It's That Time Of The Year Again
Here we are at the end of the year, waiting for the final moments of 2005 to tick down so we can usher in another year. Another year older? Check, true every year. Another year wiser? Maybe. Nonetheless, I offer you 2005 In Review in pictures and now, in words!

January: We took the dogs for a walk. And I had a cold. I also chose not to summarize 2004, so I guess you're coming out ahead on this year already.

Riley learned to crawl and we started preparing in earnest to try and have a baby.

I revived my webcam and WhileSeated had his fun with it:

We also went to Vegas and pulled off some extremely satisfying wins to get to the finals in the hockey tournament.

We were tired, but happy.

The babies grew a crapload, starting from moments like these.

February: I missed caffeine and beer. A lot. I stopped caring about school. Viv and I had Doodie tourette's. Rainie and Patrick got their vaccines and both had reactions to it, though Rainie's was much cuter:

. Gus and Zeus continued their 'I love you but don't look me in the eye' relationship:

We actually went 2 weeks without seeing the babies and were greeted with this, when we finally did get there:

March: Heidi and Marc had to put Roscoe to sleep after he bit the shit out of Heidi. I swear his soul passed through me as he left.

We went to Disneyland and I rode every damn ride I could, knowing that soon we'd start trying to get knocked up and I wouldn't be able to anymore. Sue's son Eric got very sick, though he would go on to get much sicker in the summer, then wow us all by becoming a miracle man. I went to work and did some stuff on the computer.

April: The dogs ate everything in the fridge. I did homework, I watched TV. I had a really stupid, totally not my fault car accident with a woman who ended up being quite nasty so I made her ass pay for all the imaginary damage they could find. Zeus tried to kill himself, spending a very costly and scary week in the doggie ER.

On April 30, my Grandma died. I still can't write that without crying.

May: I spoke at her funeral, which was about the hardest thing I've ever done. We went to Denver and got our asses kicked, and Heather got hurt. We won't go to that tourney again. I finished all my coursework for grad school. Zeus fell in love with Cheddah.

The babies got a wagon.

June: I played a tourney with some former Seals in Tahoe. We won and it was excellent. We started trying to get pregnant. It didn't work, though we tried on some funny hats while we were in San Francisco for the spermadventure.

We hired a Nice Man to build a new fence in our backyard and started plotting our patio. Thomas moved in, beginning the Summer of Suck. I bought Betty Shinka.

July: Round 2 of insemination madness, this time the home version. Again, failure and disappointment.

I tried on some ugly glasses. We refinanced our house and Eric got quite sick. We discovered that Zeus is about to turn 13 -- tomorrow! Gus was cute:

August: We stopped talking about our insemination attempts. I guess because we got tired of hearing people offer their own sperm services. We had a fabulous DisneyWorld trip, which I scored for super cheap on the computer Internet. Zeus shared a crate with Rainie for the night.

September: On 9/4, I woke up to pee on a stick for the thousandth time this year and found this:

It worked! I was With Child. Naturally, we went to Hooters that night. Thomas moved out and we were happy. I pretty much stopped giving a crap about my thesis and started giving lots of craps about this baby.

December (because I'm tired): Found out that Murray is a girl. With a very nice set of toes:

Night Five!
Last night, I was completely exhausted from working a crapload, but when we had dinner, for the first night since September, I didn't gag at all. Not even once. I ate until I was full, then went home to collapse, relishing yet another nausea-free night.


Long Week
If you're wondering why I haven't had a crapload of witty remarks for you this week, it's not because I don't love you -- I do. It's because this is the last week of our bugfix at work. In some ways, the end of bugfix is my set of high holy days, I go from my usual 'get it done when it's due' mode to 'FIX EVERY BUG OUR DEPARTMENT HAS BY MYSELF' mode.

That means late nights and days filled with a concentration that I only seem to master during this period, rougly every 8 weeks, or right before a spec is due. For me, bugfix is the best part of my job -- little things I can usually fix pretty easily. All that instant gratification just suits me. So at the end of every release cycle, I buckle down and do everything I can to lower our group's overall bug numbers.

Sometimes that effort wins me a trophy:

But I think mostly, it's about all those little satisfactions and being intensely involved in what I'm doing. Of course it now means that I'm completely exhausted. But hey, I fixed a crapload of bugs. Tim would be pleased.

This may be the funniest pic I've seen from someone trying to sell something: Crib and Bedding. Missing some hardware. Yep, because they ran over the crib!

Night Four!
Last night marked the fourth night since September when I wasn't nauseous. Thank God. Heartburn? Yep. General unease? Yep. But nausea? No.

Of course I seem to have exchanged the pukeyness for a couple of things: an inability to sleep and a baby who hurls herself on my bladder THE INSTANT I get comfortable. So I'm up a zillion times to pee, even 5 seconds (okay 5 minutes, I did check) but that beats the hell out of the pukey feeling. Progress....

To School Or Not To School?
Here's another time where I need advice...I've read many a mixed thing about childbirth classes, read about my fellow lesbians getting a hard time from instructors who could only speak in terms of 'mom and dad,' and not gotten a good feel one way or the other about how helpful they might be.

I have no intention of even trying to do this whole birth thing without drugs (again, to those of you who did, or who plan to, Godspeed, but that ain't me). It's always seemed to me that the classes were more for drug-free childbirth folks, who are taking on a task so great that extra instruction is required. Again, Godspeed my drugless friends. I admire you but I shall not join you in that venture.

Given that, I'm not sure what the advantage is in watching birth videos (which I watch on discoovery channel all the damn time, to the point of Andrea telling me 'no more screaming tonight!' when she comes to bed) with a bunch of strangers and listening to an instructor who may or may not tell me something we don't already know.

So, my dear readers, all 3 of you, what's your take on this? Did you attend one of these classes? Did it teach you anything you didn't read in a book? Was it helpful or annoying, or both? Tell all!


I Had This Dream
Where I was looking at a blueprint of a house and instead of bathroom, it said 'CAN' in huge letters. And I thought, yes, that's what it should say.

Hey, Thanks
To whoever sent the memo to my body about not being so nauseous at night --finally, it was received! Last night marked the third night since September where I didn't wonder if I was going to puke. Thank you thank you thank you.


Because Once Is Not Enough

Murray's Foot
Originally uploaded by murraytanninator.

Once again, I give you Murray's toes. Which are the coolest things I've ever seen.

Moley Russel's Wart!
So...Andrea has this mole on her face. It's just like the one her mom has and most of the time I forget all about it. It's like wallpaper, you know? There, but not something you really ever (need to) think about.

Until Sammi starts talking and reasoning, and becomes obsessed with it. Last night she stood in front of Andrea pointing at her own little face right where Andrea's mole is and saying 'mo!' 'mo!' She'd leave the room, go about her toy-laden business around the corner, then come back and point again, saying once more 'mo!' 'mo!'

Each time I told Sammi Andrea's mom has one too and each time Sammi came back to continue giving Andrea a complex about it. That shit had me in tears. Tears. Though not as teary as I got when I discovered just how phallic the girls' cool new microphones were, especially when paired with the opening of a rooster puppet. Good times. Mole!

Riley and Sam got these groovyass little microphones for Christmas and Andrea decided it was the coolest thing ever. Last night, we were over there (since the babies had a late nap we realized that they'd be up late. Sweet! Late night babies!) and Andrea would only speak through the microphone. She'd even say something without it, then pick up the thing and repeat what she'd just said.

I Tell You What

Originally uploaded by torturedmommy.

I was totally HOT this Christmas.

Murray's Toes

Murray's Toes
Originally uploaded by murraytanninator
In my life, I have seen some beautiful and amazing things, in no particular order:
  • The Rocky Mountains
  • The Great Salt Lake
  • Andreatan (this I've seen more than once)
  • My grandmother, waiting in her doorway to hug me (again, seen more than once)
  • Betty Shinka
  • My parents beaming as I graduated from high school and from college
  • The fog rising off the hills of a tea village in China
  • A Buddhist temple in the mountains near that same tea village in China
  • The Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge
  • Alice, any day, anywhere
  • Riley and Samantha, at 6 days old and at regular intervals since then
  • My birthmother's face, which is a lot like mine, after 24 years of wondering
Though all of those rank in my memory as amazing events and places, none of them compare to what we saw last Thursday:

My daughter's toes.

Yes, our baby is a girl. A girl who showed the appropriate parts on cue, a girl who measures perfectly on time, a girl who has been kicking me with the toes you see below for some time now.

I have no doubt that things like the Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramids, the Great Wall of China are lovely and amazing, but I don't possibly see how anything else on this earth can compare to those toes. Except maybe for the fingers she showed us soon after.

Yep, Best Christmas Ever


Uneventful Christmas
Our day started off early with a fiesta of gift unwrapping with the babies. Our pile of gifts for them didn't seem that big until we loaded into the car. Oh well, next Christmas that part of our budget will probably be a bit smaller, since the Murrito will be here, demanding gifts. The girls were very cute, if a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff they got. Which is how it should be, really.

Met my parents for dim sum, did our Christmas (yes, Aunt Mary, we got them a digital camera, you were right), then realized I was about to fall asleep so we slunk home to nap for a bit. Had dinner at hot pot cit-ay, a place that seemed to frighten my parents a wee bit. Sorry about that, folks. I set up the new camera with their lappy and we headed home, where I enjoyed yet another nausea-packed night. And yes, I'm fully aware that at the start of my 20th week, aka halfway through the gestating process, this is supposed to be gone and I'm supposed to enjoy the most energy of the entire pregnancy. No need to remind me again, but if you could get a memo to my body about that, well, that'd be great.

Now that Christmas is over and the hordes of gifts that were filling Murray's room-to-be (which, as I've said, will remain purple) we have a little room to set up the manger and bring in the fabulous new dresser/changing table thing my mom bought for us this weekend. Anyway, off for another exciting work-free parental visit day.


Murray By The Numbers
Toes: 10
Fingers: 10
Chambers of heart: 4, all pumping like mad
Sides of brain: 2
Teeny bit of fat growing part of a baby belly: yep
Schnoz: 1, and much more proportionate than at 12 weeks

Everything looked great, absolutely perfect. Murray measures right on time -- not too big, not too small, just right. Moving like the little acrobat who's been kicking me for a while, diligently showing us all relevant parts, and yes, when the moment required it, showing the best money shot you could ever hope for, making this kid's gender pretty obvious.

And no, we're still not telling that until next week.

But seeing everything pumping away, seeing Murray's mouth move, seeing the arms wave and the legs kick was amazing. Even if our ultrasound tech had the personality of a tree stump. The doc who came in after was much nicer, he re-confirmed Murray's gender with another money shot (again, our baby was highly cooperative) and said everything looked great. We saw the front-view of Murray's face, where the wee one looked like Skeletor. That was my least favorite view.

Though we're thrilled about the gender, it's more that everything is okay with the wee one. The sight of those toes was almost more than I could bear. Yep, I cried there too.

And now, we have to come up with a name. Andrea keeps shouting at my belly: "WHAT'S YOUR NAME???" but all I get in response is kicking.

Merry Christmas, Murray. Thanks for the best gift ever: your perfect self.

We also got another terrific gift today: time to spend at the baby store, watching Andrea attempt to fold and unfold every stroller known to man, shaking the shit out of them when they didn't cooperate. Eventually Andrea and my mom got into a laughing fit about it, to the point of crying. Just watching them both let their hair down with a case of the giggles was oh so excellent. We also found the stroller I wanted on sale so we are now the proud owners of a MacLaren. Woot!

At the second local baby store we checked out a thousand dressers and holy shit, dressers for babies are ridiculously overpriced! Finally, in the hidden back room, we found a decent one that doubles as a changing table for a reasonable price. My mom was nice enough to spring for that, so Murray's room is starting to come together. Just add baby!

In other non-baby gender related news, we told our favorite neighbor about Murray. Her response? "I know, my mother in law told me." Oh, I guess I'm showing. I guess we're past time to think that this is all donuts expanding my belly, which now contains a 1 lb baby who will be viable in 4 weeks. Who needs a room and a name.

It's not even Christmas yet and already, it's one of the best ever. I think of Murray showing first one foot, then the other and I better revise that. The best Christmas ever.


'Bout Two Hours
In less than 2 hours, we'll have caught another glimpse of the Murrito, swimming and kicking away in her little wombworld. We'll know if all her parts are growing correctly and yes, we'll know if she is a she, or not.

My daughter. My son. Either way, it's what I want, a baby, my baby, our baby, this baby.

Or shall I say, Dear Santa, This Christmas, I want only one thing. Please let our baby be perfectly normal. Let all parts of her little body be developing as expected, let her be as perfect as I've always imagined she would be, let her emerge into this world without too much trauma and let her life be filled with everything she needs and with love from more people than seems fair. Liz

Riley Roo and Rainie Roo

Riley Roo and Rainie Roo
Originally uploaded by torturedmommy.

I cannot beleive how well Rainie behaved with the babies the other day. Here's proof that all of our favorite little girls got along famously.

Happy Zeus Day!
Five years ago today I gave a little old beagle a ride from Tracy, well, to my house. We all fell in love with him and somehow, despite his best efforts to kill himself this year, he's still with us, snoring oh so loudly outside our bedroom door every night, wagging his tail during the day and pretending like he can still jump on our bed.

He's getting a little senile these days (ooops, sorry I forgot to poop outside) but he still approaches life with great gusto and for that, I am grateful. I also remain grateful that he chose us, even if he is a bit special in his own right.

Happy gotcha day, little guy. We love you lots. Even if you're quite silly.


You might say 'no way!' to this and to you, I say 'way!' Last night, for the first night since September, I was NOT NAUSEOUS. That meant I could sit on my damn couch for the first time in a long time, watching TV with Andrea and our dogs like I'm supposed to do. I sat there through the end of the nip/tuck lameASS season finale, not because it was getting any better but because I felt so damn...normal.

And today, right now, I'm actually FULL for the first time in oh so very long. It may all change tonight, but for now. Thank you thank you to all the little people who made this possible. And yes, I know that for many women and according to the Nice People who write books about pregnancy, nausea ends with the first trimester. To you, I say Godspeed and unfortunately every preganancy doesn't follow that book, though I've wished for almost 3 months now that it would.

We'll be getting what could possibly be the Best Christmas Gift Yet -- to see Murray at 20 weeks, to see intricate details of her growing body and yes, to see if she is indeed a she. Or that she's got nards and we'll have to name her Murray after all, instead of Esperanza.

To answer your question: no, we probably won't be blogging about Murray's nards until next week. We're both off work on Friday and plan to spend the day enjoying what we learn tomorrow. And sleeping. And eating Snowmen Peeps. And then enjoying another fine meal with my parents, who are due to arrive in time to accompany us to the Big Ultrasound.

To answer your other question: no, we won't be discussing any of the names we're considering for little Murray. Not even with you, Susan. So sure, you can ask, but no, we won't answer you. At least not with anything beyond grunting and the spouting of names like 'Talon.' But go ahead, try. You might push my number of witty comments a bit.


Oh Boy!
I just ate some beef jerky and though it's no doubt filled with Things That Are Less Than Healthy, for the first time in who knows how many afternoons, I'm not starving. Full? No. But not starving. Good enough!

Murray Olympics
After a couple of days of not all that much movement, Murray has apparently declared today The Day Of Murray Olympics, in which all events involve hitting and kicking as hard as she possibly can with ALL FOUR LIMBS. AT THE SAME TIME.

It was so hard (and yes, painful) that I had to lean way back in my fabulous desk chair and wait politely with a grimace until she was done. Then sit on the very edge of my seat, straight up, because apparently, she was not done with this event.

Does this mean she'll end up playing goalie? If so, I hope she does it with more skill than I did. Because that shit wasn't pretty.

At the end of this week, we'll be at the halfway mark on this whole pregnancy thing. Wha??? How did that happen?

I know that for a lot of women, the pregnancy experience is something amazing, something they long for and cherish. That I've had such a lousy time of it to date somehow seems ungrateful, especially when faced with so many folks who have struggled so much.

But then the nausea kicks back in (yes, folks, it's still there just about every night. Yes, I know full well that every book on the planet and traditional wisdom say I should be well past this by now. Please don't remind me. I read those books with Great Envy.) and I think, shit. This isn't all that fun.

But you know, I never expected it would be. No, I didn't think it would be THIS hard, but it has been and here we are. We chose this method of expanding our family because 1. it's a lot easier than dealing with all the stuff that's required to adopt, not the least of which, in most cases, is a goodly chunk of cash and 2. I want to give Murray something I didn't have: the comfort of hearing my voice, of hearing Andrea's voice for all these months, then hearing that voice again once she's born. Sometimes now I talk to Murray (mostly saying HEY! that kicking hurts!) and get a little misty thinking that my voice will be (already is) familiar to her, that hearing that voice once she's born will comfort her on what's sure to be a traumatic day. You know, on the day she's born, when she has to leave her little dark whooshy world and emerge into a far brighter and colder one.

I begrude nobody in the story of my own birth, never have. I obviously wound up in the right place and my birthmother was able to do the things with her life she was meant to do. But all that aside, I am insanely thrilled to be able to give Murray something different than I had on my birthday: the comfort of the voices she's known the best.

I have full faith in our ability to give our Murray a host of other things to take issue with, but not that one.

Proof that Andreatan loves me!

Proof that Andreatan loves me!
Originally uploaded by liz2d2.

Like you needed it, but nonetheless, if Snowmen Peeps don't say "I love you and thanks for carrying our baby" well, I don't know what does.


Weekend Highlights
In response to hearing that we're pregnant, I heard the following things:
  • When did you get married?
  • I'm still trying to catch up with how that happened. Me: Sigh. Is there something I can explain for you?
Remember: the classic line: "Congratulations on your decision to start a family" works in ALL cases!

Oh, And
This will be my first Christmas without my Grandma here. How much that sucks I do not think I'll ever be able to put into words.

I Guess I Should Amend That Last One
To say that I have a crapload of work to do this week and the impending arrival of my parents and the sheer volume of drama that's gone into that arrival is making it REALLY HARD to even begin fixing the bugs that may be standing between me and the much-coveted 4th quarter bug trophy.

Christmas = Drama
I know, I know. Any time you're dealing with relatives and holidays it's certian to mean some type of drama. 32 years have borne this out, to some degree, for just about every year that I can remember, with some variety of relatives, close or extended. I'm doing my best to just sit back, relax and enjoy the show, not letting myself get all involved in this year's version but it still makes my blood pressure increase, despite my best efforts.

Happy Fundus, indeed!

What Else Has Been Going On?
Well, late last week I found myself needing to stand up for myself in a couple of ways. The most notable is sort of a long story: for 9 years, I've been with Andrea and for 9 years, some folks have been sending christmas cards addressed to just me. Okay, granted, these folks had met Andrea only once before Grandma's funeral this spring and apparently the person who represents the connection between us hadn't really reminded them that I share my life with a very nice lady named Andrea. Fair enough, but it still smarts every time that card rolls in. This year, things are a little different because I'd seen these folks and pointedly reintroduced them to Andrea's fabulous self. Oh yeah, and we're having a baby. Together.

But there it was, the card. Addressed to me, with a congratulatory note about the baby. Addressed to me only. That was the last straw. I do not want anyone thinking that I'm having this baby on my own or that Andrea is even remotely not part of the picture that is Murray's life. So I took a deep breath, risked causing Great Drama and sent a very polite email reminding the sender of how to spell Andrea's name and asking them to update their address book to reflect our status.

I take full responsibility for the lack of Andreatan visibility in some parts of my life. We're not around a lot of these folks very often and I'm horrible about communicating with them. I admit all of that. I only hope that my email communicated my message without me seeming like an ungrateful ass.

It All Adds Up To...
This weekend was crazy. Wacky, busy and insane, the likes of which I haven't known since I stopped playing hockey. Friday my little group of co-workers had offsite building a house for Habiteet for Humanity. I was totally concerned that the place would be crawling in paint fumes, but alas, the people in the office who told us the place was almost finished haven't been to the site in a while. There was no paint and I spent my day wearing a hard hat and pounding nails under the direction of a guy (Roger) who I swear to you was Napolean Dyn-o-mite in about 40 years. Yes, that means that I also spent the day making snarky comments about bo staffs and tots, encouraging my co-workers to vote for pedro.

How HOT was I in my hard hat? Dude, totally hot.

Friday's festivities pretty much wiped me out. Good thing I had a busy Saturday planned too... Sax Christmas is something my band buddy Ray puts on every year and I hadn't found time to attend until this year, when my hockey commitments are gone. It started with a 2 hour rehearsal at 10, then all 224 (225 if you count Murray) of us played at Christmoose in the Park, followed by another concert at a local mall. The rehearsal included chairs but the two concerts didn't.

As Greg said afterwards "My back is killing me. And I'm only carrying a soprano!" But it was fun, stupid fun, the kind of fun I'd forgotten you could have making music. And wearing funny hats:

Naturally, with it being the holiday season, we couldn't just go home and collapse afterwards, no, we had to go to a party. A party filled with people I didn't know (usually there are a bunch of people we do know and like at this event, but not this year), including one guy who was So Special, So Out Of Touch With The World that our relationship baffled him, let alone the pregnancy, and continued to baffle him even when I made a very concsious effort to get away from him. Seriously, sir. Please look up answers to your rather personal questions about my life on the internet.

Yesterday was my band's Christmas concert, and I must say that I ROCKED my solo, despite my lower lip now being a big mess after playing so much on Saturday. I had a great time, then dashed off to coach Andrea's green game, then scorekeep my team's game right afterwards. Followed by an excellent trip to IHOP. And then sleep, and the requisite evening baby kicking.


Thanks, Tim!
For finding this gem: Cats in Sinks - for all your cat and bathroom needs. Because who doesn't like looking at cats in sinks?

Why Is This Funny?
The hospital where we'll be delivering Murray is a community hospital, which for me is the ideal blend of high-tech and mellow. Reading up on the maternity rooms, I've learned that each suite includes a full-sized shower (are there half-sized showers???) and a BIDET.

The thought of having a BIDET in the room when I give birth has been cracking me up all morning. I'm now eager to go for our tour of the joint, so I can see the BIDET for myself.

I have no doubt that among Murray's first pictures (none of which will include blood, my parts or nudity on my part) there will be pictures of the BIDET.


What's In A Name?
Maybe you're on the edge of your seat, dying to know, then comment on the names we're considering for little Murray. Well, I hope you're comfy there on the edge of your seat because we're not telling. Pretty much every moment of this kid's life so far is captured on the Internet, something has to stay between us (and Murray).

I say this so cavalierly, as if we have a list of fabulous names ready for our wee one. We sure as hell don't. What I want to know is: how do you choose a name for your kid? All of our friends who have had kids have magically chosen the ideal names for their kids, names that suit the kids quite well and names that sound good. How'd you do it? Please share!

We're trying to do the right things: considering what the playground implications are of each name, does it flow well, does it go with the middle names (those we have pre-selected and no, we're not telling those either), is it hard to spell, etc. But as far as knowing in advance that Deiter or Esperanza would be right for *this* kid, how the hell do you know?

Murray's Manger
After much consultation with Jesus about how to get there, it turns out that Jesus only lives a couple of miles from our house. As you might have expected, he was totally nice and even offered to come over and help us set it up. When I mentioned that it's our first baby, he looked from Andrea to I with a little confusion (yes, Jesus, two chicks, 1 baby, you've got it right) but then went back to talking about how much kids cost.

Apparently someone at his work loaned him a newer, fancier crib for #2, who is due in March. Jesus and Mrs. Jesus already have that crib set up -- complete with bedding -- awaiting #2's arrival. I'd like to thank Mr. Coworker of Jesus for that loaner, since it paved the way for Murray's Manger to enter our home.

My mom said we should lysol the crib, at least the sides of the crib, to make it germ-free. Um, really? She mentioned that it would be very easy to do, easy! But with what I know about communicable diseases, I don't think much would still be living there and never mind that we're bringing Murray into a home that contains 4 dogs. Germs are sort of part of the deal at our house. They may be plentiful, but hey, they're our germs.

Anyway, Murray's Manger is now in what will be her room (again, we still don't know but 'her' remains much cooler than 's/he' or 'herm') awaiting the aftermath of Christmas, where all the gifts we've lovingly assembled for our friends and family will be dispersed, clearing the room for the entry of Baby Items. The Manger is also awaiting a mattress and once we do that I guess the kid will need sheets? With some sort of clever theme?

Man, there's just so much to all this baby stuff. We'll get there, we always do.


Holy Carp
I think we're going to go buy a crib tonight. From a nice man named Jesus. And then, someday not all that long from now, we'll put Murray in that crib. As in, there will be a real live baby in our home, in our family. Huh?

The catchiest song ever: The Uncle Liam Show. Thanks Carol. I think.

Murray's First Gift
Okay, it's not really Murray's first gift, but it is the first one off the piddly registry we set up on Amazon. I arrived home last night to find a ginormous box on the porch. At first I didn't look too closely -- since my parents are coming for the holidays, our house has become the clearinghouse for all gifts -- but then I noticed that it was addressed to Murray!

Holy crap! Murray's got mail! I was sooo tempted to open it THAT INSTANT but I waited until after the A-Team 2 game. Andrea and I opened it together and holy crap! It was the super cute diaper bag I'd picked out for Andrea, from none other than the most excellent Susan of Omaha.

Though I have thanked her privately and will continue to do so, I wanted to share the sheer glee that came from seeing actual stuff FOR MY KID, who is going to be a real kid, in our home, in our family, a mere 17.5 weeks from now, made me get all choked up.

The choking up, that was totally the hormones. But the sentiment, the gratitude, the glee at knowing that finally, we're going to be parents who will need a very cool diaper bag. Priceless.


Things That Suck
Though it's never easy or the way you thought things would go, it seems inevitable that in the course of a life, friendships come and go. Some are situational, like a classmate who you lose touch with after the semester ends. Some are just the victims of a Life Change that leaves your interests so disparate that you just drift away because now, when you talk, you struggle a little too hard to find stuff to talk about. They all suck, but they're a part of life.

There's also those blowout endings, where one party does something the other cannot forgive. I've lost a few friends to these over the years, some spectacular ones in the last couple and though the events themselves sucked (again, some WAY worse than others) I get it. Even if we tried to bridge that new-found difference afterwards, in the end we both saw something in each other that made it painfully clear that being in touch was no longer going to work. Sad, yes, but at least we can all pinpoint the moment when it ended and we all are on the same page: the this-thing-here-is-over page.

But then, there's the Mystery Ending. These I like the least. Where everything seems fine, then slowly, your friends are too busy, you're too busy (being pregant, for example), and before you know it, it's been some time before you hung out. Sometimes, this is just what happens when People Get Busy and you reconnect, picking up where you left off.

But right now, we've got this with a couple of friends, only all attempts to reconnect have been snubbed, even laughed at (hey did you want to go to x? followed by laughter, even though last year this friend was a critical part of x and seemed to enjoy it) and treated like we're Satan Incarnate. And hell, maybe we are. But it breaks my fucking heart when you turn your back on me, even though I know full well that in this case, your history is nothing but rubbing people the wrong way and abandoning friendships without telling people why, that during the hayday of our friendship, I had to defend this friend to the many people this person had snubbed in some way.

Note to self: if you have to defend someone that much, there's probably a reason why. Meaning that nobody is exempt. Not even us.

I would love to know what I did wrong, would love the opportunity to make it right or at least to mutually accept that things are over. Instead, we get the cold shoulder and a sad little place in my heart where this friend used to be.

So for the record, if this happens to you and I, please at least TELL ME what I did that's so eggregous that you have to move on. Even if I don't get (or derserve) the chance to fix it, at least we'd all know where we stand.

In the meantime, Sigh. I think a part of me will always miss this particular friend. And wonder what I did wrong.

Gus' New Purse

Gus' new purse
Originally uploaded by liz2d2.

So, this weekend I went on a barely-planned trip to Phoenix. I wanted to help Dena raise money to pay their rescue's vet bill and to visit my friend Pam.

Here's a secret: if you're severely allergic to cats, it's a very good idea to ask your friend on whose couch you plan to crash if she has any. Otherwise, you may find yourself on that friend's steps at 1 am, exhausted, with a belly full of waffles, realizing that the hotel right behind her apartment better have a freaking vacancy.

Not that it happened to me. Noooo...

The weekend was fun, though I'm now completely wiped out and my toes hurt. Huh?

Dena raised some cash and I got to drive around and get lost in Phoenix for a few days. And eat Waffle House.

Dena was nice enough to get the above purse for Gus. It only lasted through the night -- I emerged this morning to a sea of torn up stuffing and a purse toy that was a shadow of it's former self. And most importantly to a Gus who was ridiculously happy.


For All You Baby Einstein Fans
Juile's most excellent parody of the videos is ridiculously funny. I guess if you don't know what Baby Einstein crap is, it won't seem all that funny, but Susan is weeping tears of laughter at it. Rightfully so.

Nice work.

So I'm In This Band...
The Cupertino Symphonic Band, which has been around since 1989. The group started as a surprise tribute to Bob Gomez, former band director at Cupertino High School. Ever since then, the group has practiced at the high school and has enjoyed a good relationship with the current band director and the administration. Our concerts are held in Cupertino, usually to a packed house of Cupertino residents, we share our sheet music with the high school band and give a scholarship to a high school student when finances allow.

Sounds all well and good, right? Well, a couple of weeks ago, when our board member with the key to the room was getting the percussion equipment out of the room for our concert, the alarm went off. Police were called and an assistant principal had to come down to the school on a Sunday to straighted it out. Frank (key holder) almost got arrested and though we worked it out and got the drums to the concert hall in time, apparently the incident didn't sit well with the assistant principal.

So...she took Frank's keys away (he's had them, without incident since at least the mid-90's, if not before) and informed him that after our next concert, if we want to use the room, we'll have to pay for a custodian (who is at the school during this time anyway) and (this is the kicker) we can't use the percussion equipment at all. Um, hi. It's not like anyone keeps tympani at their house. Let alone glockenspiel, bass drums or an assortment of tamborines. Or, more importantly, it's not like we've EVER harmed any of the equipment in 17 years of playing it. Ever. They do more harm to it over the course of a marching band season, when it's schlepped outside for football games.

So...after 17 years, we've been given 2 weeks notice to either vacate the room or pay up every week out of a very meager budget (and not have percussion). Those are our current options. Not even a grace period through the end of our season, nope, just Dec. 18 and we're done.

The board is working feverishly to rectify the situation and remind the current administration of our long-standing good relationship with the school. We're also tracking down the now retired Bob Gomez for his intervention and working every angle we can think of, including inviting the administration to our concert and (for now) not calling in the hounds. We will be making an announcement about this at our concert, hoping to inspire an angry mob of loyal fans to storm the school, demanding that for 2.5 hours a week, a group of well-bahaved adult musicians be allowed to continue rehearsing in their room, continuing to treat the percussion equipment with the same degree of respect and care that we've done all along.

Note: I used real names of our group and of Bob in case someone does search for these things. While we're not yet calling in the hounds, we are looking for all the support we can get in this.


The Grandma Contest
First off, it seems weird to refer to my mom as Grandma, when I'll always think of my own Grandma as the #1 holder of that title. Ever. As in 'my Grandma could kick your Grandma's ass,' which she could, at poker, bridge and gin. And knitting. Other knitters, stand back, she was the Master of Knitting (the priest even said so at her funeral so I know it's true). And crocheting.

But soon, in 22.5 weeks or less, my mom is about to don the role for the first time. I have no doubt that she'll exceed, embracing Murray in all of her (no we still don't know for sure but it's easier to pick a pronoun than write s/he or the even better 'herm') Murray-ey goodness, doting and bragging and loving and showing pictures to strangers the way every Grandma should.

Now that mom has told the world (e.g. all of Central Ohio via a large billboard that screams to all the drivers on 315 Northbound 'MARTI IS FINALLY GOING TO BE A GRANDMA! 5/14/2006!' with a little teeny *what took you so goddamn long? at the bottom. Okay, maybe not quite that elaborate an unveiling, but you get the idea) about Murray's impending arrival, it seems that there's a numbers game among grandparents. As in, oh, you're going to have 1 grandbaby, well, I have 8,000! I've learned how many grandkids have been produced by people I don't even remember or know (the so-and-sos from 1 street over, the checker at Kroger) and it seems that Murray's singleton-ness doesn't compare to the volume other folks kids have produced.

To that, I say p-shaw. So far, all I've committed to is 1. Uno grandchildo. That's it. So y'all better enjoy the fruit o' my loins. Heh, I said loins and fruit in the same sentence.

Life's Little Dramas

Zeus' ear
Originally uploaded by gadgetgrrl.

Last night we came home to discover that once again the dogs have been naughty. They got into the stuff Andrea bought at the bakery and in the process, a scuffle must have emerged. Looks like Zeus was the loser.

We thought for sure that Scooter was to blame but the forensic evidence looks like it's the work of a basset.

We took him back to Adobe, where he'd been saved this spring. He was extra perky on the way up, barking in time to the music while Andrea and I bobbed our heads like gangsters to his melodious song. He also called Cheddah to remind her of his undying love, shown through many barks. The doctor who had saved his life was there, she was totally impressed at how good he looks, and called him their miracle guy. Indeed.

He had to be sedated, had his ear shaved, had blood drawn for good measure, then they glued the worst injury (the one closer to his head), trimmed his nails and woke him up. He was still pretty out of it afterwards and slept, snoring, on my foot the entire way, melted into a little puddle of beagle geezerness on the floor of the car.

He stayed sedated through the night and even skipped dinner when we got home. Yep, that's some strong stuff. I got up at 4 to let him out to pee, then he went right back into his crate (I almost said cube) and slept till breakfast. He emerged perky and barky and I'm confident that he'll be fine.

After all, he's our miracle guy.

Looking for a new business venture? ENTIRE PORN COMPANY FOR SALE !!!. Ahh the joys that appear on eBay...


Emergency Preparedness
So after lunch today, Heather and I are preparing to walk back into the building when we notice a large group of people sporting extremely jaunty orange vests. 'What the fuck?' I say to myself and to her, when it dawns on me that the much-heralded Annual Fire Drill is about to begin.

We stood there for about 5 minutes saying repeatedly 'do you think?' 'could it really be true?' and then squealing in delight when the Orange Vests began to fan our toward the Assembly Areas. It was really going to happen! Lights would flash (hello The Cheat!), sirens would bleat, the stairs would be filled with anxious fire-drillers. Rather than head back into the building (and pee) only to get caught in the giant melee of people coming down the stairs, we decide to go straight to our assembly area and wait for our co-workers to spill out into Area 103. And take pictures of the whole thing.

After we stood out there for like 20 minutes in the FREEZING (e.g. 55 degree) California winter, we knew it was time to return to our Mighty Internet Castle when we saw this guy roll up with the megaphone:

In case you were wondering, megaphones are a crapload louder if you POINT THEM IN THE AIR NOT AT THE GROUND. But I'm not an orange vest wearer, what do I know about Emergency Preparedness? Nothing, except that it's always better to beat the crowd. But that I learned from my mother, who is ALWAYS the first person into a movie theater. Pushing and shoving my way to the front are a gift. Thanks, mom!

In Today's News
Waited 45 minutes for our 5 minute OB appointment. All is well, Murray's heart is thumping like a mad fool and we're now geared up for the Big Ultrasound, where Murray's private parts are revealed to the world.

Stopped home afterwards to pee and the dogs had a very nice surprise for me -- one of Bill's Christmas gifts opened and chewed! Smooth, guys. They also enjoyed some ramen noodles that were so old I didn't recognize them, but they stayed away from this tin of oysters Andrea has had longer than we've been together (mmm, 10+ year old oysters! tasty!). Yep, the bassets are almost 5 but they don't buy that middle-aged dog nonsense for even a second.


More Bitching About Maternity Clothes
I had been warned. I had, and I thought I was prepared but here's a newsflash that even though I knew it was coming: the two things to know about maternity clothes are that 1. they are made with only the cheapest of materials (I don't doubt that for $100 a shirt, women who were a size 4 to begin with could get something better than what my chubby, cheap ass has to choose from) and 2. THEY SHRINK.

That's not fair. I'm certainly not shrinking and yet the few clothes I have are getting smaller before my belly is big enough to outgrow them. I have like 8 shirts that I like (including the Black Shirt that is now missing) and when one of them becomes too small, I assure you, it's a crisis.

It's just going to get worse, I may as well get used to it. And do everything in my power to keep my belly from showing at the end of my shirt.

Oh Yeah
I skated yesterday, coaching at a green practice. I hadn't worn my skates in about a month, sadly they're getting too small but other than that it felt really good. Yes, I stayed out of everyone's way, didn't do a single decent-speed transition (which is what makes me fall about 90% of the time when I do fall, which is rare), I mostly just shot on our goalies. Ahhhh.

I can still shoot, pass and all that jazz. It hasn't left me yet. Though I knew better than to even try to wear my red pants. I wore a Really Big roller hockey girdle and pants I have instead. And those were a little tight. But whatever, I skated. And I didn't totally suck.

That said, I was really grateful when Barb said it was time for them to scrimmage and I could sit down.

Weekend Highlight
Other than taking about a million naps, I went to the mall and found this totally cute outfit at babygap, a two-piecer with an octopus on the ass. That's right, Murrito will be calamari butt.

And yes, of course it was on sale.

So True
We are currently experiencing some problems in ClearCase and looking into those issues.

We hope to have an update shortly.


Riley loves Andrea

Riley loves Andrea
Originally uploaded by liz2d2.

Riley was all about Andrea last night. It was ridiculously cute.

Mmmm, donuts
A tribute to my new-found love of donuts (yes, we've moved on from Nerds to donuts): Donut Time's World Famous Annual Donut Christmas Tree!.


It's true, that expansion in my waist is in fact, not a growing fetus, but instead it's the The Beerbelly. Thanks Tim!

What Hormonal Means
To me appears to be getting absolutely hysterical laughing at the funny shit that Heather, Andrea, Susan, Jennie and myself say in response to funny shit on the Internet. Absolutely hysterical stuff, and my reactions, all exacerbated by pregnancy hormones.

Yes, this means sometimes running to the bathroom for sudden onset urination and it far too often means snorting and laughing way too loudly at my desk.

But seriously, it beats being an unholy bitch or crying all the time.