room, in my new chair, with her on my lap, and she was trying to eat my shirt buttons. I think she's a genius.

Pregnancy hormones right now have me all smoothed out. I'm pretty happy; I feel good about things. I worry that after the baby comes I'll get depressed or sad, which I know happens to people and is perfectly normal, and that I won't be a Good Mother, but even the worry has no sharp edges. Right now I feel great, and I see that continuing. I just wish I could sleep.

3:47 a.m.
Tonight I made Patrick rotate our mattress because somehow the giant mattress label was at the top of the bed, and I could feel it through the sheets, and it's been bugging me forever. But when I woke up about an hour ago I realized it's because now I'm sleeping on his side of the bed, upside down, and that's weird. And now I'm hungry.

There was a fast-food Mexican place in west LA on or around Olympic and Bundy in a minimall next to a 7-11 that I can't remember the name of that had the best taquitos. I want some now, with the fluffy guacamole they made, and sour cream, and a large Dr Pepper. I think that joint closed at least 5 years ago, probably way more. The French bistro on SM Blvd that me and Frederique used to go to closed. I just discovered that tonight. They had a yummy warm beet salad. And made terrific gin & tonics even though I had no idea what a good gin was (Frederique would choose for me. Usually Tanqueray, I think).

Well since I could do this forever I'd better try sleeping again. I wish you could hear Patrick snore. The light on my new clock radio can be completely turned off. That seems like an innovation clock radios could've made years ago.

At this point I guess I fell asleep. I slept hard, and for a long time - I didn't wake up until the phone rang, at around 10:45. I don't even remember waking up when Patrick went to work, and I always wake up when he goes to work, for my goodbye kiss and to tell him to have a good day and to not drive like a maniac. The phone call was from the repair people who are coming out to fix our refrigerator, which hasn't been staying cool. I've got a ton of yogurt going bad. They're not coming until tomorrow, so I need to clean the thing out, and I haven't been looking forward to it. And now, though I have eaten a banana, I need to get dressed and figure out what I'm going to have for lunch.

I have no cutesy closer for this post. Huh. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I haven't blogged in ages (a week?) and I thought I'd better check in before anybody thought I'd gone off and had my baby or something, because, nope, I'm still here at 38 weeks and some days.

I'm still feeling great.

I had a check up today, where the doctor did a quickie ultrasound to verify that little no-name (more on that in a second) was head down, as she suspected (he is). It was a trip to see him, all blown up and big now. He's practically real, isn't he.

So see, we thought we'd come up with a name, but it turns out that that name was one of (if not the) most popular name of 2010 (yep, you guessed it, unknowingly we'd chosen "Aidan"), so now we've turned back to the drawing board. Time's getting short, though, so we better figure this out. Soon.

The baby's room is mostly ready for him (he needs pictures on the walls and decorative items; it looks a little plain), we successfully installed the car seats in both cars (and had the Lakewood Sheriffs examine to make sure we did them right), my hospital bag is finally packed... so we're ready to go.

I've been off work for about a week and a half, and I have to admit: I love it. Loving it. Could not love it more. I haven't had such an extended amount of time off in forever, and though I know it will all come to an end when the baby comes and my new life begins, I'm really enjoying it as much as I can.

So. I'll keep you posted on what happens next.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Driving lesson of the day: merging*

When merging, one should remember the following simple rule:
The car in front, stays in front.
This means that if you and I are in a two lane on-ramp merging to one lane on the freeway, and the front of your car is ahead of mine, you win. I don't care what lane you're in. On the other hand, I'm in front of you? I win. If you speed up to pass me, and then you're suddenly thrust into the existing traffic on the freeway, and then have to slow down, and now I have to brake because you have a need to BEAT ME, that's suddenly a dangerous situation for everybody. Quit it. There are spaces for your car if you are courteous, watch the flow of traffic, and use your head.

Other important things to remember:
  1. Match your speed to the cars already on the freeway. They're the real winners; you're just some loser joining the party after the fact.
  2. Speeding up to pass me makes you an asshole. "Ooh, now you're in front, asshole," will be the thought in my mind. That extra 10 feet wasn't yours to begin with, but now that you're there, Ima let you keep it, since it clearly means more to you than me.
  3. You being an asshole doesn't change the way I drive. Knock yourself out.
  4. If you're already on the freeway (congratulations! you're a winner!), stay out of the far right lane unless you're getting off or otherwise have a real need to be there. You make merging that much harder for the losers trying to get on the road, and you're just in the way. Get over. Pay attention.
Last but not least:

Use your turn signal for every lane change and every time you turn. If you're pointing your car at me, I need to know about it. And then, just like you turn off the light when you leave the room (should turning on or off a light in a room ever be a matter of life or death), turn it off when you're done.

Drive safe!

*I possess no qualifications for writing this piece except that I love to drive, and I do it a lot. I've never been in a major accident. I put over 18,000 miles a year on my car, and I do it all armed only with an 80 GB iPod Classic (black). Also, my brother-in-law works for Cal-Trans (<-- not a qualification, but I just thought I'd throw that in).

P.S. Today's post was inspired by Cheap Trick's album "Dream Police," which I started listening to last night on my way to my breastfeeding class, but finished this morning on the drive in to work. "I Know What I Want" is pure, no. 1 driving music perfection. Try it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Re-reading a book

I first bought and read this book about 18 years ago. I remember picking it up from the tiny Parenting section we had at the Crown Books in the Culver Center, and standing there for about 2 hours straight, reading it. Maybe I didn't read it all in one sitting (or standing) but that's what I remember.

It was the first Anne Lamott book I'd ever read... I'm not sure what drew me to it, but whatever it was (the cute little baby on the cover, maybe!), I really enjoyed it. I think she wrote it before her full-on conversion to Christianity, though I'm not sure if she was still an alcoholic at the time. Anne Lamott has a voice that I really admire and that has always made me laugh and think. When I found out all those months ago that I was pregnant, one of the first thoughts I had was to re-read this book, but for whatever reason, I put it off. This book is about her experiences with her son Sam, and she makes having a little baby boy feel very real and terrifying, and doable, in a crazy way.

Tonight I finally resolved to get to reading. Or I should say, re-reading.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm ready for my tesseract now, please.

I know I've got a reputation as a chronically late person, so it may surprise you to learn that I am capable of (and indeed, compelled to) keeping track on a mile-by-mile basis of the minutes required to complete my commute every morning.

It's about a 20 mile drive from my home to work, and so herein starts the (often incorrect, it should go without saying) calculations. You might think, if you live anywhere other than Los Angeles, that a 20 mile drive, most of which is conducted on the so-called "freeway," would take anywhere from 20-25 minutes. I mean, 60+ miles per hour seems like a reasonable speed, especially at 5:30 in the morning, right?

Duh. You would be wrong. Dead wrong. And I would be late, which I am, almost every day.

(Even Google maps says this is a 30-50 minute drive, so clearly I am delusional in my insistence that this drive should take 20 minutes. CLEARLY.)

For one thing, the first 1/2 mile of my commute through my neighborhood requires me to either drive out of my way down my own street to make a somewhat illegal left turn across four lanes (four usually empty lanes, but in the rain and/or fog we've been having, to say nothing of the blackness of the mornings and the death wishes of some of my neighbors, those four lanes are treacherous) or to wait three minutes for a light to turn green. On my schedule, three minutes is a lifetime. This light likes to mess with me, sometimes almost about to turn... and then at the last minute, it changes it's mind and stays red. If you watch the opposite traffic signal, or the "walk" sign, you will see it blink, blink, blink, turn solid, even the street light itself turns yellow, as if to say, hey, cross traffic, slow down, this little lady wants to - nope, staying red for two more minutes, sorry. I've been tempted to run that red light when I'm particularly late and the morning is particularly solitary, but no, I would never do anything quite so irresponsible. Oh no. Not me.

After that, I'm finally on the freeway about 3 miles later, and that particular freeway has a surprising reputation, at 5:30 in the morning, of being pretty free flowing (if there's traffic here and I've left later than usual, it's at this point when I start thinking about calling in late to work). I spend the next 7 or 8 miles speeding along at a nice clip, watching the clock the whole time, knowing that at this pace, I could be at work in... 15 minutes? (My lack of math skills being well-known by now, I'm sure, so bear with me.)

It all sounds doable, and thinking positive is certainly a skill needed for navigating the roads of Los Angeles (and avoiding road rage and/or high blood pressure), and so for a few moments, until I come to the connector from that freeway to the next, I'm pretty confident and emotionally prepared to be on time (being on time requires advanced planning just as being late does) - driving in freeflowing traffic will do that to a person. But then - the connector. That blasted connector. It goes around and then under the freeway you just left (and there's a big white bird-like image painted on the underside of that freeway; I haven't had any luck finding out what that's all about, so if you know, email me, because I've been curious for about 3 years), and there's nice green foliage/weeds on either side, which you have plenty of time to observe, because most of the time, you're going nowhere fast. The next freeway is older and narrower and more heavily traveled and the merging skills of some of the other drivers on the road leave much to be desired, so it could take awhile to finally be moving along with the rest of the world.

These past few weeks, when my fellow commuters have obviously taken some time off, changing from one freeway to another has been a breeze, a delight, an exercise in making a smooth steady left turn to the left (what, you think you can make a smooth steady left turn to the right? What are you? High?), changing directions from mostly north to slightly more north, and west, but on normal early mornings, sitting on this interchange or whatever the dudes at CalTrans would call it, which is, I'm sure, less than half a mile in length, becomes the point when all my careful calculations, my plotted speed, my joyous inner voice whispering "I'm going to be on time!" become "Oh, shit, I'm totally late."

And now the mathematics begin running backward, in that way that it does for those of us who read "A Wrinkle in Time" and only pretended to understand the science behind it all (or I should say, pretended to pretend, as that book, and everything in it, including the famous tesseract, is totally fiction). Now my countdown changes from, "I have 8 miles to go, and 12 minutes to get there," which is a positive, to "If I can continue at this speed [usually 35 miles an hour once I've merged onto the new freeway] I will only be 10 minutes late, but if I can speed up to 60 in the next 3 miles..." to "I will be on time to work if I can get this baby up to 120 miles per hour."

You should know: I drive a 6 year old, four-door, 4 cylinder Honda Accord. I believe the speedometer goes up to 120, but I've never taken it past 90 (or was it 95?), so at this point, that 120 miles per hour is all theoretical. Anyway, the amount of road necessary for that manuever would be wasted. And now I'm all, "Okay, I'll only be... five minutes late..." "I'm only 8 minutes late..." And there starts another typical weekday morning. This is my routine four days a week, pretty much every morning. The drive home is another story, and usually takes longer.

However, on a personal note, I only have 6 more days of work until I'm off on maternity leave, and as long as the baby doesn't come early, doesn't come while I'm on the road, or at work, I'm pretty excited about that (the hospital is almost exactly at the mid-point between home and work, but I've read that driving while having contractions is a bad idea, go figure). Also, it would be so lovely to sleep past 7 for like 10 days in a row.

Because I know when those days are up, and our little baby comes to stay, we won't be getting any extra sleep at all. And I'd like to stock up while I can.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I think Oprah stole my haircut. Or am I wearing a wig?

Granted, I could spend a little more time on my hair to get it this shiny and under control, and also, I think I had this haircut originally in 1984 and hey, I don't look this good in orange, and to tell you the truth, I really hate Oprah most of the time - but this is my haircut. Somebody at the Aveda salon in Long Beach must like Oprah because this is the exact haircut I had last, and while I kind of like it most of the time, I've made a personal committment not to get any more haircuts until all these crazy layers grow out.

Reality shows: drug rehab

I have no idea who this woman is.
I did a Google Image search for
Frankie Lons, and while this sort of looks like the
woman on Celebrity Rehab,
how would I know if it wasn't?
There's an article in the LA Times about Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew on VH1, and Intervention, on A&E (click on the title of today's post and you'll go to the article). It's not a great article (What! the LA Times wrote a superficial article?), but it reminded me that I've been annoyed by these shows a lot lately. Not so much Intervention; my only complaint with that show is that I'm usually watching the last three minutes wondering how they're going to fit everything in (and yet they always do). I have no business commenting on addiction or recovery, but I watched "Celebrity Rehab" this weekend, and saw an interaction between Shelly Sprague, one of the people on staff at the recovery center, and one of the so-called celebrities that really bugged me.

The "celebrity" in question was Frankie Lons, who is always referred to as the mother of somebody apparently more famous than she is (but I've never heard of either of them). The celebrities were having lunch at Tender Greens with Bob Forrest and Shelly in Hollywood, where they had been taken, apparently in an attempt to intermingle with real-world temptations (not at Tender Greens; I'm talking about being in Hollywood. I recently went to Tender Greens in Culver City and I think I fell in love. I'm ready to go back. So for me, showing the celebrities at Tender Greens was a trigger. Oh, those tricksy rehab people!). One of the actual celebrities, Leif Garrett, did have the reaction I think Bob was expecting, and he tried to, I don't know, order a beer or walk out. That was sort of underplayed so that the following could be focused on:

While they were eating lunch, Frankie wanted to know why she couldn't have a non-alcholic beer, and instead of answering the question, Shelly got confrontational with her and responded "That's a question only an addict would ask."

Maybe so, Shelly, but why don't you also explain it to her instead of just being sarcastic and dismissive? Maybe Frankie doesn't understand that there actually is alcohol in so-called "near-beer"? Maybe she still doesn't understand her addiction or what her reaction to near-beer would be? Maybe there's a better answer, like explaining why it's a bad idea or why you think that's a straight up dumb question? I don't know if there was a deeper conversation off-camera, but what was shown was antagonistic instead of helpful.

The show has been getting on my nerves not only because I think the experts are terrible listeners or because I question the celebrity status of people like Frankie Lons or Rachel Uchitel (or Jason Davis, or that guy who was on TV a long time ago, or that other guy named Jason), but because I wonder how much help these people are actually getting, which makes the whole thing feel like a waste of time. Seeing the story of that guy Jason Davis isn't helping anybody, and neither is Rachel Uchitel, who suffers from "love addiction" (also, apparently she has a degree in psychology, which proves a point I'm not going to make right now). These are just people who want to be on television. I truly believe that.

Drew has been annoying me for years on Loveline, where he's often super impatient to the slow-ass kids who call in (it's true that some of those kids need help forming a sentence, but Drew's on-air persona has become cranky and mean; his own perceived "celebrity-dom" seems to affect his ability to actually talk to people in a non-condescending manner). He brings some of that confrontational style to this show, and while I think these adults should be able to handle it, so many of them are stunted and helpless in a way that's sad and a little disgusting that I think his attempts to get smart with them backfire because they're too stupid to get it.

So there you go. Rather than attempting to write a closing paragraph that's clever and insightful, I'm just going to end this post abruptly and by calling the hapless celebrities on "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" stupid. I feel great about that decision.