Didn’t run. Ate three brownie bites. Yum.
Monthly Archives: April 2009
Didn’t feel like jogging this morning, but felt good once I got going. The (somewhat) cooler weather helped. Really craving a giant fluffy muffin right now. Trying to resist.
Shea and I did a beach day yesterday, but my camera battery seems to have permanently died, so I can’t upload the pix until I order a new one.
3 p.m. UPDATE: Broke down and got the muffin.
Okay, so not a regular don’t-eat-carbs-to-lose-weight kind of diet because I’m pregnant and need to gain weight, but I need to gain it a lot slower than I have been lately. I eat constantly and don’t restrict anything, including honey-coated almonds, chocolate, almond croissants, ice cream, cookies, cake, etc. And, like with my first pregnancy, I’m gaining weight way too rapidly. (I’m supposed to have gained 10-15 lbs by now, and I’ve gained 21). So today I went on a diet, which means I’m still eating as much as I want, but trying to cut out most sweets and exercise more. I ran four times last week, but then stagnated during my three-day work weekend (Sat-Mon) and used the heat as an excuse not to exercise, and I weighed in four pounds heavier on Monday. I’m supposed to gain a pound a week, not EIGHT. So this morning I got up and ran before it got too hot (although it was already pretty hot at 8:30 a.m.), and tonight I managed to watch Martin scarf down a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s and then eat an apple instead. It was torture, but I got through it. No sweets at all today, although I did eat two huge plates of chicken pesto pasta for dinner. Yay (?)
Suddenly this week, it’s, “Mama mama mama” all day long. When Martin takes care of Shea while I’m working, Shea comes to the office and bangs on the door saying, “Mama? Mama?” until I open it up, and then he cries when Martin takes him away from me. For two months I’ve been listening to, “Baba? Baba? Baba?” all day long and now suddenly I’m his new obsession. I love it, of course, but it’s harder to get work done now.
Dunno why this photo is sideways
We had a great Easter egg hunt Sunday with Shea and his friends Annabella (with TWO Ns, she informed me many times after I spelled her name wrong on the stuffed Easter duck I gave her just before she told me she already has enough toys. Gotta love the honesty of a four-year-old!) and Django (I can spell that one). I had to lead Shea around the yard and point to the eggs, but he got the hang of picking them up and putting them into his basket. Afterward, he opened up his eggs and dumped biodegradable fake grass, raisins and Goldbunnies all over the kitchen floor and then came to me, pointed at his mess and said, “No, No.” I love that he knows not to do something, does it anyway, and then tells me he shouldn’t have done it.
He also started saying, “Mama” this week! Not the French “Maman,” but … yay! And he started putting words together, like “Ball down” if he wants me to set his ball down.
I had another ultrasound this morning and all is well. I’m 20 weeks today, so halfway, and the baby is 3/4 of a pound. I’ve been jogging about four times per week, sometimes walking a lot and other times hardly at all, and it feels great to get some exercise. Last night was the first night in a week or two that I didn’t wake up and stay up for two hours. I’ve started getting heartburn in the last few days and am getting where I need a Tagamet after every meal, but otherwise I feel great.
I watched Susan’s Boyle’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent tonight and bawled. That kind of stuff just kills me.
I failed miserably on my writing goals this week, but feel good about taking a break to hang out with friends this past weekend. Working every weekend was getting me down, although I plan to get back to it full force this Saturday. Fifteen hours per week for the next two weeks (and until the book is done.) Got some good feedback from another writer friend today, which was very encouraging. I’m aiming to finish this draft by end of May to give me time for one more revision before the baby arrives.
Speaking of babies (again), we bought a ridiculously expensive double stroller this month. We have a cheap Graco one that I got on CL, but it’s really difficult to open and close and it’s HUGE. I do NOT want to lug that thing in and out of the car. So we got the small one, and I love it (we’ve tried it out a couple of times with the nanny share), although I’m not giving up my BOB. (Moms know what that means.)
And speaking of moms—first night out to dinner with my moms’ group tomorrow night! We’re not allowed to talk about our kids (which will be very difficult since that’s all we ever talk about.) Dinner at Pizziaolo—yum!
Finished Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye last night. Didn’t LOVE it, but it got way better toward the end. Interesting to read Morrison’s Afterword about the problems with the book. I have to agree with her, although it’s probably still better than anything I’ll ever write.
Love Obama’s dog and want a Portuguse Water Terrier now, although it looks suspiciously like the cockapoo I grew up with.
On a completely unrelated note to babies and writing and pregnancy and motherhood, this homeless man who would sit outside the Starbucks by my house died a couple of weeks ago. There was a sign on the post out front with info about his funeral, although the funeral had passed by the time I saw it. I had never talked to this guy, although I knew his face. I used to give money to homeless people, and still do on occasion, but I’ve gotten really cynical about it, too. When I worked at newspapers in LA and Fremont, I wrote so many stories about homeless people that people joked that I was “the homeless reporter.” I ate Thanksgiving dinner at one soup kitchen and breakfast several times at another (the food was good). I interviewed the people and read a lot about homeless issues in the newspaper. (This was years ago. I’m out of the loop now.) And I learned that most of them are addicts or some sort, or mentally ill, and that it’s really difficult to change that. I knew that if I worked for one of those non-profits that tries to get homeless people off the street that I would get incredibly frustrated and burned out. I’ve learned to reason that it’s best not to give them money because who knows where it goes—probably drugs or alcohol, if they’re homeless at all. I sat outside of the Starbucks by my house one day and talked to a homeless guy selling Street Sheet, and he told me that he lived in a $900/month studio in Oakland and that he had recently loaned his ex-wife $1000. I thought, “I can’t even afford a $900 apartment. There is no way I’m giving you a dime.” And especially here in the Bay Area there are countless resources for homeless people, so I reason that they can get food and shelter if they want it. They don’t need my money. I’ve convinced myself that these people are going to get help eventually, that a social worker will one day come and take them off the streets, find them a job and give them a home, as ridiculous as that sounds. So I was sad when I saw that Charles had died. He was homeless, and then he died. Well, hopefully there was more to his life than that and that he had a lot of happy days and some family and friends, but it made me sad that no wagon ever came to take him off the streets, no social worker ever got him a job, no do-gooder ever took him in. He was homeless and then he died. And I’ve got my $xxx double stroller. How messed up is that?
Shea has started bring me tufts of cat hair he finds around the house. He says, “Chat! Chat!” and hands them to me, and I say thank you. He’s better than our vacuum.
He also has the signs for “frog” and “dirty” mixed up. He learned to do the sign for frog with all his fingers instead of just two, and when he does it, he sticks his tongue in and out like a frog and says, “ra, ra,” short for “rana” – frog in Spanish (I’m learning new Spanish words from him). Then I taught him the sign for dirty, so he’d stop trying to stick his toys in the toilet and picking gross things up off the sidewalk, and now when he does the sign for dirty he sticks his tongue in and out like a frog and says, “ra, ra.” I guess frogs are pretty dirty, but we’ll have to clear this up with him at some point.
I’m totally exhausted preparing for Easter. A friend told me about a couple of recipes she likes yesterday, and I got ambitious and decided to make both last night on top of having people over for brunch yesterday and more people over for Easter dinner tonight. I spent hours making this mix of roasted vegetables that all had to be cooked for different lengths of time while Martin colored Easter eggs with Shea (Shea mostly got to watch and stick stickers on at the end, or we would have had Paas dye and vinegar all over the floor.) I also got Easter baskets and stuffed bunnies and chicks for the three kids who will be here and filled plastic Easter eggs for them to find in the yard. This being Berkeley, there is no Easter candy (at least not yet. Shea is only 1). So the eggs are filled with raisins and stickers and bunny-shaped Goldfish, fruit-flavored bunny-shaped Cheerios (that look suspiciously like Fruit Loops) and other dried fruit. Martin and I will be hiding in the back room eating jelly beans while the kids are eating their raisins. I know Shea will eat candy eventually, but I don’t see the point in starting too early. I hated fruit (except apples) and vegetables (except potatoes, corn and canned green beans) when I was a kid and ate all the candy and ice cream I wanted, and yes, I turned out okay, but I’d rather he ate a little healthier than that. Of course, I know other people who weren’t allowed sweets at all and were obsessed with them, so that’s not good either.
Sent from sixth brother (I’m helping a Chinese woman write her memoir, and that’s the way they refer to their relatives—he’s actually my fourth brother, sixth sibling), the Washington Post’s annual peep show.
By the way, I’ve been blogging more because I’ve been waking up every night between 3 and 4 a.m. hungry. I have to get up and eat, and this is something I can do that doesn’t require as much brain energy as writing or editing. Then I read myself back to sleep. I’m usually up for about two hours and have a hard time getting up when Shea does, but he’s been sleeping until about 8:30 lately, which is GREAT.
Shea made his first caveboy sentence today. He said, “shhh, unh, wa” and did the signs for fish, stuck, water. So I followed his gaze over to the corner of the kitchen and hunted around until I found his fish sticker, which he loves and carries around and sticks on things, and which has become a few colorful shreds of paper, floating in the cat’s water bowl. Yep. The fish was stuck in the water.
And he will NOT say Mama. Will NOT. And I know he can say it. I’ve heard him make the sounds. But he says, “Baba” for “Papa” ALL DAY LONG. When Martin arrives, when Martin leaves, when we’re just driving in the car and something reminds him of Martin (and he does the sign, too, so I know that’s what he means.) I do think, though, that he associates Baba with both of us, that sometimes he calls me Baba, too. But if I point to a picture of Martin, he says, “Baba!” and if I point to a picture of me, he says nothing. Damned ungrateful kid! Someday I’ll make him pay for this.
One last post and then I’m going to attempt to sleep for an hour before Shea wakes up. I should be using this time to edit, but I really really don’t feel like editing at six in the morning.
Before I was pregnant with Shea, I had awful mood swings every month. Almost without fail, Martin and I would get into a huge argument every month and although I was always right and had a perfectly legitimate reason to think he was a big jerk, I couldn’t help notice that it did happen pretty consistently at that time of the month. For years I was worried that I would have miserable pregnancies, that my moods would be like PMS x 10, and I dreaded the day. But, low and behold, the hormones had the opposite effect on me (and if I had a medical degree, I might know why) and I was in a great mood the entire nine months and then that great mood continued for another 12 months while I breast fed Shea. Then I stopped breastfeeding and got pregnant again and felt crappy for a month and wasn’t sure if it was from stopping breastfeeding or from the first month of pregnancy, but either way I was reminded how unfun depression is and what a helpless feeling it is to have so little control over your mood. Exercise didn’t help. Sleeping didn’t help. Shopping and massages and talking about my feelings didn’t help. But then the pregnancy hormones kicked in again and I was elated once again. So I have the next five months of pregnancy and twelve months of breastfeeding to look forward to, and by that time Shea will be almost three. Three blissful years of mommy in a good mood. And then what? I worry even now that I’ll get depressed once my body returns to normal. It’s a long way off, but that’s what worrying is, thinking about things in the future that we should be ignoring while we enjoy the the moment, and I’m a worrier. I just want to be prepared when it happens. I have my (old) therapist’s number on speed dial. I’ve got my Sam-E, but my St. John’s Wort, my Rescue Remedy and my caffeine, ready for the minute I turn into weeping, psycho, post-breast feeding Mom. And I could start climbing again. That was a great anti-depressant for me for several years. I love love love climbing and feel high when I finish a hard climb, especially when I lead. God knows how I’ll find time to rock climb, though, between finger painting and toilet training, but hopefully it will all come together and Shea won’t have to spend his adult years in therapy talking about what a psycho his mom became when he turned 3.
I’ve got pregnancy insomnia. I wake up to pee (many times a night) and then lie there for an hour until I’m too hungry to sleep, then get up to eat and then I’m wide awake and at my computer reading or writing blog entries. When I was reading my Murakami novel, I would read myself back to sleep, but now I’m reading Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, which is also a great book, and yet have no motivation to read for some reason. It’s a book I could read in a day, and I’ve been carrying it around for weeks.
I was talking to a writing colleague today about revision and about how some people send their books out too early to publishers. It made me happy that I’m plodding away at Draft Four. I think it’s true that a lot of people send their books out too early (I did. I sent mine to a famous agent that a friend hooked me up with and blew my chance with him because it was too early a draft—that was two years ago). But I understand why people do it. It’s such an amazing feeling to think, “I’m DONE. I’m finally DONE. I can tell people I’ve finished my book, that I’ve sent it out!” because it’s hard when people keep asking how much longer it will take you to finish you book, how long you’ve been working on it, etc. It’s painful to the ego to say, “I’m still working on it. Yes, I’ve been working on it for five years now.” (Especially when they gasp and say, “Oh, WOW.”) But to write a good book, and that’s what we’re all aiming for, you have to shut up the ego and ignore other people’s remarks and just revise, revise, revise, until it’s REALLY ready to send out. It’s hard, and it’s hard to stay motivated month after month, year after year, but that’s what you have to do.
Speaking of years, I went to a reading recently at which the author answered the question, “How long did it take you to write the book?” with “I worked on it on and off while dong other projects, but I’d say three years if you add up all the time I spent on it” which I found to be a very clever answer because what he was really saying was, “It took me six/seven/ten years, but I ain’t telling you that, Lady.” I also know someone else who took ten years to write her book who has been telling people it took three. And good for her. It’s nobody’s business. Unless you’re a writer. And then you understand. I know, by the way, at least three people who took ten years to write their first books. And then they get book contracts for the next one and are expected to crank them out in two years, which is terrifying. That’s the advantage of not having a book contract. No pressure to get it done in a rush. Lots of time for weddings and babies.
By the way, it’s probably annoying that every post has a photo of Shea, even if it’s totally unrelated to the post, but that’s ALL I have photos of! And it’s a chance for me to post photos of him since I don’t put them on Facebook. I don’t know why I don’t like putting photos on Facebook, even though other people put butt ugly photos of ME on their FB pages!
It’s days like these that I want to just Twitter about how HARD writing is. Yesterday I wrote for six+ hours on the stopwatch, revised four chapters (although one needed very little revising) and felt like I got SO much done. Today I only wrote for an hour and a half, which was the main problem, but I’ve also moved on to the very difficult task of restructuring Act III. I’ve divided my book up into five acts, and I’ve finished revising the first two (which equal about 60% of my book) and now I’ve moved onto Act III, which needs the most work. Restructuring makes me feel like I’m doing math, or physics, and not writing. I lay out the three different plots and what’s happening in each. I write what IS happening in each, vs what should probably happen in each. I try to fit the existing chapters into what SHOULD happen, then cut some, then add some, then decide it was better before (and this is all in outline form with pen on paper, which I’ve found to be more effective lately then typing everything on my computer. I even created a binder for all my hand-written notes and outlines). It’s a horribly frustrating process. I know that character x takes up too many pages and that I need to cut some of his chapters. I also know that he comes across as to one-dimensional (ie big asshole) and that I need to add more “nice” chapters about him – so I have to find a way to add, but cut. And then intersperse the other two plots more with his plot, so there aren’t four chapters in a row about him and then two about work and then two about the third plot, etc. But each time I move a chapter all the transitions have to be fixed and all the things I mentioned in one that refer to a previous chapter that now comes after it. So I change all that and then think, “Wait, maybe this other order is better …” Argh! Anyway, I need to get it all really sorted out on paper before I do any real cutting/pasting or revising and right now I’m just too tired to deal with it.