December 29, 2011

Yo-Yo Ma's wife, First Lady, or Beyonce?

We watched the Kennedy Center Honors on TV where Yo-Yo Ma, the famous cellist was being honored. Next to him was Michelle Obama. My mom said, "Is that his wife?" My husband said, "Emilie, don't you know the First Lady?" Olivia, our 5 year-old said, "No it's not, it's Beyonce!"

December 8, 2011

The Arrival

Noah has arrived! 8 pounds 10 ounces

Sorry for the delay but when I said I wouldn't get much sleep, well, I haven't had much sleep! Instead of watching zombie shows at night during the month of October when I was pregnant and couldn't sleep (I love the Walking Dead on AMC) I now look like a zombie myself. Oh and breast feeding, that's a whole other beast. So here's the story. With all the guts and glory.

On November 9th, I started having contractions before I went to sleep. On November 11th, at around 3 or 4 P.M., they got to the point where I needed to go to the hospital. I waited until I had to because I learned with my first pregnancy it's better to stay at home in a nice environment than to stick it out in a hospital.

When I arrived, the nurse told me I was dilated to 7 cm. She couldn't believe how relaxed and calm I was as I was making jokes, talking as if we had been friends for years. She told the other nurse, "Boy, she really has a sunny disposition for 7 cm." Well, in about 15 minutes, let me tell you, those mild contractions changed and I said, "Where is my epidural because I'm about to lose my sunny disposition real fast."

Everything went pretty well for the most part. The doctor came in and broke my water. If you are a guy, there is nothing like having a doctor ram his arm up you with some kind of hook to break your water when you have a baby. It gives a whole new meaning to pain.

And then it happened! The Ultrasound doctor has been telling me for several months I had a lot of amniotic fluid. My OBGYN doctor who was there told the nurse to get extra towels. Boy, did she not know what was coming! I had three times, yes three times the amount of amniotic fluid more than a normal pregnancy. It soaked up about six towels and actually spilled off the bed. Now, this may seem like "yuck" to some, but I actually in a weird way felt like I had my own little Guinness Book of World Records type thing happening. It was weird, gross and fascinating at the same time.

My husband pointed out Noah in the bible went out with a flood and our Noah came in with a flood. And considering that Sebastian (our baby who died) didn't have hardly any amniotic fluid, it's sort of ironic that this baby had 3x as much. Almost as if God or the world was making sure I had more than enough this time.

Another fact my husband pointed out - there was a full moon. For some reason, many women have babies during the full moon. As mentioned in a previous post, when I worked for United Airlines, we would always get the "crazies" calling for reservations during the full moon. So, I'm sure it has some relevance.

At some point, the baby wasn't coming out fast enough and the doctor decided to use forceps. As he was doing it, I had visions of the baby coming out with a squeezed head but it wasn't bad. He had a few bruises but the pediatrician said (a few weeks later) he actually had a perfect head and it looked like he was born by cesarean. So overall, it was a really good birth. Sure, I seriously hurt my back and it's getting better and the doctor had to use forceps but I had more good things happen than bad.

If you read my other posts, you know I was worried sick about having to be induced. Well, he came two weeks early at the 38th week so being induced at my 39th week didn't even come into play. I had prayed a lot about that one, hoping he would come early and he came at the perfect time. I still think he was meant to be born on 11/11/11 but the doctor gave me a drug to induce my labor a little (I'm not sure if he was tired of waiting or I think he mentioned he was worried about the baby's heartbeat) but Noah was born on 11/10 at 9:36 P.M.

And the aftermath? Let's talk about good ol' breast feeding. This paragraph should be entitled Whipping It Out. Now if a man whipped it out in public he would be going in jail, if a woman whips it out, she is sanctified in the halls of "good mothers" by the La Leche League and may have a few weirdo men stare at her as they walk by. Breast feeding is hard business and when you have to get up at 2 A.M. and whip it out to a crying kid, the kumbaya music and pat on the backs by breastfeeding mothers everywhere is seldom on your mind.

Now sure, I do see the part where it's nice because it creates a bond with your baby, and it is better than formula and it's the best thing to do. But Lord help me, there's nothing like having a wet shirt suddenly appear when you go to dinner (which I had and said, "Stephane, we have to go now!", or trying to figure out how to cover your hoo ha's in a public area with some kind of fabric contraption or the best part, having a nurse grab your breast at the hospital and maneuver it every which way to make sure the baby "latches" on. Yes, I'm being a tad been dramatic. The benefits outweigh the problems but I'm not sure I can keep it up. It really leaves you exhausted and you can't do pretty much anything else except be relegated to sitting in a chair and again, watching more zombie movies and late-night infomercials.

And another aftermath, circumcision. When people tell you to cover the penis because it can pee straight up, sideways and probably even create an art piece on the side of the wall if so inclined, they aren't lying. We couldn't cover it for the first week because he was raw from being circumcised. We were peed on a total of 12 times! I would hear, "Oh man!" from the changing table and I knew our baby had baptized my husband with his daily urination dosage. (We finally figured out why I had 3x as much amniotic fluid. The amniotic fluid is made from the baby urinating in the amniotic sack and we found out, this kid goes like there is no tomorrow!) Now that he is healed, when we take off the diaper, there is a race to cover it and get the diaper on. A penis can do damage!

As for the good things, he is a great baby. He loves to be held and he is pretty relaxed as long as you don't put him down or change his diaper. So sleep is hard to come by. But we're working on it. I feel very fortunate to have him since many people have problems with having a baby and we lost one last year. In fact, he looks just like Sebastien which is a good thing and bad. It's nice because it reminds us of him and it's bad because it makes us miss him. When you have a baby die three hours after he is born you don't have time to see facial expressions, how he would look at you, little cute things he would do. So when I see it with him I wonder if Sebastien would have acted this way or looked like this when he smiled. For the most part, I don't think about it, just every once in awhile. You never forget the child you lose, it comes back to you at different times in your life but you live your life and you get through it.

So, even though this posting is all over the place I'm going to leave you with a few funny things my daughter said. She's five.
"Olivia, you have to go to bed in a few minutes."
"No, I want a hundred minutes."

We are trying to get her to sleep in her own bed in her own room rather than with us. I told her, "Shannon (her friend) sleeps in her own bedroom."

She said, "Shannon's bedroom is next to her mom and dad's room, mine is a half an hour away!"
At the hospital when I had the baby, the nurse noticed she was wearing a hat, the nurse said, "Oh, aren't you wearing a nice hat. Are you making a fashion statement."

Olivia looked at the nurse like she was crazy, "No, I'm wearing it to keep my head warm."

When we were preparing to have the baby I told Olivia she was going to stay the night with Shannon her friend. It would be the first night staying at a friend's house. I said, make sure you know where her mommy and daddy are sleeping so if you wake up and you are really scared you can go to see them. She said, I can't do that, it's inappropriate to wake someone up. (Yes, she said inappropriate.) How come that doesn't work when she wakes us up?
Last night, I ordered London Broil (steak) for dinner. She told the waiter, "I want Lemon Broil, too."

November 10, 2011

It's Coming!

I'm going to the hospital. Having contractions. I guess the induction issue is no longer a concern since I'm at 37 weeks. Thank goodness. The baby might be born on 11/11/11. Who knows?

Yesterday, I went to have an ultrasound. As I was looking at the screen, I said, "Oh there's an ear. It's fully developed."

The ultrasound tech cleared her throat, "That's the scrotum."

Oh," I said. I didn't know what to say so I said, "I guess I don't look at those every day to recognize it." (Maybe not the best answer.)

Well, wish me luck for an easy delivery. The ultrasound doctor said he will be either 9 or 10 lbs.

And no more late night television because I can't sleep! Last night, I was watching an animal show at 2 A.M. in the morning where a woman in Australia was keeping 3 alligators as pets in her house. One drove around in her backseat with a collar on. I was yelling at the T.V., "Are you nuts!" And then I realized, I'm the nut for watching pet alligators on T.V. at 2 A.M.

Maybe after the baby, I can sleep agai. Oh wait, that's right, the baby will be up in the middle of the night for feedings. Okay, maybe in a year? God help me. :o)

October 28, 2011

Don't Get Caught Under the Cherry Tree . . .

(I forgot to publish this posting in July. I still have a hard time believing this happened.)

Yesterday, our neighbor politely informed me we have a fruit tree thief in the neighborhood and her husband saw it first hand. The woman came into our front yard and picked ALL the cherries off from our cherry tree, cupped them in the bottom of her shirt and took off.

If someone wants a peach, an apple or a few cherries, fine! But the whole dang tree. Come on. It's a good thing I wasn't there. I would have sent my dog out there first to scare her (Emmy would have probably just ran past her to chase some squirrel) and then I would have ran after her, with my pregnancy belly and all. It's the principle, our yard isn't your yard and if you need some cherries, buy them at the dang grocery store like normal adults do. They're in season for crying out loud.

Anyway, I hate thieves.

When I went out to inspect the tree, there were a total of three cherries left on the top branches. Obviously, she couldn't reach them or they would have been gone too. I decided to taste one and luckily, they were really sour. I hope our cherries give her a nice stomach ache.

Next year, just like the postings I did called the Beverly Hillbillies of Scrap Iron, I will have to be watching behind my window when the culprit comes and this time, she'll learn not to mess with my cherries.

October 26, 2011

Follow Your Instincts When Seeing the Doctor

Yesterday, I went to see my OBGYN. He said if the baby doesn't come by the 39Th week he is going to induce that week. I told him I didn't like being induced with our daughter (which was necessary because she was 10 days late) but he said he is worried the baby may be big and could lead to a c-section if I wait. I should have said, I absolutely hated being induced.

Meanwhile, I did some searching on the Internet. The majority of websites, pretty much all of them, say a baby shouldn't be induced early based on the assumption it will be a big baby. Furthermore, I read on several websites that an ultrasound, especially toward the end, is not necessarily accurate regarding a baby's size and therefore, it's not recommended to induce early based on this. Many people have been told there baby is going to be 10 lbs from an ultrasound, are induced and it ends up 7 or 8. And there are plenty of women who have given birth to 10 lb baby's because the body prepares for this. However, I do agree a baby should be induced if it is medically necessary, like the woman has HBP or the baby is in distress, etc. Also, if the baby is past 42 weeks.

So I am a little upset. I'm due the day before Thanksgiving and my doctor will be away on vacation. He has every right to be with his family and should be but am I being induced for convenience because he's not going to be there? I have to believe no. I don't think this doctor would do something like this just for his own benefit.

Now the hard task is to tell him. He is very strong in his opinions but I have to do what feels right and to go to my next appointment with a strong attitude. Actually one of the risk factors with being induced is a stronger probability to have a c-section!

I can tell you, I'm pretty tired of seeing any doctors at all. When I went to see another doctor for something else last year, he prescribed a medication and told me it was fine even if I wanted to get pregnant or did get pregnant. Then I did some research and talked to my OBGYN before going to the pharmacy (I had a bad feeling about it/instincts) and low and behold, it can cause blindness for the fetus. I've also wrote about my doctor nightmare stories in an old posting several years ago on my blog where one prescribed me an addictive medication and then told me he never prescribed it when I asked about it. He was also 80 some years old and had suffered a stroke before I saw him so I can't totally say I was surprised.

Here's the point: Always trust your instincts and don't take medications or advice blindly. If something doesn't set well with you look it up on the Internet or ask other people. We need to believe in doctors because let's face it, without them we wouldn't have a chance and the majority try and get it right. But it doesn't mean you should follow someone blindly. Your instincts are usually right. You have choices. We all do. And if we don't look out for ourselves, who will?

October 24, 2011

When you're eight months pregnant, what do you do?

I have officially went into another phase of my pregnancy. I can't sleep for more than thirty minutes without waking up. If I stand for more than ten minutes, I feel nauseated and hot. I hate going to bed because every part of my body hurts when I sleep. I'm up until 1 in the morning watching endless zombie and Halloween flicks on AMC, FX and SyFi. (Don't ask why I like scary movies, my husband doesn't understand either. I have to literally make him watch them with me.) And the infomercials on at 1 in the morning are not much better: dehydraters, plastic wall moldings, The Magic Bullet, The Baby Bullet, and the Thunder Coat for Dogs. Not that I watch them for more than five minutes.

Yes, the world of the midnight, early morning people who are up and about (usually in a recliner) is not a fun world to be in. The television sucks, everyone in the house (including the pets) are either snoring or dead asleep. And I am here, waiting. Waiting for five weeks to come so I can breathe and sleep again. But it is part of the journey, right? I know I sound like I'm complaining a lot. But being eight months pregnant is hard. You're more than ready to get the job done.

I went to another ultrasound last week and the baby is NOW 7 lbs. 10 ounces. The doctor said I'm just going to have a big baby. Maybe he's going to be as tall as a basketball player, who knows? Our daughter is really tall. The doctor isn't worried about diabetes because he said the head and stomach are the same size. Meanwhile, I guess it's back to sitting in a chair, waiting for a contraction to start.

If only men knew what they were missing.

October 10, 2011

An Update on Baby 3

I do not have gestational diabetes. Quite happy about it. I was on the borderline with the one hour test and I had to go back to the hospital for the three hour test. It was not fun!

I had to fast and then drink a bottle of fruit punch that tasted like half of it was sugar. Each hour they tested my blood. By the time I was done, I was like get me out of here. Three hours sitting in a hospital waiting room is boring no matter how many good magazines they have, and they didn't have very many. After reading Golf Digest and some medical magazines describing the advances in medical technology for the first hour, I was ready to move on or fall asleep. Then I wandered around the hospital for the next hour. Finally, one of the nurse's took pity on me for the third hour and led me back to a break room with a recliner and television. Now that was waiting in style.

So it came back fine. I guess I'm just going to have a big baby or an early baby. Apparently, big babies run on both sides of our families, along with a thick head of hair so it's a given I'm going to have a big baby with a mohawk. But at least he will be healthy and after you have one that isn't, it makes a difference.

October 8, 2011

How cute and hopeful

Yesterday, my 5 year-old daughter and I were watching Animal Cops on Animal Planet. If you think about the people with the 30 uncared for cats, it's pretty much the circumstance. Anyway-

She asked why the humane society was taking the woman's cats away. I told her the woman couldn't afford to take them to the vet so she asked the humane society to come and rescue them. She said, "Doesn't she have any lemonade?"

"Lemonade?" I ask.

And then I got it. In her 5 year-old mind she thought the woman could set up a lemonade stand and get the money.

Children are pretty cute.

October 4, 2011

Finding Hope: A New Kind of Bachelor/Bachlorette

Set-up: At the end of the book when everything is resolved, Hope finds out Gina is leaving the company to start her own business: a dating service for the other half of society. This is just the dialogue without the extra stuff added in yet.

“Hope, you’re the one who gets an adrenaline rush from business deals. I just happen to get mine from uniting societies’ misfits. Strange and degenerate people are out there looking for relationships just like everyone else.

“And who would be the model for your brochures, Quasimodo?”

“Laugh my friend, but the beautiful people in this world only make up a small percentage. The rest of us deserve to find love, too.”

“So now you’re including yourself in this strange and degenerate category?”

“Well,” Gina reasoned, “I do have to relate to my customers. I feel I can go either way.”

“Fine, you’re going to do what you want no matter what I say.”

“You’re right, so let me try some slogans for my new company out on you. First one,” Gina said opening her notebook, “for the lost, lonely and confused.”

“Yeah, I’m sure that will hit it big.”

Gina looked through her notebook, “Okay, how about this one. There is someone for everyone, even you.”


“Fine,” Gina said, “here’s my third one. Don’t let your looks get you down because that special man can be found.”

“No, excludes the men finding women scenario.”

“I have one more. You might be ugly, you may be homely, but there is someone just like you out there to love.” Gina looked up and smiled. “I like that one.”

“Nobody wants a homely person Gina, even if they look homely.”

“Well, then which one is my best one?”

“I think you better keep working on it. But I’m proud of you, Gina. I think everyone should pursue their talents and you really do have a talent to see the potential in all kinds of people.”

“So you think I’ll make it,” Gina smiled proudly.


“Thanks a lot.”

“Sorry, Gina, I just don’t think there is a market out there for weird people. Don’t get me wrong,” Hope said, “I think there are plenty of weird people out there. But do they know they’re weird? Now that is a different matter.”

July 12, 2011

It's a Boy!

I had another ultrasound. It's a boy! The tech even gave me an ultrasound picture with the "thing" blown up and the word BOY typed in beside it. As if I need a visual. Oh well, I guess I can pull it out when he is older and embarass him.

I haven't blogged in a long time because I went from "oh this pregnancy isn't so bad, maybe I'll do it again," to "what the hell just happened." I feel like an inflated helium balloon is sitting under my chest. I have to turn over throughout the night because I am so uncomfortable and when I flip over it's not easy to carry a big baby/stomach with it so where I land is where I land. So Stephane, poor guy, is sleeping with his head at the end of the bed and his feet are where his head is supposed to be just in case I land on him. And then he cannot have any of his body touching my sore stomach so there you go. Not to mention the two 15 year-old cats want their fair share of the bed somewhere in the mix.

I went to the ultrasound doctor last week and he said the baby is measuring 2 weeks early or larger than what it usually should be. Plus, I have more amniotic fluid than normal. He said I could have diabetes (which is something you can get just while you are pregnant) or the baby is just going to be big. Olivia was 8 lbs 15 ounces and I've had two diabetic tests already which turned out negative. So hopefully, he's just goinig to be a big boy. But on the otherhand, the thought of having a large baby at delivery won't exactly feel well. Thank goodness, I'm getting an epidural! But those do eventually go away.

Anyway, I have a few more stories or happenings coming your way once I have some more time. Like, how this nice passer-by decided to pick ALL the cherries off our tree and ran away with them tucked in her shirt.

Until then -

June 15, 2011

Excerpt from Finding Hope - Purse Snatching Scene

Set-up: A purse snatcher approaches Hope and Gina while they are walking home from a movie theater in San Francisco.

“Good evening ladies, I believe you have something I want,” the man smiled looking down at their purses.

Hope looked at Gina, “Is he doing what I think he’s doing?”

“Oh, you don’t want this purse,” Gina said holding her purse tightly to her chest, “you might think this purse is worth something because it’s a Coach original, but I’ve had it for over ten years. You’re not going to get nearly what its worth on the resale value. So I suggest you mosey on down to the next street corner and take a look at what those ladies are carrying. I think an off Broadway show may be letting out,” she smiled back, trying to hide her purse under her coat.

“Listen lady, I don’t care if you're carrying an old Coach bag or a purse from Wal-Mart. It’s what’s in it that I want.”

“Then you’ll probably want her purse instead of mine,” Gina said glancing toward Hope, “she’s the one that makes the big bucks around here. All I have are some Weight Watcher coupons, a few pieces of sugar free cinnamon candies, a credit card that is almost to the limit, maybe a $10 dollar bill and some expensive lip gloss – but you don’t want that, unless you like lip gloss,” Gina said matter-of-factly, “which my cousin, Barry, does but it’s supposed to be a secret; although I don’t think the color Moonbeam Cream would quite be your color,” she said studying his face.

“Lady, shut your yapping trap. Don’t you see I have a knife?”

“Gina, what are you doing trying to get us killed?”

“Let me handle this Hope,” she said, throwing her purse behind her and putting her leg forward to create a wide stance. “I know Kung Fui so you better watch out,” Gina yelled as loud as she could, holding her hands out.

“I think you’ve watched too many movies Gina. Besides, I think you’re combining your words. It’s Kung Fu and Chop Sui. Not Kung Fui.”

“Well my other cousin Marcus told me that if anyone ever tries to attack you to yell loudly that you know some form of martial arts and they’ll leave you alone,” she said, “and if that doesn’t work my momma said to scratch his eyes out and kick him in the ding dong.”

“Oh and your mother said it exactly that way I’m sure," Hope said.

“Well she called it something else but…”

“Excuse me ladies,” the man said impatiently, “there will be none of that kicking in the, in the,” he paused, “in that particular area. Now I do have some business to get done here.”

“No just a minute,” Gina said angrily, “I’ll have you know Hope that my cousin and mother both took combat defensive training courses so they do know what they’re talking about.”

“What, were they both in the Navy Seals or something? Who takes a combat defensive training course?”

“It was a two for one special I bought my mother for her birthday one year.”

“Well it would have helped if you were the one who took her instead of your cousin. Then maybe you would really know karate.”

“No, couldn’t do that, would have seriously ruined my nails,” she said smiling down at her recent manicure.

“Give me your purses for heaven sake,” the guy yelled.

Gina raised her purse behind her head and threw it at the mugger. It hit him as if a football had been directly propelled at his stomach.

He glared at her as he opened up the purse and put his face inside to see what was in it since the streetlight was out. “Oh man,” he said rearing his head back, “what the hell is in this purse? It smells like something died.”

Hope turned toward her, “Gina, please tell me that’s not the purse you brought to the work seminar? The one where you stuffed those extra salami sandwiches and a stalk of over-ripe bananas into it?” Hope asked.

“Yes,” Gina said angrily, turning her back to Hope.

“The same one you brought to the meetings in Mexico where you stuffed all the bread products into it?” Hope added.

“Yes,” Gina said loudly.

“Well,” she said to the man, “the smell could be from one of three things: salami, rotten bananas or an array of moldy bread products,” Hope said calmly.

“Why did you have to tell him that now he’s going to think I hoard old food?”

“He’s a purse snatcher Gina, who the hell cares?”

“Because my mother told me you should always give your best impression. That’s why you’re always told to wear clean underwear in case you’re in a car accident. As my momma said, ‘nobody wants to see you in torn stinky drawers.’” Gina glared at her, “Giving a good impression at all times is the key to finding Mr. Right in an inopportune time. You would know about that if you weren’t stuck at home on Friday nights watching people having operations on the Discovery Channel.”

“I’ll have you know Medical Miracle on the Discovery Channel is a highly rated show so I’m not the only one sitting there watching it on Friday nights. And besides, the E.M.T isn’t going to care that you have clean underwear Gina. He might prefer it that way, but if you are laying there in need of oxygen he’s not going to ask you to change your underwear first. Come on.”

“But it’s the impression,” she whined, “and now because you had to tell him about my purse he’s going to perceive me to be crazy and stinky.”

“It’s already too late for it, you two are complete nut jobs” the man said.

“Oh no, he didn’t just say that. No man with hair coming out from the top of his shirt collar, who is so lazy that he can’t get a job and now is robbing poor defenseless passer-bys is going to put this woman down. I eat men like you for breakfast honey,” Gina said going into a karate stance, “I’ll chop you up with these hands. Slice your head off before you can say ‘boo’.”

“Okay Bruce Lee calm down” Hope said, putting Gina’s karate ready hands back down to her side. “Let me try and talk some sense into this guy,” Hope whispered into Gina’s ear.

“Listen whoever you are; they have this show on the Discovery Channel on Friday nights about the troubled cases that come into the E.R. One happened to be a purse snatcher who held someone up with a knife. And you know what happened?”

“What?” the guy said ill-amused.

“He held up the wrong person,” she pointed at him, “the man he held up had a gun. To make a long story short, the purse snatcher was shot and now he has to wear a colostomy bag the rest of his life. Do you really want to have to wear a colostomy bag the rest of your life cause it ain’t so pretty.”

“I thought I told you not to tell anyone that you stay at home and watch the Discovery Channel on Friday nights," Gina said.

“He’s a mugger Gina, it’s not like I’m ever going to see him again.”

“You never know, maybe his cousin is the next guy you’re going to end up dating and he’ll tell him.”

“I’m sure I’m not going to want to go out with a mugger’s cousin Gina.”

“Well let’s ask him then if he has any reputable cousins,” Gina said.

“Fine, go ahead and ask him, I bet they’re all in prison,” Hope snapped.

“Mister,” Gina turned around but the man had disappeared, leaving Gina’s purse on the ground.

“See what you did?” Gina said, “You showed him how desperate you were by watching those Discovery shows and now you chased him off.”

“I didn’t chase him off it was your stinking purse.”

The two walked home, arguing about who chased off the purse snatcher.

Just a quick update

We had another ultrasound. The bladder looks fine. So I think the same problem will not happen with this baby like Sebastien. We couldn't tell if it was a boy or girl because the baby was crossing its legs. Hopefully, with the next ultrasound in July we will be able to tell in order to get ready.

Olivia is doing fine. We have a summer pool pass for the community pool. It has a large swimming pool and a really great sand play area. This is what we do most days, either go to the pool or the library, sometimes the park. It's not a bad way to experience the summer. When I have time to myself, I like to go out in the backyard and read either a magazine, a cookbook or most often, a novel by Dean Koontz. I try to walk the dogs everyday to get them out and because they like it so much.

A few weekends ago, we went to Warren Dunes and stayed in a very small cabin. It was nice but not as fun as I hoped. It rained most days and after seeing a picture by the bathroom of a snake that could be around (even though it was harmless) I woke up many times during the night thinking there was a snake on me. (Don't give me a visual of a snake if you don't want me to dream about it!)

More later -


May 11, 2011

Ultrasound Test May - So Far So Good

We went in for a Level Ultrasound II test. So far we've been optimistic the baby will be fine this time. But this morning, my nerves got the best of me. All I wanted was it to be over. We went into the same doctor's office (a specialist) where we first heard about Sebastien, the same room. It was like it was yesterday. I said a prayer while the nurse was checking on various measurements of the baby then I realized, saying these same prayers did nothing for me last time.

The baby moved quite a bit, kicking it's legs, putting it's hand next to it's face which Olivia does when she sleeps. Then the nurse left.

When the doctor finally came in he said, "So far, everything looks fine." I felt like I could breathe again.

The Level II Ultrasound is primarily to tell if the baby has Down Syndrome. The doctor measures various parts of the baby. He said he didn't see any indication of Down Syndrome from his testing. (Rates increase for this as the mother gets older.) I still had to do some blood tests for it which I get back in a week. Last year I had the blood tests done and it showed a high probability for Down Syndrome. After the amniocentesis though, it showed that the baby was fine in this respect. So if you ever get the blood test and it comes back positive, don't stress out. There is a false-positive problem sometimes.

Anyway, we are scheduled for another Level II Ultrasound in the beginning of June. This is where the doctor can see the kidney function, where the baby takes over producing the amniotic fluid, where the problem with Sebastien occurred. This is the big one, for me anyway.

So for now, I'm living off of today's news and I'm thankful the test was okay. The weather was nice and warm outside, the air conditioning is on (which I love the sound of) and summer is coming. I'm pretty happy.

March 30, 2011

When Bad Things Happen, Good Always Follows

Chewie and Tigger 15 yrs old next week

Some good news. I'm pregnant. Due Thanksgiving. Thank God it took only two months because I was mighty tired of checking ovulation strips and yelling out, "It's time." Not fun when you're tired and just want to go to sleep. There is a small window of opportunity when you can get pregnant so telling your husband we have to suck it up and try six times in the next 24 hours to increase our chances (especially, when he has to work the next day) doesn't usually go down well.

I questioned whether to tell people because even though the doctors said Sebastian's problem was a fluke, essentially it could happen again. We have no idea why it happened. But for some reason, I don't feel it will and if it does, I will deal with it just like I dealt with it last time. Maybe, even stronger. One thing I learned from last year is that hardship is all around. People don't share it with you until you open up to them and I learned there are a lot of lost babies and even grown children in the world to morn. I am no different than anyone else.

So we are pretty thankful. We found out on March 18th, the night before Olivia's 5th birthday. We told her that God gave her a birthday present early. She has wanted a baby sister or brother for awhile and although she handled Sebastian's death pretty well for a child, I don't want her to have to go down that road again. She asked what the baby will be named. In a joking manner, I said Snicklefritz. (This is a German pet name people call children sometime. Like if you called a child, Sweetie Pie or something.) Olivia said with that name she could name the baby Snickers or Fritz. And then told me if I let her name the baby she'll call him or her Cinderella. The demons that kid would have with the name, Cinderella. Two weeks ago we went to see our neighbors, Bob and Donna. They are older people, in their 70's who live nearby. Olivia watched part of a Western with Bob. Later that day, at nap time, she said, "Why does Bob watch Westerns. I don't like them." I said, "Grandpa watches Westerns, too." She said, "Do they watch those shows because they want to be cowboys when they grow up?" -It's funny, the stuff children say.

Being pregnant is a feat in itself. I get really tired, have bad dreams, I'm starving and then don't want to eat. My husband has already been on two weird food runs where he has to get one thing from this restaurant and something else from another. Last night, my nightmares consisted of my cat getting stuck in a car and having a heat stroke, trying to dial a number for emergency help and the phone not working and aliens dropping down monsters on the planet to chase after me. The last one was sort of cool, like a sci-fi movie but still not totally a refreshing dream.

My novel, Finding Hope takes place in San Francisco and today, after watching Andrew Zimmerman's Bizarre Food in San Francisco, I think it's the perfect location. I think he said something like, everyone is accepted in San Francisco and in a way, this is what the book is about: crazy/quirky people just trying to get by in life.

This is where I got the premise. Several years ago, while I was at a staff meeting, a coworker talked about a documentary or a news segment on the Golden Gate Bridge and how it's the most common suicide destination. It's almost ethereal that a bridge so beautiful is connected with such tragic loss. And somehow I felt there was a story there. Not a journalistic story, but my kind of story.

I remember in some show or article, a man said he was going to the Golden Gate bridge to jump and if someone said hi to him or asked how he was doing, he wouldn't jump. No one said anything. All he was looking for was one person to care. I think a lot of these people who go there have lost their hope in humanity, maybe in themselves. So the story begins when a woman stops a man from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Although the inherent message behind the story is, there is hope (which later I found out these words are on an actual sign on the bridge to stop jumpers) the story is told in a light-hearted way.

Here is an excerpt. Again, it's not polished and I have to add in some transitions and revise and... you get the picture. You might wonder how this excerpt fits in with the Golden Gate Bridge theme but it does. It's just hard to show you when you don't have the whole story in front of you. And posting bits and pieces out of sequence really isn't a good idea, but like I've always said, this is an informal site and I don't even know who reads this so said in a polite manner, what the hey?

Background: Hope is an acquisitions manager and two people on her sales team are Gina (her best friend) and Corbin (nobody likes.) They have to go to Mexico for a business seminar. Gina calls a reservations 1-800 number to book a hotel and gets a man in India who says his name is Elvis. (Now, if you have booked airline flights, have had customer service problems or most anything else, you know the US has outsourced most of their call centers to places like India where the representatives say their name is Bob or Judy or Mike in order to be more approachable to the US customer) so she gets a rep named Elvis and Gina (who is the comedy sidekick per say) books a hotel in Mexico which translates to The Pretty Little Hacienda. And it's anything but.

It's a farmer's house (an hour outside of the city) where the farmer is renting a room. By the time they get to the place, they have no time to change hotels. The Marriott where the conference is being held is booked. Through the course of the week, Corbin is attracted to the farmer's daughter and goes on a date with her. They find out this was the farmer's plan to begin with, lure visitors to stay there so he could find someone to marry off his daughter. This scene takes place when they are sitting around the kitchen table eating dinner at the farmer's house.

“You stay here, you marry my daughter, you run the farm.”

“Um, no, don’t think so,” Corbin said picking through the stew, trying to separate the carrots from what he thought were residuals of the sheep head meat.

“You stay here, you marry daughter, you run farm,” Mr. Sanchez said louder, pounding his fist against the table. Corbin looked straight up at him, mouth open and scared.

Gina decided she would save the day. “Listen Mr. Sanchez," Gina said, "Corbin can’t marry your daughter, he ah, he,” she thought for a moment, “he has a wife back in San Francisco. Yeah, that's it.”

Mr. Sanchez’s face turned a bright shade of red as he threw Corbin’s bowl of stew across the kitchen, “You went on date with daughter and you married!”

“What are you doing?” Hope whispered as she kicked Gina under the table.

“I will kill you!” Mr. Sanchez screamed, getting a butcher knife from the sink.

Suddenly Corbin turned pale. “You’re not going to cut my head off like you did that poor sheep are you? Really, I’m sure I wouldn’t taste the least bit good in a soup pot.”

“No, no, Mr. Sanchez,” Hope stood up, “what Gina was trying to tell you and couldn’t is that Corbin can’t marry your daughter, nor would you want him too. He can’t because,” she thought about her Discovery programs and what disease, situation, or ailment Corbin could have to change Mr. Sanchez’s mind, “well, you see Mr. Sanchez, Corbin is really a transvestite.”

“A what!” Corbin yelled.

Hope whispered over to Corbin, “Do you really want to live here ‘cause I will leave you here if it gets ugly.”

“Um, yeah, that’s it, I’m a trans, a transsexual,” Corbin bellowed.

“That’s not the same thing,” Hope said angrily. “A transsexual has a sex change and he already saw you peeing standing up, you idiot.”

“How am I supposed to know? And how would you know anyway?” Corbin said looking her over.

“Because I saw a program on the Discovery channel called Switching Sexes: The Aftermath.”

“Well excuse me!” Corbin snapped back.

“Is there something you’re not telling us Hope?” Gina smiled.

“No Gina, now both of you be quiet and let me handle this. “Yes, unfortunately, Mr. Sanchez,” Hope spoke louder, “Corbin’s a transvestite and therefore you see he couldn’t possibly marry

your daughter. You wouldn’t know which one of them to put the wedding gown on. Now in San Francisco anything goes, but I don’t think in Mexico it would be welcomed with open arms to have two brides.”

“What is this transvestite?” Mr. Sanchez said slowly.

“Well I guess the best way to describe it is that a transvestite needs to cross-dress to achieve full sexual and emotional release. In other words, Corbin would be caught wearing your daughter’s underwear at some point.”

“What!” Corbin yelled again. “I will not be known as a guy who wears womens underwear. I have a reputation to uphold.”

“Who cares if they all think you wear womens underwear in Mexico. Just don’t come back.” Hope turned back to Mr. Sanchez. “It’s just not going to be good Mr. Sanchez, until Corbin accepts his sick perversion and figures out what sex he wants to be.”

“Thanks a lot,” said Corbin.

“You Americans crazy,” he said.

They hatch a plan which involves Corbin wearing one of Gina's thongs (he has to buy it, she doesn't want it returned) to prove the point and a whole mess ensues.

January 16, 2011

It's a New Year : Sebastien and excerpts from my stories

Well, I'm back. It was pretty much one of the worst year's of my life but I survived and I am still here to live another day.

For the first few months after Sebastien's death it was pretty hard. Grief is an individual thing and nobody can tell you how long or how you should grieve. But after a few month's, it started to get better and I was quite surprised at how resilient I am. Now if it had been an accident why he died rather than there was nothing I could do, it would have been a lot longer. The "what if's" can kill you. The one thing I realized is when my time comes (and hopefully, it's not soon) and I head for the pearly gates of heaven, I will not be scared. It will be a joyous occasion because I firmly believe I will see him again, when the time comes of course. Along with about twenty cats, eight dogs and a rabbit named Alfalfa Sprout.

In other news, we have been looking for a kindergarten for our daughter. We have to go to a private school because our local public schools here are pretty bad. Half the kids in third grade at the school she would go to failed the state reading exam. So like other parents, I have to not only pay taxes for a school system which is failing but now we have to pay private tuition. For a middle class family, it's a frustrating concept.

And let me tell you, touring many, many schools is quite exhausting. In one day, we toured four and by the time we got home, I couldn't even think straight. I think we found the right one and we get a discount if we become church members so we plan to go to the church and school. Today we went to church for the first time in probably fifteen years. We went to a Lutheran church. First of all, I do not sing well and we had to sing about 10 songs. There's nothing like trying to mouth the words of a song and then when you get up the nerve to start singing, you hear your voice out of tune and go back to mouthing the words. I could hear my husband finally getting the courage to start singing and he didn't sound good either but I didn't say anything or else he would never sing again in his life. Pride you know!

Then we went up for communion to take the wine and the wafer. I thought he knew what he was doing because he grew up Catholic. We were the first two in line and went for the benches to kneel down by the main alter and the woman behind us said, "No, no not yet." Then I followed him back to the pews and he went back to the wrong row. I was thinking, "I don't remember sitting behind this woman with the green sweater," and then the lady who helped us said, "No, you sit over there." Let's just say we made an impact, especially when it's a small church.

I've been working on my novel again. Not as much as I would like but it's progress. My husband says he finds me most attractive when he hears me laughing hysterically as I read over it. First, I don't laugh at something unless it's really funny and then it's just usually a smile. So sometimes in the middle of the night or such, all of a sudden he'll hear me laugh quite loudly as I say, "Oh my gosh, this is so funny" and I clap my hands like a weirdo. I guess he's attracted to women who are a little off. Maybe I should post a chapter here sometime from Finding Hope. Maybe the scene where the two female friends, Hope and Gina, go to The Lady Devine Love Club to find the men of their dreams only to encounter a class full of crazies including a stalker named Arnold who Hope refers to as her somewhat demented guardian angel.

Or the other main character, John, who ends up with one of those designer dog's (Mr. Bob) that his model/actress/Bloomingdale's part-time saleswoman girlfriend (and aren't there a lot of those in Hollywood?) made him keep when she left him. Apparently, she got Mr. Bob half-price when the Chihuahua was returned to the breeder for an erratic temperament. And boy does Mr. Bob cause problems. Just try to put him in one of those designer doggy suits!
And of course we have "Bab's", John's 65 year-old annoying neighbor who wears mu mu's and high-heeled slippers with pink feathers and wants to take John up as a young lover. (Don't all men need one of these in their life? Since so called "cougars" are in right now. :o)
There's a little of everything in it: Weight Watcher Meetings with the crazy "spandex queen" woman who lost 100 lbs, the Antiques Roadshow where a Grandma to a mob member tries to see how much a stolen painting is worth (let's just say she runs pretty fast in those support hose), Lady Devines Love Club with a "How to Find the Love of your Life" textbook with charts and cross-analysis sheets, an L.A. trip where Gina and Hope break into a star's home looking for Denzel Washington's house and encounter a Doberman named "Jaws"

Speed dating events with themes including Gothic Night where a man dressed up as a vampire has a hand licking problem, or a Cartoon Speed Dating Grand Gala Event where a very short Asian man is dressed up as Daffy Duck and tells Hope, "You pretty American lady." Hope finally gives in and they dance to Barry White's "Let's Get It On" as he lays his Daffy Duck head against her chest. And she responds, "Why not, what else do I have to do tonight." Or when Hope trusts her friend/coworker Gina, to book a hotel for a business conference in Mexico and instead of staying at the Marriott they end up at a broken down hacienda in the middle of the Mexican desert where the father of the farm/house is booking reservations to try to get his daughter and son with one rolling eyeball married off. Apparently the roof in their room isn't complete for which the father, Mr. Sanchez, argues, "It an American Skylight!"

So that's just a part of it. And that's why it's 500 some pages and needs to be cut down. There are so many funny situations they end up in and it could go on forever if books could be thousands of pages. But who would read them, right?

Also, I have a start of a book and some ideas written down for a comedic novel called, The Writer's Resort. A woman quits her job to become a writer and goes to the Writer's Resort on the coast of Florida. When she gets there she meets a lot of misfits, all with the passion to be great writers. Here are some excerpts to The Writer's Resort:

Set-Up: When Nora, the main character is talking to Mary Alice, the owner.

Nora: "Some of these people here are rather strange and a few, I think, have some diagnosable mental problems. Bernie washed his hands six times during the class and the dark haired girl with the big glasses chewed away her pen cap. Did she eat it? I just don't think these are the type of people I expected here. I thought real writers were professional and half-way normal. All I see here are people with problems."

"Imagine that, people writing because they have a problem with life," Mary Alice laughed. "Honey, you don't know the first thing about writers. Creativity and crazy go hand-in-hand. Welcome to the club."

Set-Up: Nora and the owner, Mary Alice, are sun bathing on the lawn chairs at the resort by the pool. Nora hears a commotion and looks up at the roof of the small resort.

"Mary Alice, there's a strange old man on top of your roof staring out at the ocean with a pair of binoculars. He's not a writer is he?"

"Oh, the Corporal? He's harmless." Mary Alice looked up at the elderly man dressed in an M1 helmet and army battle fatigues. "Yeah, he lives up in the attic. He was here when we bought the place. I think he was the owner's uncle or something."

"So what? He just came with the property?"

"Pretty much," Mary Alice said as she casually sipped her drink. "It was basically, either take him too or lose the deal."

They watched as the elderly man loaded balls into a small cannon on top of the roof. He picked up a bullhorn and shouted, "All clear! Get your heads down men!" A couple in front of them ducked suddenly wondering what was going on.

"Well then," Mary Alice said taking another sip of her drink.

Nora wondered why Mary Alice was taking this so casually. How many resorts had an 80 year-old man in an army uniform shooting a cannon on their roof. "I've heard of taking in a neighborhood cat with the sale of a property, but an elderly man who lives in the attic?"

"He's really not bad once you get used to him blowing his bugle at 5 A.M. to announce the invasion of Normandy," Mary Alice said.

"Great, I'm going to have to hear that tomorrow morning?" Nora asked.

"Just consider him a hands-free alarm clock." Mary Alice looked over at Nora's expression and laughed.

"This isn't funny," Nora said, "the man is obviously demented and needs help." She looked back up at the Corporal, his hands on top of his helmet as if an oncoming bomb was about to approach, "that or he's shell shocked."

"Listen," said Mary Alice, "when you buy a house, or in this case a broken-down resort, you always end up with more than what you bargained for: things the owner doesn't quite tell you about. Some people find out the place they bought has a bug infestation, some a leaky basement with mold spores; we just happen to end up with an 86 year-old World War II veteran living in our attic who on his off days, still thinks he's fighting in the war. If you ask me," Mary Alice reasoned, "we came out pretty lucky."


Disclaimer: I have nothing against the people mentioned below. In fact, I value that they live their life in honesty. But if I was scared to write because I might offend someone then the crazy characters in all of my stories would be pretty boring. And they would lose their charm.

Set-up: There are classes at the resort being offered by genre. One is called, "Gay and Lesbian Fantasy Fiction Class." Stewart, Nora's friend and a fellow attendee, tells her about the first class at lunch:

"There are only two people in the Gay and Lesbian Fantasy Fiction class and I am one of them. The other woman, and I use this term loosely, is an overly tanned Lesbian who is a weight lifter by day, writer by night and of course, just my luck, really hates men."

"Gay men, too?" Nora asked.

"All men," he said. "She is writing about this love affair between Maxi and Barbara, these two women who wear flannel shirts and stir-up pants and somehow, all the men keep hitting on them in the story, despite the two women's lack in fashion. Well, every encounter ends up where Maxi and Barbara are beating up the men: pulling on this, twisting that. It's just so not publishable. And let me tell you," Stewart continued, "she sure doesn't like it when I read the sex scenes between Garry and Larry in my book and mention the word penis. I really think she's going to throw me out of the window. She's really not an attractive lady."

"Sounds like you're going to have fun this summer, " Nora smiled.

"Wait, here she comes," Stewart said. "Her name is Billy," he whispered across the table.

"Are you sure she isn't a man," Nora said as they watched Billy walk across the pool patio in her string bikini. "I swear she has an Adams apple."

"No, she said it's from an unfortunate overdose of steroids in her youth. She actually wrote a short story about it and said it was published in Weightlifting Mania."

"You mean she shared it with you?"
"Remember, I'm the only other person in there," Stewart reminded her.

"And Professor McConnell? What did he think of her short story?"

"I don't know? He left at the beginning of the class to get a drink of water and returned right before we had to leave. Come to think of it, he had a full water bottle on his desk before he left."

"You don't say," Nora said sarcastically.

"It's okay now," Stewart said. "Billy and I have found out how to work together. When she reads her stories she omits the parts where she is bashing in men's testicles and I substitute the word vagina for penis when I read my stories. You see, it's all about finding common ground."

"I bet psychologists would love to be in the room with you two."

He laughed, "It's totally crazy, isn't it."

"Yeah, I think most people would say so."

Final thought: So by the end of it, Nora finds out that the owner is going to sell The Writers Resort because it's in disrepair and she wants to retire. Nora decides to make a big decision and buys the resort with the savings she made from her corporate job. Last excerpt from Nora's journal:

We came to The Writers Resort thinking we would be able to write our great American novel. A dream we all have as writers, to be welcomed into the sanctified halls with Chekhov, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. These were dreams of ours which carried us so far until one day, we reached out for help and hoped the strength we couldn't find in ourselves, others would be able to find in us. And that is why we came here. When I first entered this dilapidated resort, with its torn shingles and the water dripping from the ceiling, I wondered who would own such a catastrophe. And more than that, what was I doing here? I thought for sure, this was either a joke or some scheme to get hopeless writers money.

This place that I thought was rundown and needed to be torn down is now the place I call home along with many other writers. I learned this building may have lost a lot of its structure and glory but the dreams of thousands of writers have passed through its doors. I will continue the resort just as the original owners did when they opened their doors in 1920. And the magic of this old ocean side resort will live on so future writers will have a place where they will not only learn how to write, but will be encouraged to dream. #

Well, I'm done. It's way past midnight and I have to get up with my daughter tomorrow which means, I'm going to be really tired. The grammar isn't perfect, it needs revising but this is an easy-going website and at 3 in the morning, one just doesn't feel like editing copy, am I right? It needs more description and punctuation checks, but that's for another time. So I'm off to bed. Hopefully, you'll get at least one laugh.

Goodnight. Man, I shouldn't have drank that cup of coffee. My schedule is going to be so off.