Monthly Archives: November 2007

Ben Turon—RIP

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One of our cats, Ben, died this week. He’d been missing the last couple of days, and I went looking for him at the local vets and shelters today, but no luck. I had looked in the basement for him, but not well enough. Martin found him tonight lying on the carpet in his band room, dead probably for a couple of days. He’d been getting thinner, and I’d commented that maybe we should take him to the vet, but otherwise he seemed fine. Saturday was the first time he acted a bit strange. He liked to sleep under cars, especially if they were parked in the driveway because the driveway is grassy and soft, but he would always jump up and walk away when we got in the car or started the engine (if we hadn’t noticed he was under there.) Saturday, as we were leaving for the Russian River, Martin pulled out of the driveway and there Ben was, still sitting on the driveway where the car had been. We’d driven right over him, but the clearance was high, and he was fine. We thought it was strange that he hadn’t even moved, and commented again that maybe we should take him to the vet. Ben was an old cat, and I often joked that I wished he would run away or die because he’s the cat who chased my cat (the wonderful, perfect Bustopher Jones) away when I moved to Berkeley. I eventually forgave Ben and made friends with him, but he was never a warm or snuggly cat. He liked to stay outside all day and would sometimes run when I tried to pet him. Still, I’m sad. I’ve been missing seeing him on the sidewalk every day when I come home, and I think our other cat, Xeno, misses him, too. I wonder if Xeno knew he was dead, if he’d found him before we did. I’d post a picture of Ben, but all my photos are on an external hard drive, and I don’t have the energy to look for them. I wanted to get another cat after Ben was gone (I figured he’d go first since he’s older than Xeno), but I’m not sure this is a good time, just 10 days before the baby is due.

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Pregnancy Update—38 Weeks

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Oh, I need a Tagamet after all that birthday cake!

The countdown begins! Little “Patagonia” is full term now, which means he could be born any time between now and Dec. 16, at which point my OB would induce. Three out of the four women in my birth class who’ve already had their babies had them weeks early, but mine is right on schedule. He’s bigger than average size, so if he’s probably a little over seven pounds now and will likely be eight+ when he’s born.

Last week I was getting acid reflux nearly every time I ate (which didn’t stop me from eating pizza and Thai food and chocolate and ice cream. I just take a Tagamet afterward and hope for the best.) This week I’m craving sweets like crazy, especially chocolate and ice cream, and getting Braxton Hicks (fake, prelabor contractions) every time I stand up, roll over or walk down the street. Sleeping is getting more difficult, too. Once I’m asleep, I sleep like a rock, but it takes me more than an hour to fall asleep most nights if I don’t take a warm bath first. I switch from my left side to my right side—back and forth, back and forth—but the back pain and the kicks keep me awake. The kicks aren’t cute little fetus kicks anymore. Now they’re these big uncomfortable movements that make me feel a little sea sick. Otherwise, all is well.

I’ve been TOO busy lately, though, going to doctors’ appointments and physical therapy, running errands, going to the city to write, writing at home, tutoring and spending every weekend at the Russian River. It’s been a hectic month, and I was so exhausted Sunday that I didn’t get out of bed until 1:15. I’m determined to spend these last two weeks resting—writing, reading, watching movies and TV and sleeping as much as possible because, as one friend put it, “This is the calm before the storm.”

I’ve gotten over my anxiety about the birth. I’m as prepared as I’ll ever be. I’ve listened to the hypnosis tapes, done the relaxation techniques, read the books and even packed my bags for the hospital. The car seat is near the door and my iPod is charging. In my “birth” bag I have nuts, energy bars, lollipops, Gatorade, green coconut juice, Christmas lights, plastic bags for the car, massage oil, essential oils, Bach’s Rescue Remedy and five copies of my birth plan. To add to that will be my iPod, speakers and charger, cell phone charger and toiletries. In my “postpartum bag” I have clothes for the baby and PJs for me. I still need to pack a change of clothes and my pregnancy tea. Then Martin will have his own bag, with a change of clothes, camera, cell phone charger, etc. This is the way we do births in Berkeley! All of these things are designed to help me get through a natural birth, ie, one without an epidural. And if I do have an epidural, that’s fine, too. I just figure I won’t know how difficult is it to go without one until I try it.

The baby room is ready, too, except for the nursery furniture, which hasn’t arrived yet. Yesterday I spent all morning organizing the piles of stuff—clothes, blankets, bottles, books, a breast pump, a breastfeeding pillow, a bouncy chair, a bassinet, a Moses basket, a swing, diapers and wipes and a wipes warmer, a bathtub, a car seat, a stroller, a crib mattress and crib sheets (still waiting for the bedding and cloth diapers to arrive), a diaper pail, a humidifier, a changing table pad and cover, baby bath products and toiletries, a mobile, a video monitor, a baby book, lots of regular books and photo albums, a teddy bear, an Ugly doll and some baby CDs.

The only real anxiety I have at this point is about my writing. No matter how much I do between now and then, it won’t feel like enough until the third draft is done. But I know that as soon as he’s born I’ll forget about the third draft for a month or two, so I don’t anticipate it being a stressor for too much longer. I’ll have more important things to worry about then, like how to find time to take a shower.

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It’s So You

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I’m a terrible self-promoter. I think this book has been out for a couple of months already. Anyway, I’m one of the 35 women writing about fashion in this anthology, so go to Amazon
and buy a copy, or click on the Seal Press website
to read more about it. My essay is a chapter from my book about being backstage at the Kenzo show in Paris. It’s the story I was frantically editing for submission when my BART train crashed in the tunnel and there was smoke and people were crying. I kept editing and got the submission in, and it was accepted, and now here it is in a book. My first official non-MFA creative writing publication.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make any of the Bay Area readings because they’re in mid-December.

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Fat is Fit?

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So glad I packed on that extra 39 pounds …

According to Science Daily, it may be healthier to be overweight than to be normal weight:

“We found significantly increased all-cause mortality in the underweight and obese categories and significantly decreased all-cause mortality in the overweight category compared with normal weight. To gain further insight into these findings, we now extend that work, using additional mortality data with longer follow-up, to examine the association of cause-specific mortality with different weight categories among U.S. adults in 2004.”

“Some evidence suggests that modestly higher weights may improve survival in a number of circumstances, which may partly explain our findings regarding overweight. Overweight is not strongly associated with increased cancer or CVD risk, but may be associated with improved survival during recovery from adverse conditions, such as infections or medical procedures, and with improved prognosis for some diseases. Such findings may be due to greater nutritional reserves or higher lean body mass associated with overweight,” the authors write.

And now for some more ice cream …

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Writing update

Now a “short” writing update:

My goal of working two hours a day has been keeping me very busy. Although it may not seem like a lot of hours (and I get to take weekends off), if I miss one day, that means four hours the next, and that’s a lot. Included in “writing” though is any work on my book, including plotting, organizing, etc. Reading doesn’t count, though, and neither does attending writers group meetings.

My goal earlier this year was to finish my book before the baby was born (that’s actually been my goal for the past five years – not to have a baby until my book was done). I felt on track until I broke my wrist. I had finished my second draft by the end of August and given it to a writing coach that day. But by the time I got it back from her, my left arm was out of commission and I couldn’t write more than a few sentences at a time with one hand. Once I could type again, I knew that I needed to spend a few weeks working on nothing but the plot (which it was lacking), and hold off on making smaller edits. I reread a plot book recommended to me by Jade a couple years ago, and I did a scene analysis chart of every scene (about 233) in my book. Then I did the plot analysis, too. It took me weeks to do the whole thing, then I sat down and wrote what the protagonist’s goal was, what the theme of the book was, etc. But I still felt a bit at a loss for what to do next. So I hired the author of the book (also recommended by Jade) to do a plot consultation with me. I did that yesterday, and, although we haven’t finished and plan to reconvene on Monday since both of our heads were about to explode, it’s helped me tremendously. Now I feel like I know what to do next. So that’s what I’ll be doing during the next four weeks (or two or three or five depending on when HE decides to make an appearance). And if I don’t get my book done by then (not likely at this point), that’s okay because I’ll have gotten over the biggest hump. The rest will be fine tuning – adding more description here, changing this summary to a scene, etc. I can do that early next year once the bambino is old enough to be with a nanny two days a week. And then I’ll be done. Hallelujah.

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Updates

I think I have to get used to short blog updates because once the baby is here, that’s all I’ll have time for. What I’ve been doing lately:

Writing 2+ hours/day. My “goal” is to work on on my book 10 hours per week. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s about all I can handle with everything else going on.

What else is going on? Hmm. Just stuff. Like physical therapy 2x/week, OB appt 1x/week, two writers’ groups (and reading and critiquing for those groups), tutoring, trekking to the city 2 days per week, and birth prep stuff like reading the umpteen books I’ve bought, doing prenatal yoga (which I’ve done just once since my wrist surgery), buying baby stuff like diapers and diaper pails and a mobile and Ugly dolls (I LOVE Ugly dolls). Another nesting thing I’ve done in the past month and a half is to create two disaster bins in case there’s an earthquake. I’ve spent a lot of time running errands to buy things for my disaster bins. In them are:

MANY cans of tuna (way more than I will ever want to eat if there’s a disaster)
Cans of chicken
Trail mix
Energy bars
Soups
Corn and beans and rice
Lots of pasta
Pasta sauce
Cat food
Can opener
Baby formula
Diapers
First aid kit
Pepto Bismol
Alcohol
Hydrogen Peroxide
Toilet paper
Paper towel
Hammer, screwdriver, duct tape, knife
Hand crank radio
Hand crank flashlight
Hard hat, dust masks, work gloves
Tent
Sleeping bags

I forget what else is in there. I know I still need to add spare clothes, although I don’t have any that fit me right now. I also have a Red Cross disaster backpack in the car, a flashlight by the bed and extra batteries for the flashlights in the kitchen. And a new fire extinguisher. This “short” blog post isn’t all that short. I’ll start another …

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