Apparently This Is Old News
But in case you didn't know, Chewbacca has a blog: UUUHHHGGG-rrrrRRR! And a blog of excellence it is.

Not So Bad
My belly has officially become an Object of Touching. But so far, and with much gratefulness on my part, said touching has only been done by people I know, all of whom have asked to do so. And more specifically, said touching has mostly been done by some really excellent hockey players, including a trio of young hockey phenoms (there are actually 4 in that family but the youngest one has not yet gone for the touching). At one point during our Vegas tourney, Sharon the Burninator reached over to touch my belly for luck, then went on to score. So hey, if Murrita is a goal-scoring-enabler already, who am I to complain?

If Murrita's public insists on touching my belly, I can only hope that the great love of hockey that the touchers have will be passed on to this kid. I'm pretty sure she would think her life sucks if she ends up hating hockey, since she's going to be at the rink a crapload.

Yes, we are the only people who have already bought our due in late spring baby fleece outfits for the rink (see the purple Bunting Bag with stars). That's also why we've registered for fleece things that go on the carseat.

Just in case you were wondering or thought we weren't in touch with the seasons or didn't understand that having newborn in the summer doesn't usually require fleece garments. Now you know why.

It's Like Christmas!
The last two days, and at least 1 day last week, I've arrived to a lovely Amazon box on our doorstep. No, no, they're not addressed to me, Andrea, or even Gus, but to our fair Murrita!

Slowly, those towels, sheets and blankets we've registered for are making their way into our home, into the drawers under her changing table that are already filling up. (I guess it's time to clean out the closet in her room, to make way for more adorable wee items.) Unlike many of the things we buy new for ourselves, Murrita's stuff actually gets put away right away.

Since we're not allowed to marry legally and I'm too cheap to have a commitment ceremony that doesn't change our legal status, I've never experienced the joys of a registry. It's like a daily (or bi-weekly) affirmation that we are loved, that You People are as excited about this baby as we are. And man, that's pretty amazing.


Eating Machine
Seems like Ms. Murrita is enjoying a serious growth spurt becuase I'm eating more and way more often than I have ever in my life. Even when I smoked all that weed.

Sometimes It's Not Enough
I have a feeling this entry will be long because a lot of things have gone on. First off, we went to Vegas for the hockey tourney. Crazy to think that I've gone to that the last 4 years. It sucked SO MUCH to not be skating, to be the one handing out the pucks for the warmup instead of skating.

But that's the deal for this year so I did my best to coachinate. The team played their hearts out and in the end pulled out 1 tie and what should have been a win. Out in 3, but a seriously great effort on everyone's part.

Our Big Night Out was to see KA, which promised a lot of fiery stunts but did not deliver. However, our section usher did an excellent Strong Bad impression, for which I said 'thank you, Strong Bad' many times. He only graced us with acknowledgement at the very end, when he said 'it was The Cheat and we all laughed mucho a lot.

I should mention that this trip was the first time I saw myself in a full-length mirror in quite some time. That was really not all that pleasant a sight. What's also interesting is that my belly button has pretty much vanished, with the last bit seeming to go this weekend. Bye-bye belly button, hello countdown to my truimphant return to hockey this summer.

I should also mention that this trip we tried a new dogsitter, a lady who has them come to her home. I was a wee bit anxious about it, and many of fears, unfortunately, came true. Zeus had his ear bitten (we're guessing by Rainie. Again.), someone puked something that looked like glass (we're guessing it was kitty litter, there was a lot of that shit around) and Patrick decided we were never coming back for him so he barked and whined for 2 nights until she realized that leaving them all in the garage would make them quiet. Or at least far enough away that she couldn't hear them. She also mentioned casually that she'd been gone until 8 am that morning but her mom was there. Um. What The Fuck?

So yeah, once again, we're stuck with Spots or having someone come over. The *only* upside to this weekend's place is that I'm pretty sure they got their medications. And they peed all over her garage.

This is so not in order of the way things happened. We got to the airport yesterday ridiculously early, like 2+ hours ahead. Viv had reminded us how crazy the Sunday security lines in Vegas can be so we had a final buffet, returned the car and headed over to take our turn in the lines. The lines didn't turn out to be that bad for us and we ended up with a good chunk of time in the gate area. However, it wasn't the same for some of our teammates, who got stuck in that damn line for like an hour, barely making the plane. Salut to Viv for saving us from that fate!

Said chunk of time gave me a chance to whip out Andrea's fancy lappy and read blogs on their free airport internet. All fun and games until I checked out Ceej's blog and found this. She was 22 weeks pregnant with twins and miscarried them both on Saturday night. She'd been through a crapload of heartache and pain in the her fertility adventure and we all thought that this time, it would be fine, that she'd emerge with the children she'd been hoping for.

Her sons would have been born right around when Murray is born. They should have been.

I saw the news, tried to hold back my tears, called Andrea over to show her, then without thinking about it, hugged my belly button-less belly. Eventually I wandered off under the guise of getting fro-yo, but really, I just needed some time. Lucky for me, during that time, this crotchety old bitch was trying to get people to sign up for the Southwest Credit Card and shouted at me "LEAVE VEGAS WITH MORE THAN A HANGOVER!" while waving a t-shirt in my direction. I said 'hangover?' and pointed to my (what I thought was obviously pregnant) belly and she said 'MORE THAN YOUR TUMMY ACHE, THEN.'

Thanks. Just what I want to hear when the reality of just how fucking fragile life is, how very hard it can be to bring a little one into the world, how very unfair it is that not everyone can have an uneventful pregnancy followed by the birth of a live healthy child.

I eventually was denied my fro-yo and headed back to our gate, trying to be my usual cheery self for the group. But the thought of what ceej went through just the night before wasn't far from my mind and, I suspect, won't be for a long long time.


5 Years Later
When we first moved into our fine home, early in 2001, it looked like someone had barfed pepto-bismol everywhere so we spent a crapload of time and energy painting. Then we turned our attention to the floors -- lovely hardwood items that had been covered with linoleum in some very unfortunate cases.

We hired a guy to come out, then realized, oh shit. Our ancient power system (knobs and tubes, just like they made standard in the 1930's) wouldn't handle a modern sander. So we scrambled, got a few contractors out to give us an estimate for putting in new power, had many heart attacks, small and large, about the prices they were asking, and in the end, asked our excellent neighbors if we could use their power for the day instead.

The floors came out great and we put aside the expensive and challenging task of finding a good electrician to do it until Later. Well, I am THRILLED to report that it is officially later. At this moment, the good folks from Willow Glen Electric are at our house, installing Phase I of the Great Power Ungrade of 2006, a gigantic service panel with circuit breakers like modern people have, on our house.

Phase II, fixing old outlets, replacing the wiring to our garage light and adding more outlets, comes later, but not too long from now. Thank you, little house, for appreciating in value enough that last year's tearful refinance gave us enough extra cash to pull this off before our baby arrives.

We may even get a disposal and a dishwasher out of the deal. I know, dare to dream.

Let's Go Here!
The town of Alness has a railway station with the station code ASS. Heh.

In yet another training with my compadre Bubbles, I just said out loud in a singsong voice 'I'm searching on du-mp.'

Heh. Can you help me enable the dump?

With the plethora of Cirque shows in Vegas, it's hard to decide which 1 or 2 letters show to attend on our upcoming trip. First, it was O! because well, O! by itself is a funny letter. But sadly, O! is sold out Friday night and I was bereft. Until Viv pointed out KA! so we're headed to KA!

At the rink last night, Andrea goes to me and Cheddah, hey, what show are we seeing in Vegas? And, on cue, Cheddah and I dutifully enact our own renditions of The Chicken Dance from Arrested Development complete with really loud COCA (or in this case, KAKA) noises right there in the Belmont lobby in front of Susan, God and everybody else, laughing our asses off all the while.

What do you bet we'll do that ALL WEEKEND?

Last night I was going to visit babies, scam dinner there, then head up to coach green. But I thought, you know, I should check on Pat, just in case. It's so hard to know -- is stopping home for 15 minutes better than not stopping at all? Would he get worked up that I left and have another seizure?

I discussed it with Andrea and we both didn't really know. But in the end, I went home and yes, I'm glad I did. Pat seemed a little out of sorts, barking at me like he didn't know me (which is different than barking like he does know me, sort of like how Sam and Riley say Quack and Duck, which are similar but different). I wondered if something was up, I checked to see if he was wet, and yep. Fresh pee and of course, the fresh thick drool that goes with it.

Sigh. I cleaned him up, noting the pee spot on the bed he likes the most and trying not to cry at the sight of it. Because there was Pat cleaning to be done. I gave him some valium in the hopes of stopping any more from happening, then called the vet.

Their ruling? Don't bring him in unless he has another one that's really long, like 2 minutes. Because just changing his environment could set him off again. So we hoped for a calm night.

And we got it. The valium worked and though he's still clingy today he's more like himself. About once a year I have to accept, again, that our guy just isn't like other dogs and that he never will be. But for now, he's okay and that's what matters the most.


We were woken up today by a weird noise -- I still couldn't tell you what it is. Rainie was whining outside our door (this is normal) but then running away from it and whining, then coming back. It was totally like a Lassie episode, so I ran waddled out there to ask her "what is it, girl?"

But I knew, we both knew. Patrick was walking around in a daze and when I checked, he was both drooly and had peed himself just a bit. Sigh. Once again, our guy had a seizure and once again, Rainie, his own personal Lassie, brought it to our attention.

The good news? I don't think it was all that big. He was up and about, with only minimal confusion, when I came out to see what was up.

The bad news? He just had one a little over a month ago. And a month before that. Now, maybe we can chalk those up to him being a wee bit sneaky about taking his meds (for years, we could 'hide' it in plain sight in his food and he'd eat it, no problem but lately he was on to us so now we hide it in cheese or baby food and watch like a hawk to make sure he's taken it) but this one? No. He's taken every pill at every meal since mid-December. And we've gone through a lot more cheese.

I have a feeling we're going to need to up his medication. Which makes me soooo sad because really, he's confused enough already. I hate to make it worse. Please keep my little (okay, not that little) guy in your thoughts.


Back in Ohio, people who were begging for money seemed to congregate in a few places -- along High Street, and downtown. Probably some others, but I can't think of any.

But here, there's no boundaries and no matter where you go, it's possible that someone will be asking you for something. A popular story around here involves needing gas to get home or bus fare. When the same guy asked me for bus fare to Santa Cruz outside the gas station near our house, I began to catch on. Finally, I said 'I gave you money for this a couple of weeks ago. But you're still here!' and he slunk off.

But today, leaving Su's Mongolian BBQ, Bubbles and I were approached by what may be an award-winning experience. A grubby dude emerges from the bushes along El Camino to say 'ladies, ladies' and I'm already saying 'no.' He mumbles something about needing to put gas in his car, which is back at the station (there is no gas station in the immediate vincinity of Su's) and I still say 'no, no.'

We get into Betty, under his watchful glare, spurned by my emphatic denial. He glared all the while, then reached into the aftermentioned bushes and pulled out the tall can of Bud he'd been working on before we walked out.

How To Buy A Crib Mattress

Andrea tests the crib mattress

By Andreatan. Saturday, we went to one local baby store and browsed their stack o'mattresses, leaving the last S off for savings. I'd looked before, on the magic day Andrea beat the shit out of some strollers while my mom laughed hysterically, but we didn't buy one yet.

But this weekend marked my transition into the exciting world of carrying a viable fetus. Which means a few things, including

  • that said viable fetus needs socks
  • same child needs mittens so she doesn't scratch the face I can't wait to see
  • said viable fetus needs a mattress to sleep on
So we went shopping. Andrea spent more time with strollers, and in the process we met a lady who had an awful lot of information about each variety of stroller. She was armed with a book, in which she'd made many many notes and her intensity frightened me a little but she was very nice. In the end we only bought a cover for the changing pad that we don't have yet, a crapload of mittens and a really cute waterproof pad.

The next day, we continued our quest for the mattres(s) at our other, much creepier but a wee bit cheaper local baby store. This is the same store where we got Murray's dresser/changing table thing and where my mom got to see a nice man pissing in the parking lot while we went in to pick that dresser up.

Andrea promptly tested our tenative mattres(s) of choice by throwing it on the ground and laying down on it right there in the foyer of the store. It felt pretty good to her, so now Murray has a mattres(s). I am grateful that the largely apathetic sales staff didn't see this particular test method. We also got some other random baby items.

When we headed home to drop the thing off, I updated our registry to remove the mattres(s) we'd put on there and was STUNNED and thrilled and so very touched to see that 8 more items have been purchased. Thank you thank you thank you, Good People Who Love Murray.


Honk If You Love Jesus
And Legos. The Brick Testament features Bible verses enacted with Legos. And this is what I said, that is some excellent work there. That is what I said.


Note to stalkers: now you have my license plate number and can track down my address if you really feel the need. However, it'd be a crapload easier if you'd just send me an email and I'll give you directions.

Anyway. Right after Grandma died this spring, I went over to her house for what I'm pretty sure was the last time. It was hard to be there, knowing she wasn't there. I didn't want to stay but I didn't want to leave. Maybe I'll talk more about that day some other time, but not now. It hurts too much to even think about it.

One of the things I got when I was there was Grandma's expired license plates. I was sure they'd be thrown away in the Great Cleanup so I packed them neatly and brought them home with me. They're on top of my fridge now and even though she hardly drove and certainly never drove fast or recklessly, it gives me some sense of peace to see them there, next to the Frosted Flakes.

And then I got Betty, the Great Love Of My Automotive Life. And I started thinking that really, I ought to get some special plates for her. Because she's SO hot. Sure, I could've gotten some RX-8 themed thing, or something that said HOTBTTY or BUBBLES or EATDUST or LIZSPKS(.com) but none of those options seemed right. I don't really drive Betty all that fast (most of the time) so I don't need the kind of thing that says 'yo, motherfucker! there is a HOT, FAST car riding up your ass.'

No, I needed the one that said 'if Martha was riding in a hot car, giggling at how fast it could be, and Liz could find a way to remember Grandma every time she got into her car...' So I ordered Grandma's plate: D 3 U. A phrase that's largely meaningless, with a rather vague history. One story goes that my uncle ran for judge back in the 60's and his slogan was D(restofhislastname) 4 U. So, the story goes, later he got that license plate and other family members followed suit with slight variations, such as the D 3 U you now see.

There are other stories, the most exciting of which goes 'we're not really sure why we started doing this.' In some ways, I like that one the best.

But at any rate, a vanity plate is my birthright. Or so it became the minute I bought Betty and knew that my Grandma would get a huge kick in the pants knowing that her license is on my hot car, and that I picked the one with the palm tree and ocean on it. Since the farthest west she ever went was French Lick, Indiana, it seemed right.

I ordered the things back in July. Then I waited. Since they came from the DMV, I continued to wait until October, when I finally got a notice saying 'Halleluijah! Your plates have arrived!' It also mentioned that if my car was a lease, ahem, I'd need to get a letter from my leasing company to allow me to get them.

Fine. I actually used the phone and called the nice women at Mazda to get my Permission Slip. Unfortunately none of them got my request quite right and the required Permission Slip never arrived. I had to call THREE TIMES, which for someone who does not enjoy using the phone, is not fun.

During that time, I got more notices from the DMV saying 'get your ass over here or we're going to throw these back into the kiln' and I got more panicky waiting for Mazda to send the much-anticipated Permission Slip.

Last week, I got the final notice from the DMV and did something really wacky in response: I called Mazda during their business hours and actually talked to someone in the Permission Slip Department.

Beverly was nice enough to fax me a Permission Slip and that was it. I made my appointment with the DMV and went over there this morning.

Despite having that appointment, there was still a fair bit of waiting involved. At one point Ms. Window 13 taunted me by putting the plates on her desk, then taking them away and asking me to sit down. During the time at Ms. Window 13's desk, I took the eye test over IM, just for fun. I passed.

Finally, Ms. Window 13 calls me back up to her window, puts the plates in my hot little hands and sends me off to Window 4, where I wait for tags.

Mrs. Window 4 asked me what my plates meant and I said that it was my Grandma's, that she recently died, but that was all I could say. Because I started crying and because the guy who had been breathing down my neck practically shoved me out of the way to get to his moment of glory with Mrs. Window 4.

But none of that mattered. I walked out of the the DMV in a daze, a huge grin on my face and tears in my eyes, went out to the street and put my Grandma's plates on Betty.

Getting them and now having them there was a whole lot more emotional than I'd imagined. And no, I don't think it's because I'm pregnant. It's because my Grandma was more to me than I could ever fully explain. But at least now, there's another little piece of her with me - in a very fun way.


Bassets Are Different Than Beagles
Patrick would rather sit with me and be petted than eat dinner. Alice would never allow for that kind of lovin' leeway.

My love for roast beef and swiss cheese on a bagel in the afternoon is great. Too great to describe adequately, when you get right down to it.

Irrelevant Comment Award
A very nice lady from my band was noting my insane desire not to have to bend down last night and started talking about the joys of being pregnant. She then told me a very funny story about her husband leaving the toilet seat up while she was pregnant with the tuba-playing son who was standing next to her. Meanwhile, I'm thinking, oh right! Guys pee standing up. I forgot because really, life is a lot easier if you're not thinking about how exactly the person next to you pees.

Apparently, the height difference between toilet seat up and toilet seat down was enough for her to not be able to get up again and to require that the aforementioned toilet seat-upleaving husband come and fetch her from the now-unpleasantly lowered toilet.

Funny stuff. Until she followed it up with this: watch out that it doesn't happen to you.

I HAVE SO LOST MY DYKE CARD. Quick! Someone throw a vegetarian potluck that I can attend. I promise to only wear natural-fiber clothing and to be scent-free. And to have lengthy discussions about earthen materials. Just give me my card back!!!


Think About Trucks
I've heard that one way to help premature ejaculation is to think about trucks, or other non-sexual things, like your mom naked. Or your partner's dad naked. I have no idea if it was effective - the boyfriend who used to use that technique didn't seem to have a marked change in performance after the institution of the think about trucks rule, but I've often thought about it and had a small chuckle to myself.

Now I'm sharing that particular chuckle with you, not because I wanted any of you to harken back to my long-ago ill-fated attempts at a heterosexual lifestyle, but because, these days, almost nothing sets me to laughing so hard that there are a myriad of risks: uncontrollable flatulence, to the beat of my laughing, wetting my pants or what happens the most: laughing uncontrollably until I weep, then laughing even more until I have to remind myself to breathe.

Heather just did that to me again and I stopped myself from laughing by thinking about trucks. So, at least for laughing, that shit works.

And I remain extremely grateful that the pregnancy hormones that drive other women to cry or be an unholy bitch leave me in stitches. I hope that means our daughter will love to laugh as much as we do. Because in our family, there's certainly no shortage of chuckles.

Progress Meter
Today, Murrita is 23.5 weeks along. On Sunday, that will be 24 weeks, which means that if something horrid happens and she's born now, she'd have a chance at surviving. We don't discuss how realistic that chance is of her emerging from an ordeal like that intact, we just state the above fact.

I seem to have gotten a lot bigger in the last week. I really thought it was the jeans I was wearing yesterday, but now that my belly still looks *that* big, even in other jeans.

And yes, I waddle. Pretty much all the time.

To the nice person who brought Krispay Kremes in to the office today, I thank you. And to my co-workers who left one tasty donut intact for the pregnant lady to enjoy, I thank you more.

Early this morning I heard that our fair Scooter has arrived safely and is at last reunited with his family.

Also early this morning, I had the Longest Pee Of My Entire Life. It was so long that I started to fall asleep twice during the event.


awww puppy teeth! heh, i love hounds. =)

Small Piece O' Progress
I called Japan Airlines Cargo in San Francisco to see if they knew what happened to Scootah on the other end of his flight. Without an airbill number, I couldn't get the whole story but I did find out that he made it to Tokyo safely. Apparently, there would be some sort of note if there was an incident. So that's comforting. Sort of.

No Answers
Before we sent Scooter, I told his family I wouldn't do it unless they promised they'd write to me when he arrived. They said they would, and I shipped him off to his long journey.

He arrived in Tokyo last night and so far, I've heard nothing. Nada. I've emailed the transport company, his family, and now battled with the transport company here to figure out if he's okay or not. The upside? I got to hear some really excellent on hold music -- home on the range played on some bizarre casio keyboard -- and be greeted with 'mushi mushi.'

All novel, but please, someone, tell me he's okay, that he's with his family again, happy and safe.

Old Home Week
We ended up spending most of the weekend watching the most excellent quality hockey at the MLK tournament. There were girls as young as 7 playing, little squirts with goalies whose heads didn't meet the crossbar. There were also a slew of 14, 16 and 19 year old teams, the cream of the crop for their age groups. That was some excellent hockey, until we turned to watch a women's team play. Then, I hate to say this, but my peers, we are SLOW compared to those kids. Slow.

Over the course of the weekend we ran into a bunch of people we used to see more often. The most notable encounter was me sharing the fact that I'm not playing in the tourney, or at all right now, with one of these folks. I revealed my belly to explain why I'm currently out and got a really special response: 'I didn't know there was someone special in your life'

Um, that would STILL be Andrea. I think the question really was 'how did you get sperm?' But what a ridiculous way to say it. Though I thought to myself 'what the fuck?' I just said, no, it's still Andrea, and added that some frozen sperm helped us along. She went on to say something even better: 'neither you or Andrea strike me as the type to want kids.'

Seriously, even if you're thinking that, why the fuck would you EVER say that out loud? There were a million responses I could've given, I could have said you know, lady, we're not really friends, when I spent the most time around you, I had pushed aside the desire to have kids (something I've had since I was about 12, thanks) because Andrea and I weren't in a place to do this just then. I could have said 'wow, that's a really stupid thing to say to someone who's already pregnant, and obviously by choice.' But I didn't.

I also saw some of my former Seals teammates and chatted nicely, as I was raised to do, to be polite even when it's hard. All was going well until one of them asked me if they could borrow my jerseys, because they were having a hard time matching for the upcoming regional tournament. Sorry, I said, what happened with me and this team will never sit right with me and I'm not interested in helping the group at all.

Yes, I actually said that out loud. At the moment it was most relevant. And in a very polite, but firm manner.

The thing is, I don't ever loan out my jerseys. To anyone. For most of my jerseys, this is because they're #1, since my Alice was #1. I wear that number to honor her and I'll be damned if anyone else is going to wear them. But my Seals jerseys, they're #9. I'm not a #9. I don't have any bond at all with that number, but I still won't loan them out.

It was cathartic to have the chance to say that, to get past all the 'she has some nerve' comments, say my peace and put more of that behind me.

I also had my belly touched about a million times this weekend by our friends teenage daughters. The weird thing is, it didn't really bother me. Probably because I know these girls, they're not strangers and their enthusiasm for little Habiba was pretty cool.

And while we were answering hard questions, seeing people we used to know and having my belly touched, we saw a crapload of high-class hockey.


Sayonara, Scootah
This morning at 7:30, a very nice man from the Animal Transport agency pulled up in front of our house to collect the Scooter, who had been with us since September. His family had moved back to Japan after about a decade here and in order for Scooter to join them, he had to wait out the rest of his rabies quarantine. From what I understand, he could have done this with a family in the US or in a kennel in Tokyo. Since Scooter knew us (we'd fostered him way back, then placed him with this family), our house was the right choice.

Except of course, that he's sort of a big pain in the ass when it comes to other dogs, so it wasn't paradise. But it also wasn't a cage. In the last couple of weeks, he had absolutely come to think that his family had forgotten him. It broke my heart that there aren't words he understands to say 'don't worry, little guy, you'll be in Japan soon.'

Today, it was hard to put him in the hands of other people who weren't his family, to know that I'd have to trust a team of strangers to get him from my house in San Jose to his new home halfway around the world. To know that the little guy we pulled from a shelter back in 2002 was headed to a faraway place to finish the journey he was meant to was pretty big, but the logistics had me worried. Would he be too cold in cargo? Would he get to eat when he arrived? Would he be too freaked to eat? Would his family pick him up as soon as possible? I did what I could from here -- tracked his flight all day and fretted. I'm pleased to announce that he's just landed. Even though he may have to wait a little while for his family to pick him up, he's now surrounded by his people -- Japanese-speaking people who remind him of his family, and, I can only hope, give him the promise that soon, he'll be with the family he adores. Forever.

His last little footprints down the path in our yard.

Not Much To Say
Because it's been a really nice, really mellow hockey(watching) filled weekend. More from the ranch tomorrow, when I'm back in the office.


The Name Game
We remain clueless about what to name this kid. Current fake high rankers are Habiba and um, that's it. As for real high rankers, well, no, we're not going to tell you. But, it's frustrating because anything we come up with, anything we like for even a moment quickly fades or we lose interest and then, it's back to Habiba. Or Roberta.

In the meantime, thanks to an extremely careful set of choices about my dinner last night, I enjoyed a realtively heartburn-free evening. That makes 1, count em, 1 night since September where I haven't felt some degree of stomach discomfort. Suh-weet.

My friend Jen said that it wasn't until 6 months into her pregnancy until she felt good. That kind of experience is not what they say in the books and for it, I am grateful. For it means that I'm not alone.

Bubbles and I are in training for our upcoming (alleged) move to a new group and more often than not, when discussing UNIX commands our instructor says 'just type man.' And every time he says this, I lean over to Bubbles and say 'man...' with a deep sigh, as if I'm about to gripe about something.

But I don't, I laugh instead. Because we're cool like that.

Last night, yet another gift arrived for Murrita from one of you loyal readers! Holy crap! Thanks, Jen, long time reader from back east. My mom would be extremely proud to know that we (okay, Andrea, while I walked around shaking my Tums at Patrick to stop him from barking) sat down right away and wrote out a thank you card.

This registry stuff? It's like Christmas, but anytime. It's awesome, thanks!!!!


You Know
It's ended up being a pretty busy week, as far as work goes. Kind of a variety and some new stuff, too. Not bad, considering I'd wondered how slow it would be.

What was I thinking? Nothing about the main project I work on is ever simple, or slow.

Once Again
In lieu of scads of actual new content, I give you yet another stolen meme:

What were you doing ten years ago?

  • Living in Portland, in my Best Apartment Ever, and I had no one to share it with, save my crazy ex who would taunt me with notions of getting back together or at least of having some sex, then leave me there in that fine apartment, alone, having not had any kind of two-person sex whatsoever. I worked retail, hawking shoes for about 80 hours a week, being berated by a horrible district manager (who eventually got fired and had his wife leave him), going to all the dyke bars in Portland with my lone 'friend' who loved to do her crank and drink until she passed out. I spent much of this time wondering where exactly I'd gone wrong and if I'd ever get to have that sex.

    Yes, I had indeed met none other than Andreatan then, but the way I felt about her was simply more intense than I could bear to address, especially with all that unfinished messiness with my ex going on. We could've probably tried to have a meaningless fling when I visited her a few times that horrible year but I like to think we both knew better -- that our connection was worth a shitload more than some quickie weekend thing. And whaddya know? 10 years later you betcher ass that we were both right about that.

    Lest you think that it was all gloom and doom that year, there was the day I decided a particularly butch security guard at my local Safeway was hot, boldly told her so, only to be greeted with a toothless grin and some scary converstation. Oh wait, I was supposed to tell a *good* story about that time.

    Here's one: that time ended when I decided to move back home to Ohio, visiting Andrea on the way. I never left and that decision, to stay and take a chance on a life with Andrea is one I've never regretted. Not even when she pinches me real hard.

What were you doing one year ago?

  • Buying sperm. Charting. Trying in vain to change my eating habits to increase my fertility. Never once doubting that we were doing the right thing. Even later, when my afternoons and evenings were a sea of nausea for 20 weeks, I didn't doubt that.

Five snacks I enjoy:

  • Beef Jerky
  • Root Beer
  • A real beer after hockey (yes, I miss both of those things a lot right now)
  • Bananas
  • Cereal

Five songs to which I know all the lyrics:

  • The theme from Love Boat
  • The theme from the Mary Tyler Show
  • The theme from Facts of Life
  • Jingle Bells
  • Every song on House of Pain's first album

Five things I would do if I were a millionaire:

  • Pay off our house
  • Pay off my student loans
  • Add a bathroom to our house
  • Set up a college fund for Murrita. One that has enough $$ to cover everything.
  • Have a really robust 401k

Five bad habits:

  • Passing gas in whatever way necessary whenever necessary. Pregnancy has made discretion in this matter impossible.
  • Waiting too long to pee when I'm working at my desk
  • Not excersizing when it means something other than hockey
  • Not cleaning our house well enough or anywhere near often enough
  • Um. Dunno.

Five things I like doing:

  • (these days) Sitting in my bed, propped up to minimize heartburn and watching TV
  • (in Other Days) Playing hockey
  • Going to movies
  • Laughing with Andrea
  • Watching Sam and Riley grow up into some Damn Funny little girls

Things I would never wear, buy or get new again:

  • Um, you know, I don't have anything to offer this. We've gotten most of our baby equipment used, asking only for new sheets, towels and blankets. Next?

Five favorite toys:

  • Betty Shinka
  • My ipod, which apparently is now like, totally outdated and huge in size but rocks my workday nonetheless.
  • My red hockey pants, which I miss desperately
  • My sidekick
  • Um. Looks like I stopped with 4. But they're a really good 4.

Looking obsessively at infant car seats (even though we've both chosen the pink and remain happy with it, I keep looking) I just realized that for sure a year from now, probably less, little Ms. No Name (yet) will have already outgrown the carseat I'm spending way too much time thinking about.

Woah. The upside is that I'll be back to playing hockey by then, too.

The Pontiff Reclaimed
A while back, Miles had dubbed Gene Shalit the Pope of Localization and enshrined the critic by posting a large picture of him above Miles' desk for Bubbles and I to admire as we passed by. There were extensive plans for a pontiff hat to be created, complete with mustache and big glasses. I eagerly awaited the Day of Completion. But then Gene said Bad Things about Brokeback Mountain (a movie I haven't seen but that the idea of makes me chuckle, remembering the South Park interpretation of independent films -- gay cowboys eating pudding) and we removed him from his post, replacing him with Jamie Farr. If for no other reason that the fact that Farrrrr makes a grrrreat pirrrrrate (Buccaneer American) name.

But alas, the Pontiff has been reclaimed! Sir Gene apologized for those naughty things and that's good enough for us. He's back on top!

Murray On The Move
Murray was all a-flutter last night, doing her little dance across my belly. Were I a skinnier girl, I think Andrea could have enjoyed the show, but no matter how we tried, it is not yet meant to be.

We keep asking Murray what her name is but all we get is AFBKNAFBOJAEFKMAGAONG.


Where I've Been
In short, yesterday I was so tired I couldn't stand up. Wobbled at the car, then decided it was a good idea not to try and drive, so back into the house and into my bed I went for a day of sleeping.

Today I've been in meetings ALL DAY. Let me say that again ALL DAY. Including one with my (potential) new group that became a full-on grilling rather than the meet and greet I'd been expecting. HTML? Sure, I can do that on the fly on a whiteboard. But forms and javascript? Nope. Not my events. So I probably looked like a tool, even though the code I do do for work is usually very solid. Sigh.

And all the while a toffee crunch was going to waste at my desk because I had thought I'd be back after only a short time, instead of 3 a hour tour.


Finally, We Have Picked A Name!
Andrea: i want our kid to be named AFBKNAFBOJAEFKMAGAONG
Liz: how do you pronounce that?
byndtan: oh, you pronounce that "fhqwhgads"
And so it is that our daughter shall be named AFBKNAFBOJAEFKMAGAONG.

I'm Sure You Were Dying To Know
That we did find a childbirth class we can live with. It's taught by someone who my doctor's office brings in, a woman who claims to use humor in the teaching process. If there's one thing I like when talking about bodily processes and fluids for 8 hours on a Saturday, it's humor. So we'll check that out and if it turns out to be a waste of time, well, next time we'd just skip that.

Oh wait, right. There won't be a next time. Because nausea DOES NOT end with the first trimester.

Avoiding Creating New Content
Four jobs I've had:
  1. Assistant Manager at a horribly decorated movie theater. Was fired when the new-in-town manager decided to hire his girlfriend for my position. The pair was fired not long after.
  2. Sold shoes at the now-defunct Just For Feet and the still around Foot Locker. Hello, vericose veins and 80 hour work weeks in a strange town. And a lot of shoes and shoe accessories.
  3. 3 days of real fun as some sort of web content person at the world's 2nd worst startup. I quit after 3 days and never looked back, except to say 'wow, I should have quit sooner.'
  4. My current job, which more than makes up for 6 years of horrid startups that were complete with underdeveloped technologies, managers who were just plain mean and a horde of really ridiculous business plans.
I could say more but the meme only calls for 4 so there you are.

Four movies I've seen more than once:

  1. LA Story. It's still my favorite, even after all these years.
  2. Beaches. What can I say? It made the straight girl I adored in high school hold my hand. You'd see it again, too, for that kind of action. I think that's it. So 2.
Four places I've lived
  1. Columbus Ohio
  2. Bowling Green Ohio
  3. Eugene Oregon
  4. San Jose CA
Four TV shows I've seen more than one episode of
  1. Six Feet Under. About which I still say, at least once a week "I really miss that show"
  2. The L Word.
  3. ER. We still keep watching because, well, it's still on.
  4. Babies: Special Delivery (what can I say, I'm cramming)
Four places I've been on vacation
  1. Siesta Key Florida
  2. Orlando Florida, and yes of course, DisneyWorld. Twice. Ahhh....
  3. Vancouver BC
  4. Sydney Australia
Note: Shanghai China is not included on this list because no matter how I wanted it to be, it was most certainly not a vacation. Hawaii is not on this list because we haven't gone there.

Four Favorite Foods

  1. Curry Noodles with beef at Pepper Lunch
  2. The now-defunct shabu shabu at Kingswood
  3. Toffee Crunch
  4. Pasta in a tasty marinara sauce. Post pregnancy, I imagine I'll go back to foods that require a bit more chewing. At least I hope so because I miss them.
Four places I'd rather be
  1. In bed, watching bad tv.
  2. At DisneyWorld
  3. At Disneyland
  4. Giggling somewhere with Andrea.
The four CDs I listened to most recently (the ipod on constant shuffle makes this sort of moot but I'll give it the old college try. Just for you.)
  1. Moby, Play
  2. Esquivel, Space Age Bachelor Pad
  3. Fatboy Slim's latest, can't remember what it's called
  4. Israel Kamakawiwo`ole live in concert
Last four vehicles I’ve owned
  1. Betty Shinka, the great love of my automotive life.
  2. A Jeep Liberty that I wanted to love. But couldn't.
  3. A VW Passat that I really liked, thought I loved until I met Betty.
  4. A VW Jetta, the first brand-new car I ever owned and the car that showed me the joy of warranty work.
Things in my life that come in fours
  1. Dogs. Rainie, Patrick, Zeus and Gus, if you're counting.
  2. 4 on 4 penalty kills
  3. Wheels on Betty
  4. The horrid underwear from Motherhood that is now the only stuff that fits.

Thanks, Miles
The world needs to see this:

Well, That Was Interesting
My weekend, that is. Sort of. Okay, not really. I did make some stunning observations, though:
  • Motherhood Maternity has a return policy to rival the extensive limitations placed on that legendary toy Happy Fun Ball. Thanks to that, I now have a pair of too-small overalls that I can't wear or exchange. Woot.
  • This is the more interesting revelation. People who don't have kids are 1000 times more likely to talk out of their ass about the childbirth/child rearing process than those who do have kids.
    Case in point: talking to a friend's wife yesterday, she mentioned that nausea ends after the first trimester (YES, I KNOW THAT PEOPLE SAY THAT. OH HOW I WISH THAT WAS THE CASE FOR ME.). She also asked if we were planning 'natural childbirth,' a phrase that I take serious issue with. Because if you don't do 'natural' what's the alternative? Unnatural? A birth that results in a little baby with a tail, or horns? This woman also felt the need to share an absolute horror story about her friend's birth, a birth I already knew about since the friends' husband works with me.

    But let me tell you, all you child-free folks out there with horror stories, DO NOT SHARE THEM WITH THE PREGNANT PEOPLE. WE DO NOT NEED TO KNOW.

    Given that, and the need to fill converstation with people, I will expand my list of preferred conversation pieces to include the tried and true 'congratulations on your decision to expand your family' and now, 'when is your due date?' and 'where are you registered?'

    Given my current perspective on the subject, to anyone who I've EVER said anything stupid or horrific about childbirth to, I apologize with every fiber of my being, down to my ill-fitting maternity clothes.

  • Not everyone knows about the show Jackass. The people who don't know that show make vague, unsupported claims about 'doing something' with their lives.
  • You can pee a lot more than you ever imagined possible.


Different For Everyone
I'm not the only person With Child around here, there's another lady who is slighty more pregnant than I am. Bubbles and I saw her while we were out picking up a banana phone and I was so stunned at how very grownup she looks, with her nice maternity outfits and plate of whole grains.

I took a mental note of her getup, then thought about the Taxidermy shirt I'm wearing today -- the one that features a beaver, taxidermy and Top Quality Mounting -- and I thought, hmm, there's more than one way to become a parent. We're all going about this just a wee bit differently.

Bubbles Speaks
it's hard not to love people drinking
and riding bikes

For No Real Reason
Other than being really tired, I'm glad we have a weekend starting very soon.

Bubbles and I have been trying to swtich groups here at work since Murray was but a wee spec. Lots of discussions, negotiations and more discussions have gone on for 18 weeks now and finally, without any warning at all, we're going NEXT WEEK.

It's definitely a good move for me (and Bubbles, too, I assume) but wow. That's fast. And slow.


Irrelevancy: Impacted
At work, a fair number of the bugs Bubbles and I work on include a description that includes the word 'irrelevancy' and explanations that the bug in question impacts the irrelevancy. We spend a lot of time lamenting irrelevancy, then correcting it.

With the recent upward trend in comments (which is cool), I started thinking about the ones that aren't quite on-topic and evaluating how I really feel about that. On one hand, comments add to the overall bloggyness of the blogging experience, which is good. I, after all, like blogs. However, this being my site, it seems only fair that I should have the ultimate poetic license. After all, I pay the bills, do the design (with a little help from the template) and of course, provide the most excellent and amusing high-quality content.

Given that, I've deleted some off-topic comments. It's not that I don't love you, it's that I would just rather have mostly on-topic commments here. Take no offense, I just didn't want you to wonder what had happened.

I Guess I Could Mention
That since I started this whole grad school thing, there have been Major Changes in my department. When I first started, I was welcomed with open arms by Maureen, the Queen of Recreational Studying, an excellent mentor, a friend, a scholar in her own right (her work on Ren Faires and auctions is the stuff of legend. No, I'm not kidding.) She was everything you'd want your grad advisor to be.

When my world exploded that first winter, she was there to pat my arm and help me through it. When APA style was utterly baffling to me, she explained it in layman's terms so it made sense the first time. And again the second time when I couldn't remember. All was well until some bureaucratic bullshit went on and with almost no notice, she was forced into early retirement.

Now I'm stuck with Mr. Heyman, who is not a very good teacher, has no idea about how the university works for grad students and with whom (obviously) I have not bonded much. That just doesn't help.

Maureen is still helping with my thesis but in the end, my fate is up to Mr. Heyman. Maureen was replaced as Dept. Chair by a lady who still hasn't introduced herself to us. Didn't come into a class, didn't set up a reception, nothing. So as the wine cooler guys used to say, Thanks For Your Support.

The Plan
Insipred by the incompletes my inaccessible advisor, Mr. Heyman, gave me for last semester, I whipped out an extension cord, my lap desk, my starting-to-die laptop, the edited version of my thesis and the articles I'd been half-reading since August. And I got to work, making the suggested changes through page 9 of the behemoth that is my Life's Work.

For now, I'm taking it one step at a time: shooting for doing about an hour's worth of work each day, probably not every day, but at least getting in the habit of at least looking at it and thinking about it while I'm parked in bed at night. I won't sign up for any new credits, I'll work on completing the Incomplete ones I have now.

Small goal: get it to where grad studies approves it and I can do my study. I won't think about how motivated I may or may not be to actually do the study after that. However, once it's to that point, I'll only need to do the study (online survey) and collate my results, then write two chapters.

Just gonna take it a chapter at a time. That's the best I can do. And if somehow I pull this off, I will proudly march, Murray in tow, just to say 'hey kid, your mom finished something.'


Owning Up
I did pretty much no work on my thesis this fall. Yes, I read a few articles and thought about new theories to use to augment the rather limited one I'm using now. But that's it and at this point, I'm pretty confident that I won't finish my master's.

I know what you're thinking -- you're only a thesis away from getting that damn degree, you should totally finish -- and that's what I'm thinking too. Except that I really, really do NOT care about my subject anymore. It was a reach for me all along and now that I have this job, I realize I'm actually happy working in technolog, that it would take an act of God to get me to a place where I could work in the public sector in any capacity. I think it's my inability to tolerate bullshit that would always stand in my way.

I so should have gone for a Master's in English. I knew it then but I hoped I could start a new career and somehow be different? Yet along the way I realized that I like my semi-nerdy self the way I am.

So now I'm 3 credits and a study away from finishing a degree I don't want. What to do?

The Religious Right Thinks Too Much
ABC News: Barbie Accused of Being Part of the Transgender Movement. I mean really, who has the time to sit around and look for shit like that, then single it out in some tirade. And why is it so bad to think that little transgendered kids might actually be aware of their own plights early on? I suspect many Trans folks do, though they probably wouldn't give the 'I don't know' answer, since they do know -- they're just in the wrong body.

My last two posts have generated more comments than any other posts, even than the one where I announced that I'm pregnant. So am I correct in thinking that a potential haircut is more interesting than an impending baby?


Time For A Change?
Back in the day, I used to wear my hair like this. You know, dykey enough that nice dykes on the street knew right away that I was one of them, but not so short that it scared small children or made them wonder who that man was.

I've also had a blonde version of that same haircut that made the entire nation of China wonder who that big American man was at least until I walked into the women's bathroom and a slightly blonder blonde version that was a reaction to having The Worst Job In The Entire World and wanting something, anything to be different. At one point, I even made a movie about my hair. When I got home from the China trip, I permed it (no pictures available, sorry) and from that point, grew it out until today, it's pretty damn long.

But now, it's really gotten too long and I'm ready to shave it all off. Except every pregnancy book I've read says not to do this because it will not wind up looking the way you want it to. No, the way I want it to look was the way the hairstyle I'm thinking of looked when I was about 40 lbs lighter. I get that but ugh! I want this mane off my neck NOW.

I think when the haircut trailer rolls into the parking lot at work next, I'll go out there for a bold and daring 3-4 inch trim. Just to see what happens.

Happy New Year
I know what you're thinking, you're thinking, Liz, I bet you and Andrea partied your ASSES off on New Year's Eve. And to that thought, I'll respond OMG, you're right!

But you're not. We had a very mellow day, sleeping in, making a fuss over Rainie, Patrick and Zeus, all of whom had birthdays on 12/31. Can you believe that our Roos are now 5 and that the Z man is 13? I can't. Wasn't Rainie just 16 weeks old and coming home with us on the plane? Wasn't Pat just coming to live with us after a year with people who dumped him back with Dena (and every day I thank God that they did)? Wasn't Zeus just an old guy without a birthday until I found his old collar and did some research?

But I digress. After making those fusses, we headed over to Babies R Us, where I was FINALLY able to park Betty in the Stork Parking spot. We got the beep gun, heard their spiel about registering for 'girl' items (yes, of course, pink), then went apeshit, changing our piddly registry from like 20 things to well over 100.

Before you gasp and call us greedy bitches (which I suppose you could do anyway, just for fun) we hardly need any Big Items that cost a crapload. We got most of those from Susan and have them waiting eagerly in our garage. And of course, the crib we got from Jesus. So our registry is largely towels (some of which are for 'boy' because they're blue or have puppies. We're still having a girl but goddamn it we like puppies and the color blue so there.) sheets (which I'm convinced we need a zillion of -- we have a zillion sheets for ourselves, why shouldn't Murray have the same level of variety?) and blankets because as Amy says, everyone needs blankets. I guess we asked for toys, too, and the one item that will shock you: a pink car seat. Yeah, what the hell is wrong with us? Will we lose our dyke cards for this?

Andrea had a fabulous time using the beep gun and I suspect, used it sort of randomly for a few items. If you asked for our theme, I can tell you what it is now: it's not having to do laundry all that often. Hence all the sheets, towels, washcloths and blankets. Maybe it's not as fancy as other people's themes but it's one that should suit us well.

Most of the other parents didn't really blink at us, but apparently one woman did, then rushed over to her husband to murmur something, probably about those lesbians over there, what were they doing with a beep gun. I can only hope that encounters like that will be few and far between and that none of them will happen with any of the Murrita's schoolmates.

Because it's one thing if you're an ignorant jerk to me. I can (and will) talk back and speak up for ourselves whenever necessary. But Murrita? She shouldn't have to, though I have a sinking feeling she'll wind up needing to at some point. But hey, every kid winds up with some cross to bear, no matter how much you want to prevent that. (I don't mean to be flip about that, but it is true. Think about crosses you had to bear as a kid, that you may still have to bear today. And you probably didn't have gay parents. At least for Murrita, that shit is up front from the start.)

After our Beeping Adventure, we went to visit the girls, once again surprising a pantless Susan. We left, had a nice thai dinner then went home and were tucked into bed at 11:30. Just in time for the true partiers up the street to set off a crapload of illegal fireworks that bothered only Scooter. That's right, Mr. Everything Loud Freaks Me Out (Gus) and Mr. Epilepsy (Patrick) were so tucked in that when I went to check on them during Firecrackerpolooza, they gave me this 'why the fuck are you bothering me?' look and went back to sleep.

My uncle used to (and may still) say that on New Year's Eve, he liked to go to bed early and wake up knowing that the next morning, it was the new year. That's the kind of New Year we had and I tell you what, it was nice. Like mutton.

Happy New Year, you 3.


This Will Take You An Hour To Read
2006: Year In Review
For the record, I'm starting this on 12/13 in the vain hope that it will be done by the end of the year. Because I thought someone should know my good intentions.

I was pregnant. And some people (mercifully, very few) decided that they need to touch my belly. We also finally upgraded the power in our house so we didn't have to worry all that much about it burning down when we used things like computers or televisions. We bought a crib mattress that, to this day, has been used but a handful of times. Though it's quite nice.

Being pregnant and having long hair combined to strip me of my dyke card. I laughed a lot. Late in the month, we picked Valerie's name but for the first (and only, really) time in my life, I kept it a secret until she was actually born. A long-time reader we'd never heard from sent Val a gift, her busy bugs that she loves to this day.

We discovered that Susan didn't know about Jackass. We rectified this situation by dragging her to the movie later in the year. I started the first stages of accepting that I probably won't finish my Master's degree.

People kept asking me about being pregnant. Gus got a tumor in his butt. Lizspeaks turned 6. That means I've had quite a lot to say to the 3 of you over the years. I bitched about ClearCase. I moved to a new group at work. Carol quit work, and that sucked.

We got a ton of baby clothes for Val (who at this point was named but we didn't tell you). I hit the third trimester, ushering in a host of back problems, special heartburn but bringing us closer to the arrival of Val.

Sam said Auntie Liz for the first time. I started a ticker to count down the reappearance of corn, if I ate it. I waved at Criddle on the video conference. I ate a lot of nuts. Nuts.

We picked a pediatrician for Val, sort of at random. So far, we're pretty happy with our choice. I remembered the Hamster dance. Riley said 'Groovy' and Sam raised the roof. On the same day.

Val practiced breathing about a zillion times and got the hiccups a lot. We got a lot of pressure from people to reveal her name. I'm still proud that we waited to share that until she arrived. I dreamed about playing hockey and wearing my red pants. I'm thrilled to say that I'm living that dream now. Another dream we had then was to have Val via an unmedicated Hypnobirth. That so didn't work out the way we hoped but I'm still glad we tried. I'm also glad I had an epidural eventually.

Our Shower. I think this deserves it's own paragraph. Y'all showed up in droves, bringing a bazillion wee things for Val. The place was packed, it was totally a standing room only and I was, I am still, touched beyond belief at how many of our friends came out to celebrate Val's impending arrival.

Sinks got harder for me to reach. I turned 33, starting the year off right by waking up with a horrific leg cramp that still gives me sympathy spasms today. AmyFritzBrown wore a headscarf in honor of Rhoda. I took many naps. Andrea finally moved up to Red. Grandma's house sold. When we drove by at Thanksgiving I was relieved to see that it mostly looks the same from the outside.

I lamented the lack of Sugar Smacks in the variety packs of little cereal boxes. I got more pregnant. So pregnant, in fact, that it was just about time to have ourselves a baby. I packed a birthing bag to take to the hospital.

The girls thought Gus was a cow. Bill continued to help Val grow via a series of tasty dinners. We tried not to get concerned that Val wasn't dropping in preparation for making her arrival into the world. For the record, she never did drop, not even a little.

Val gave us a huge scare when she did a huge flop then stopped moving for an hour. I'm pretty sure this was the event that got her quite wedged at a weird angle.

We took a breastfeeding class where we learned that when you have a baby, milk comes out of your boobs. This was confirmed when we had a baby and milk did indeed come out of my boobs. I went on maternity leave. We slept for like 45 minutes at a time because I was getting up to pee, because some body part fell asleep or Val kicked me with great gusto.

Gus' health continued it's decline. We tried not to think about what that meant. We learned that Val would probably arrive right on or around her due date, not anytime before it. We rounded out the month by remembering Grandma, one year after she died.

Gus got sicker. Val continued to make no real sign of appearing. For about the first time during el pregnancy, I didn't feel all that bad. I guess I finally got used to it at the end there.

We were warned that our lives would change once Val arrived. We scheduled our induction, though we didn't blog about the date of it because it seemed more manageable to leave that vague. Our phone line and dsl went down at the same time, right before we headed to the hospital. Awesome, because you don't need to make phone calls or use the internet once you have a baby.

My belly button stayed an innie. We started the induction. It hurt. A lot. Val's heartbeat dropped a lot after about a day of labor. Finally, after 31 hours of fun and an emergency c-section, the world became a better place:

I chopped off all my flowing locks. And didn't sleep much. But it was so worth it.

I FINALLY CAME BACK TO PLAYING HOCKEY!!! 3 hours ahead of my July 1 goal, I was back. Slow? Yes, oh yes, the slowness. But back just the same.

Gus died.

Val got her 2 month shots. That sucked. It was hot. A rude little girl at McDonald's thought I was a boy. Hello, short hair! Carol's mom died. I'm still so sorry to say that, to have it be true.

I think this link kind of sums up the rest of the month.

The girls got a bunch of Sesame Street dolls and shared them with Val.

People wanted to touch our baby. That still makes me twitch. And it should! The one day I passed her around a work party she got sick.

Val discovered Sesame Street. And had a giant poo.

My last month of maternity leave. I look back on September fondly because I didn't feel like total shit but I didn't have to go to work. Those were the days. Val tried on her first pair of hockey pants:

I was a Maroon captain again and picked what has become The Best Team Ever. Ever. Our name may be confusing, (R4) but WE RULE.

The co-sleeper attacked Val, tossing her into the bottom part of it in the middle of the night and scaring us all half to death. I was so tired I washed a Togo's cup. We took Val to Disneyland for the first time and celebrated 10 years together while we were there.

I went back to work. This still sucks even if I spend as long as I want to in the bathroom. AmyFritz got married in a really lovely civil ceremony. I swear to you, she looked just like Mary Tyler Moore that day. I'm still so glad we were there for it.

Val was baptized. Naked. And later, on Halloween, she was the world's cutest dragon.

We headed to Ohio for Val's first big plane trip and a visit with my extended family. She was a total stud on the plane. She had her first taste of solid food: rice cereal.

Val got her first cold. That sucked. A lot. Val started crawling. That rules.

We all had a very nice Christmas and a Happy New Year. And I finally finished writing this post.