Thursday, June 30, 2011


I take an organic supplement called "More Milk Special Blend" to help with my milk supply (my lactation consultant started me on this, as well as fenugreek [which I get from GNC]; it seems to be working), which I get from a company called Motherlove. I also use their diaper rash/thrush balm on the baby when his rash gets bad (he's all clear right now!), and today I just started using one of their products called "green salve." It's to help with itchiness and skin irritations. I want to either stop using or use less hydrocortisone cream on my itchy skin. The other day I was desperate for some relief and I used the prescription strength hydrocortisone I have (I only use the non-prescription strength occasionally). Instantly I felt better, but I also instantly felt guilty - like a lot of medications, this one apparently hasn't been studied enough for there to be conclusive evidence either way about its effect on lactating women and babies, so the package instructions and most everything on the web says not to use it. However, my eczema is screaming right now and I have it in a weird (for me) place - all over my arms. Usually it's in small places, like the inside of my elbow, or on my hands. But now I have it on my neck, my arms, and my legs, and it's driving me crazy. I'm trying to stay moisturized, too, but man, nothing was helping until I used the 2.5% hydrocortisone.

I don't want to repeat that application, though, so I contacted Motherlove to see what they had to say on the subject. The woman who helped me (my order got complicated) said that some people with eczema are helped by their green salve, so I added some to my order to give it a try. Today's the first day I'm using it. I only put it on my arms (my left arm, for some reason, is more irritated than the right) and neck. I'm wearing nice pants today and I didn't want to get it on my legs.

The ingredients are extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, comfrey, plantain, marshmallow root, and calendula. It seems to be helping, though maybe I was too generous on the left arm, because it doesn't seem to have absorbed into my skin as well as on the other arm. I also put a tiny amount on that stupid red spot I always get over my upper lip. I still have the red spots but the skin doesn't look as irritated or raised, and I'm definitely not itching anymore. On the other hand, it smells a little funky (I guess it's an olive oil smell), but I suppose I can live with it.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my new doctor for a physical, and I intend to ask him about my skin problems, but I doubt very much he will have anything "organic" or non-medicinal to recommend. But we'll see. Maybe this stuff will clear everything up by then!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I love this story

Drunken Ohio Woman Accused of Spraying Deputies With Breast Milk

Read more:
Some people really know how to have a good time.

40 things

I feel like answering questions, so let's go!
1. Do you like bleu cheese?
Yes! I didn't like it for years, though. I'm starting to love it, and don't get to eat it often enough. Why is that, I wonder? Why would I think anybody cares?

2. Have you ever smoked?
Unfortunately, yes. I did it off and on when I was a teenager, then full-on as a young twenty-something because my boyfriend/ex-fiance did, finally quit forever when I was about 30 because instead of making me feel "cool," smoking made me feel "sick." Also, I could let it go easily enough, but Patrick was a more hardcore smoker, and I knew if I kept doing it, even a little, he would never quit. Thankfully, eventually, we both did. I did sort of like the ritual of it, and the smell of the (unlit) cigarette paper on my hands, but I don't miss it at all.

3. Do you own a gun?
Nope. I do, however, own a piccolo.

4. Favorite type of Food?
Good food, man. Good food. Not the kind of food that has a capital F, however (?).

5. Favorite type of music?
See no. 4. I played a lot of Jackson 5 for the baby this weekend, and also found myself humming Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" to him while I changed his diaper, and we listened to some Talking Heads while driving to the mall, and I practiced Mozart and Schubert on Sunday, but there's no specific "type" that is my favorite.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
I think hot dogs are best enjoyed infrequently. And then with lots of relish and mustard. And toast my bun, please.

7. Favorite Christmas movie?
Umm. None.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
It used to be a Diet Coke (in a can ONLY) but I've given that up. Now I drink water. I know. How prison-y of me.

9. Can you do push ups?
Hell no, I can't do push ups, you crazy person.

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
My wedding ring, my Swiss Army watch, my "mom" necklace, my diamond necklace, my cheap-ass Banana Republic earrings.

11. Favorite hobby?
Fluting, reading, working on shows at City Garage.

12. Do you have ADD?
I don't think so?

13. Do you wear glasses/contacts?
Yes, have since I was just a little tiny girl with huge gigantic eyeglasses.

14. Middle name?
It was Laura, now it's my maiden name.

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment:
I need to finish my water, I need to refill the pillbox in my purse with acidophilous and fenugreek, I need to remember to get one of my brake lights fixed.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink:
Water, Diet Coke, root beer

17. Current worry?
Not getting home before Ex gets hungry; not finding time to practice at least once more before Thursday.

18. Current hate right now?
Traffic. Jaywalkers. Kids riding their bikes without helmets on. The 3:30 a.m. arrival/departure of my neighbor on his Harley. Feeling so tired.

19. Favorite place to be?
In bed.

20. How did you bring in the new year?
I was 9 months pregnant. I think I stayed awake but I can't really recall.

21. Someplace you’d like to go?

22. Name three people who will complete this.
Eh, I never pass these on. If you want to do it yourself, let me know.

23. Do you own slippers?
I had a pair from when I was pregnant, when I for some reason grew attached to them. I wore them all through my maternity leave, and then one day I took a really good look at them, and they suddenly grossed me out so I threw them away. I haven't replaced them yet.

24. What color shirt are you wearing?
Black, with a gray tank underneath. Happy summer!

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
Who knows? I've never tried. I like my cotton sheets.

26. Can you whistle?
Nope. But I can play the flute and piccolo. Can you?

27. Where are you now?
In my head.

28. Would you be a pirate?

29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
A few examples: Elton John (Daniel, Levon, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), David Bowie (Space Oddity, Changes, Under Pressure), Styx (Babe, Mr. Roboto, Blue Collar Man), Captain Beefheart (The Spotlight Kid, Too Much Time, When I See Mommy I Feel Like a Mummy), Beatles (Don't Let Me Down, I'm a Loser), George Harrison (My Sweet Lord), Cat Stevens (Katmandu)... and many, many more. Don't even think I know the lyrics to all these songs: I mostly make 'em up.

30. Favorite Girl’s Name?
That's hard. I like old-fashioned names like "Frances." There are others, I just can't think of any.

31. Favorite boy’s name?
Patrick, Robert, Andrew

32. What is in your pocket right now?
Nothing. Sorry, Bilbo.

33. Last thing that made you laugh?
My cute baby, who opens up his eyes in the morning, finds me staring at him, and smiles. Sweetie boy!

34. What vehicle do you drive?
A 2004 Honda Accord. It has 115,000+ miles on it, needs a new brake light, an oil change, and possibly to have its tires balanced and rotated. Definitely the tires need air.

35. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
Stupid breast abscess!!!!!!

36. Do you love where you live?
I like very much where I live. I'd like it more if it were shadier, larger, and with a remodeled bathroom.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
1 very large flat screen in the living room. There's a tiny TV in the garage, but I don't think it works.

38. How many computers do you have in your house?
Patrick has two laptops, a PC attached to the TV, and I have a laptop. We both have smartphones. And there's a least two computers in the garage, but I think only one is in use (Patrick's music computer).

39. If you changed your job, what would it be?
Stay at home mom for awhile, bookstore employee.

40. If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
A college fund for the baby, yearly vacations to someplace awesome for the family, and I can't think of a third one right now.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hormones, flutes, kingsize beds, and dream, dream, dream.

I won't bore you with details but I have been having the strangest dreams ever lately. I'm assuming it's a result of not being pregnant anymore (awkward sentence, this!), and not a sign of insanity. I had weird dreams while I was pregnant, too (example, here).
  • Last night I dreamed that I had to swim down a big canal of water. It had some power lines in it, and I was scared about having to swim past them, and then I reminded myself that if they were live, I would've been dead. I swam past them without getting electrocuted. 
  • Last week I dreamed that Alex, my friend from work, had stolen Tom Cruise's car, a silver BMW that was all tricked out and sporty.
  • A couple of weeks ago, I dreamed that I was in a TV show starring Rob Lowe, and I played his chauffeur/wife. Rob was a weapons designer (not at all like Tony Stark) and on the run from some bad guys.
  • Last night (or maybe it was the night before; no, 21 robbers did not come knocking on my door) I dreamed that I was the secretary to the President of the United States, and she and I were boarding a plane (Air Force One?), and the fact that the president of the U.S. was female was so normal that I was free to notice that she had a bad-ass black leather handbag and I was wearing a pair of killer pointy-toed pumps.
  • One night on the weekend I dreamed that my teeth were all rotten and gross.
  • Since having the baby, I've had the Bookstore Dream at least twice.
  • When we first brought him home (i.e., before I decided that it was OK to let him sleep with us), I would have the strangest sensation, after I'd gotten up to feed him and put him back in his crib, that he was somewhere under all the blankets. More than once I woke up completely panicked that I'd squashed him, when all the time he was safe in his Moses basket.
In addition to the crazy dreams (there are more! and I know I didn't give many details here, but these dreams are vivid, exciting, and very, very real), my darn hair is falling out. I've done enough Internet reading to know that this is normal, but seeing just how much is falling out is alarming me. Not clumps - huge swaths of hair (when it first started, I asked my doctor about it, and she sort of murmured, "I've heard that can happen." Needless to say, I found a new doctor. I've heard that can happen!? I liked that she was able to get me into the breast clinic in a heartbeat when I was having trouble, but I really didn't like that response)! They clog up the bathtub drain, collect in mats on the floor, and stick to the baby's clothes and hands. I am constantly picking hairs off of him, and since he's discovered that pulling mommy's hair is just as much fun as pulling daddy's beard (more so, because I think those beard hairs are more securely attached), it's a never-ending activity. Picking hairs off the baby. My hairs. After awhile I get grossed out. Luckily, I don't think he minds a bit.

The other thing is, I'm having a major eczema attack! It's horrible! I have prescription strength cortisone cream but I am really hesitant to use it while I'm breastfeeding. It's on my arms, a new location (yay?) and oh, man! Itch, itch, itch. Pick up hairs, pick up hairs, pick up hairs. Dream, dream, dream! Somebody told me that your body doesn't go back to normal, hormone-wise, for a year, after having a baby. A year! Is that true? I don't want to have to wait a year to normalize! Anyway, in the meantime, I am moisturizing like crazy.

Cool news: this weekend we bought a king-size bed! I'm so excited. I have to buy new sheets and a comforter before it's delivered. Hopefully I'll have time on Friday. And hopefully the bed doesn't come before then.

I don't think I've mentioned it here (Facebook is sucking away all my time I used to spend blogging), but last week I was asked if I could sub for a flutist in the flute choir who can't make it to this week's concert. I haven't played my flute in six months! I worked it out with Patrick, freaked out about leaving the baby all night (I don't usually get home from Culver City on flute choir nights until about 10:15), and got out my flute and played some scales and long tones (and JP didn't cry or fuss; in fact, he went to sleep). I went to the dress rehearsal on Thursday and it went pretty well. They're playing some hard music this quarter! The rehearsal was fun - I was able to concentrate and mostly kept up. I'm playing piccolo on one piece that's gorgeous, and on another (Mozart; I forget the title, I'll have to tell you later), there's a huge section of double tonguing that I may not get in time. I hate double tonguing. Luckily my stand partner has worked it all out and she can play it. I just might let her go for it and instead count my way until the next doable part. I don't usually chicken out like that but come on, a week? Did I mention that piece is in 1? It's tough!

Yesterday I let the baby play on the floor with his blocks while I got in a good 45 minutes of practicing. It might be the only practicing I get to do, so luckily he was very happy rolling around, playing with the little piece of cardboard that was in the box the blocks came in. He's such a good baby. As long as I rememeber to count and can stay in tune with everyone, it should work out just fine for the concert. Patrick's going to bring him to see mommy play but I doubt he figures out what's going on. Still. I'm excited to be playing again.

I think the music on the stand is flute 2 of the Schubert.
If flute 2 is that hard, I shudder to think what flute 1 is like!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

So tired!

I think I was warned that this would happen but I didn't really believe it.

I have never been so tired in my entire life.

My allergies are acting up, and my doctor said I could take ceterizine (generic for Zyrtec) in the evenings if I needed extra help (she also said it's okay to take while breastfeeding; though the manufacturer doesn't recommend it). However, she warned me that it would make me sleepy.

I'm not taking it. I'm not crazy - if I get any sleepier I'll be incapacitated. Comatose.

Example: this morning I went to pump. My work has made this really easy for me, and I'm lucky because it's been a good experience (so many people told me about their struggles with pumping at work, which leads to the horror of issues with milk production, but so far it's been fine for me). There's a little lounge adjacent to the ladies' room that I usually use, but sometimes it's not available (someone might be in there taking a nap!). When that happens, the section manager next door to my office allows me to use his conference room. The conference room is bigger than the lounge (and my cell phone works in there so I can read something) but I like going to the lounge better because his room doesn't have a sink (so I have to go wash my hands, then come all the way back...). Anyway, I was in the conference room this morning, getting all set up. Turned the pump on. A couple of minutes (maybe 1.5 minutes!) went by and I realized that I had forgotten to screw the bottles on.

I basically pumped a tiny amount of milk onto my pants.

Stupid. Luckily it dried quickly and didn't stain (don't think breastmilk doesn't stain: it totally does).

Before I had to go back to work, it was easy to get my housework done, and I could function a little better on the amount of sleep I've been getting. But now that I have to be at work at 7 and awake (not just awake! Functional!) all day, it's a lot harder. I still want to keep the house clean and get the laundry done but that stuff is less important than making sure there are enough clean bottles for the baby and that I get in some time "face jamming" with him.

During the week, I've been doing my best to drink enough water, eat enough, go to sleep as soon as the baby does... but dude. I am TIRED. And I've been having the craziest dreams, maybe because I don't get to sleep longer than 4 hours? Seriously, bizarre dreams! And there have been famous people in them - Rob Lowe, Goldie Hawn, that tall goofy guy on "How I Met Your Mother." Strangeness!

Everyone keeps asking me if the baby is sleeping through the night. Nope. He falls asleep around 8:30 p.m., and will sleep until 12:30 or 1:30. Then he wakes up to eat, but he eats just "half"... because he falls back asleep (and so do I). After that he's up again a couple of hours later... and then again, a couple of hours later. By that time it's time to get up for work.

I've been reading about sleeping through the night, though, and I'm not concerned that he doesn't. It would be nice to be able to nap during the day when I'm at work but with my pumping schedule there's no time (it would also be nice to take a walk! but again, there's no time). Anyway, I would miss waking up with him and having those moments with him to feed him.

I'm glad I have a short week: by the time it's Thursday, I'm so ready for Friday, when I get him all to myself.

I've got it all planned: we're going to sleep as much as possible. And maybe do some laundry.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Photo by Dana John Hill. Taken from Wikipedia.
I've been thinking a lot about Japan lately. Maybe it's because of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear breakdown that happened earlier this year. It could be - that all happened right when I had a newborn baby and though I was busy and tired, I also had a lot of time to think and listen to the news (he's a very hungry boy). Maybe it's because I want a Japanese Magnolia tree like the one in my parents' front yard. Maybe it's because during the week I was off before I had the baby, I re-read "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami. Maybe having a tiny helpless baby in my care made me more open to the stories of people suffering. Maybe it's because while I was off on maternity leave, that show about geishas was on TV. I ate the last bowl of popcorn (a former favorite food that I now have no interest in whatsoever) since having the baby while watching it. Maybe it's because I've fallen in love with that woman Venetia and her show on PBS (we watched it again this weekend). I become so relaxed watching her, I don't know, make a tea cozy or arrange flowers. She's so deliberate and skilled at everything she does. It's like when Mister Rogers went to the crayon factory. She hypnotizes me.

Last week I got out my old copy of "Hiroshima" by John Hersey and started re-reading it while the baby was taking a nap. I think when I first read the book, as a teenager, I wasn't really paying attention. It's easy to focus on the people who survived and to allow the people who didn't, to slip past unnoticed. And, I'm not always a careful reader.

There's an excellent scholarly report on the publication of Hersey's book and the New Yorker magazine (which originally published the book as an article) here. I really enjoyed reading it.

There may be a way to link the bombing of Hiroshima (and Nagasaki) thematically with the earthquake/tsunami but I'm not a good enough writer or someone who has had enough sleep recently to do it. Even with enough sleep I doubt I could do it. I'm just thinking with my fingers, here. Tap, tap, tap, on the keyboard.

Tap. Tap.


"It's like being the one guy smiling right at the camera in the photograph of the crew of the Enola Gay."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Best quote of the day:

“Will these Democrats return their scandal-tainted Weiner money today?” asked Paul Lindsey, a spokesman for the Republican campaign committee.

Because, not to be crude or anything, but I now I kind of want some scandal-tainted Weiner money, too.

Read the article here:

Question: Is there a true non-partisan committee investigating political scandal?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Disgusted. I am.

That Weiner guy is a d--k! I'll just say this: you can cry all you want, genius, you're still a dumbass.

I give that marriage 6 months.

I guess not all politicians are assholes but wow it sure seems like it. This kind of attention must be what they WANT, otherwise they would do something else.

See: John Edwards, et al.

  • Yes, everybody has flaws.
  • No, not everybody sends photos of their junk to strangers.
  • (Or do they? Thank God I'm not on THAT mailing list!)

Grow up, dude(s).

I'm sleepy and my eyes are red and wet from allergies.

I’m playing catch-up (ketchup*!) with my boss's secretary regarding a change my department made while I was out on maternity leave and Oh My God does she make it complicated. I asked her if it was possible to go to makeup training and instead she gave me a copy of the PowerPoint they got at the training I missed, and is attempting to tell me the web address for logging on to the new system. She has given me about 900 different ways of accessing the website AND NOT ONE OF THEM WORKS.

I am, how do you say, FRUSTRATED.

In other news: it's a beautiful day, I have accomplished many things today at work in spite of feeling like a zombie, I treated myself to a whole foot long Subway sandwich instead of just a 6" and wow was that a satisfying meal, I was on time to work, I had a weird dream last night that my sister was going to marry an ex-boyfriend I had a long time ago (a situation I don't think she would be happy about in real life), a woman at work told me I look great for having a 4-month old baby, my Snug Fit Pillow still hasn't come nor have I received a "your Snug Tuck Pillow has shipped" email and I'm starting to get pissed (if you SAY ON YOUR WEBSITE that orders take so long, than you should HONOR THAT STATEMENT or CHANGE IT), I am a proud mama who has pumped 15 oz. of milk so far today with one more session to go (that's one extra ounce per bottle; I usually only get 3-4 oz. at a time), I quoted Queen in a comment on my own blog (see the last posting) and now I can't get that song out of my head (I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike!).

Today's bit of randomness: I want some roasted chicken.

*Who says this? Why do I now say it? Where did it come from? Why does it make me so happy? It's like "what's up / chickenbutt!", which some of my friends say and for some reason makes us all giddy like a room full of 9 year olds.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An overview of my experiences with nursing bras, breast pumps, and that kind of thing.

Note my replacement key chain!
I've been back to work for about 5 weeks now (though I was out sick last week), and I've been using my Medela Pump in Style Advanced pump for about 8 weeks (I started early to get used to it, and because the baby started daycare a couple of weeks before I came back to work). While I have no other pump experiences and thus no other pumps to compare this one to, I can say that using it has been simple and convenient. I've had a lot of success pumping milk for the baby, and so I have no complaints, really. I got the one that's a little backpack; it was the only one they had in stock when I purchased it, but it's probably the one I would've chosen anyway. I like it.

I do have a couple of suggestions for Medela (as if they're reading this!):

It would be nice if the backpack was slightly larger and could accommodate the pump parts a little better. Sometimes fitting them in requires a bit of jigsawing and planning ahead. Also, I like to bring along a small hand towel and there's really no place to put it. Medela might look into coordinating a towel of their own into the design - a small black towel, with their pretty light yellow logo in a corner? They could charge more, and I wouldn't have to figure out the towel business on my own. It could fit in one of the side pockets, maybe.

Also, the pump itself, located in the bottom portion of the backpack, is set back a little too far. There's about an inch of space that could've been utilized better by bringing the face of the pump forward a little.

And, this is unrelated to the actual pump but instead to the bottles themselves: I had the misfortune of dropping a full bottle (with a cap screwed on tightly). I knew this nightmare would occur someday, so I did not cry when almost all my hard-earned milk wound up on the kitchen floor. I was pretty pissed off that the lid stayed screwed on but actually broke - the inner portion of the lid popped out in a perfect circle. I don't sterilize my bottles all the time (I use the microwave bags about once every two weeks; since my baby wasn't premature or have health issues, very, very hot, soapy water is my preferred method of cleaning them) so I'm sure it wasn't a case of having been weakened through some kind of overexposure to heat. I ended up losing about 3 ounces of milk, and for those of you who don't know firsthand, 3 ounces is pretty much a whole feeding's worth. That stuff is valuable, and every ounce counts. If this had happened earlier in my pumping experience, I would've been inconsolable. I'm not sure if I had a defective bottle cap or what, but now I am even more careful with the bottles, even if I know the caps are screwed on tightly.

Finally - I'm not sure if mine was just not sewn properly or if I've been handling it roughly, but one of the little tags on one of the zippers came off completely yesterday. This is no big deal, I simply replaced it with a little key chain my boss brought me back from a recent trip she took to Hawaii, but I thought I should mention it.

Before I had the baby, I bought a nursing bra from one of those Motherhood stores that are in the mall, and though it was less than $20, I wish I had waited. It was ugly, uncomfortable, and didn't fit well. Cheap, so I guess I got what I paid for (I have since donated it to the Salvation Army). Afterwards, I went a little crazy and purchased 3 Medela softcup nursing bras. I really like them - they're comfortable and kind of pretty. I also bought one with an underwire that I don't like quite as much - it gives me a bit more of a va-va voom shape than I'm comfortable with. I also bought their "comfort" nursing bra, which I love but only wear at home (not to work) because it makes me look a little bit like I'm wearing a sports bra - not quite as sausage-y as sports bras usually are. I don't like how it looks as much as it feels (super comfy, nice fabric, easy to use). As an extra, I purchased the funny little camisole/bustier thing that's supposed to make the whole pumping at work business "hands-free" with the idea that my supervisor might be able to find me a private cubicle (i.e., one with a door that locks, and a PC) so that I could do some work while pumping. It was a good idea, but unfortunately it didn't pan out. I use the bustier thing only occasionally - if I have something I want to read, for instance. It's a nice product, but it didn't end up working out for me. Oh, and I also bought a sleep bra, which is really a simple, comfortable, well-designed bra, but not something I really needed. Like I said: I went a little crazy.

I found out yesterday that Medela bought the Bravado line of nursing bras, and talk about pretty! If I needed more I would get one of theirs but I really don't. Their bras cost more than the Medela bras, but I do think they're prettier. They look more like regular bras.

The baby is now 4 months old, which means I've almost made it to my goal of breastfeeding for 6 months! I'm really proud of myself for sticking it out. It hasn't been easy but I think it's definitely worth it. Once we hit the 6 month goal, I'll see how I feel about continuing. A whole year for him would be, I think, totally beneficial to his development and health, so yes, that's the next goal, but we'll just have to see how it goes. I don't want to get ahead of myself.