April 27, 2009

On Mating and Relating

Ever seen Singles? Remember how Bridget Fonda's character has a laundry list of qualities she'd like in a significant other? In the end, she narrows it down to one:

"Someone who says 'bless you' when I sneeze."

When I was younger (I mean, way young - like elementary school age), I would say things like, "I want a guy with Kirk Cameron's eyes and Jason Bateman's smile" and so on and so forth. (This was before Kirk Cameron became crazy religious, by the way.) Of course, I never really made a serious list. When the time came, I just jumped right into mating and relating.

Like so many others, I made a lot of mistakes and suffered a lot of heartbreak as a result. As much as I hate to admit it, I was a typical female looking for her white knight. I really wanted to be saved. I fell madly in love several times, only to have the relationships blow up in my face - and while yes, I had the horrible habit of choosing emotionally unavailable men, I was also horribly to blame because I placed each of these unsuspecting men on the highest pedestals possible. Because of all this, there were (are) two important things that I learned from all my relationship failures.

1) It is unfair to your partner to hold them to the exact same standards you hold for yourself.

2) It is unfair to expect someone to fulfill every single one of your needs all the time.

I see people placing these expectations on their partners (potential or actual) all the time. God knows I've certainly been guilty of it and will be, I'm sure, for the rest of my life. I'm not perfect; I definitely sometimes expect things of Roy that are unreasonable or unfair. But really, when I think about it, there are only two things that I need in my marriage in order to feel secure and safe:

1) There needs to be a willingness on both sides to realistically try to satisfy the emotional needs of the other. (This does not mean that Roy has to squeal and act like a girl with me when I need girl time, although let's face it, it would be awesome to hear Roy squeal for once in his life. It does mean that if I am sad and turn to him for love and support, I would appreciate his being there for me - as he always is.)

2) There needs to be a willingness on both sides to communicate openly and honestly. (This doesn't mean that I'm going to tell Roy I had a sex dream about another guy every single time that I have one - I still believe in personal privacy. But it does mean that I will tell him all kinds of other things.)

Roy and I are completely different people. I think it used to matter to me that someone be into the same stuff I was into or have the same friends, but as I've gotten older, I've realized that it's more interesting to be with someone who is different than me than to be with someone who is very similar to me. I think it's great to share interests - for instance, Roy and I both love reading and writing. But he reads mostly fantasy and sci-fi, and I read stuff that isn't fantasy and sci-fi. We both like movies and TV shows - he cringes when I watch One Tree Hill, and I leave the room when he turns on Battlestar Galactica. It doesn't mean we're any less compatible than that couple who likes all the same things or who has all the same friends. It means that we're still individuals, not just two halves of a whole. And in the spirit of individuality, we have separate friends and go do things alone or with others sometimes. Sometimes I need a girl to squeal with, and he needs a guy to act manly with.

Ultimately, I think that emotional availability and open, honest communication are what really matter in a relationship (to me). How tragic would it have been if I would have written Roy off based on superficial differences? I wouldn't have gotten to marry the Cutest Husband Ever, that's for sure.

So what do you think? Did you ever make a list of desireable qualities for your future mate? If so, how well did that work out for you? What are your must-haves in a significant other?

Tell me all about it, please.

April 25, 2009

35 weeks

Holy crap, I've reached the 35/35 milestone! (35 weeks pregnant and 35 days until my due date - only now it's 34 days since I didn't post this yesterday.)

(This is my first horizontal belly pic, and I must confess that I really don't like it.)

This week has been all about kicking it into high gear and getting things ready for Charlie. We both realized over the weekend that holy shit, we're going to have a baby soon and we need to start getting everything set up for him. So we picked up our glider and ottoman, took several trips to Babies R Us and Target, ordered a good diaper stash, washed all of his stuff, installed the infant seat in my car, packed some stuff for our hospital visit, and made up his crib. The nursery is not done yet, but we're hoping it will be soon. When it is, I'll definitely be sharing pics.

Comfort-wise, I'm taking it day by day. Some days are good, and some days suck. Yeah, I'm tired - a good night's sleep is hard to come by. And my feet hurt and so does my pelvis, ribs (the rib pain is getting bad again), hips, and back... but overall, things are okay. I am not in terrible shape, although sometimes my complete lack of sleep seems to exacerbate all my discomfort. It is also entirely too damn hot for April, and I am already a furnace. The heat during the first half of the week was making me absolutely miserable. But it could be worse - I could have to spend my last few months of pregnancy in the bitter Southern California summer. Fortunately for me, I should deliver before the worst of it hits.

The dreams have been crazy this week. One night I dreamt I gave birth to a 10 lb. baby (ouch!). Another night I dreamt that I could see Charlie's foot stretching the skin of my belly so much that his foot almost broke through. His foot was pressing so hard that there was literally a little leg hanging out of my belly. So weird.

Charlie seems to be doing awesome. He gets hiccups at least once a day now, and I feel them way down deep in my pelvis (and sometimes in my butt, if that makes sense). So it's safe to say, I think, that he's still head down. I also feel him less in my ribs, which probably means that he's dropped a bit - although I can't say for sure that I've "dropped." (I have no idea why the rib pain is returning with a vengeance since he's not in that area as much.)

One of the best things about pregnancy is feeling Charlie move around. It is the most surreal and amazing feeling to know that there's a little guy inside me who at this point is well-developed and healthy. I love feeling him roll and thump around my belly. I love it when I press my belly to Roy's back when we're in bed and how he can feel Charlie moving, too. It sounds a little silly, but I'm probably going to miss those moments.

Aside from all that, I am counting down the days until I go on maternity leave. The next time I do a pregnancy update, I'll be off work and living the life of luxury. You know, eating bonbons, watching soap operas, having sordid affairs with mystery men who love themselves a good engorged woman with a distended abdomen and broken veins on her ass. That kind of thing.

April 22, 2009

Creative people annoy me.

This is a companion post to this ramble.

Okay, so. I am a creative person. I love the arts. I love reading, writing, photography, art, music, etc. I even love participating in the aforementioned activities. I would even go as far to say as without an artistic outlet, I would probably go insane.

I have to be honest, though. Most creative people annoy me. By "creative people," I mean people who have worked really hard to build up their image as "artists" and continually refer to themselves as "artists." Seriously, they make me want to puke.

These people usually have gigantic, fragile egos. They can't take criticism. They think everything they produce has been handed down by some divine being, and thus they never see the need to revise or edit or change what they originally wrote/painted/etc. If someone doesn't "get" their work, then that person must be stupid.

I have never really enjoyed spending time with these kinds of people, because they come across as being fake and insincere. Yes, I am a creative person, but I am truly interested in becoming better in my creative endeavors, not just getting praise for each and every thing I produce. And I will freely admit that most poems I've written and most photographs I've taken really suck. Every once in awhile, I get something good.

This is why I never was really interested in pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing. While the thought of being around so many other people who love writing as much as I do really excites me, I am so cynical about these programs. I don't like being around people who think that they are better than everyone else because they are "artists." I like people who are down-to-earth, who realize that no matter how many publications you have, no matter how many awards you win, you're still just a person.

I called this a companion to this post, because the point that I was trying to make in that last entry is what I'm talking about in this one. I am bowled over by the amount of bloggers who have the same voice. I happen to love my blog readers/commenters because each and every one of you is different, and I can tell it's you by the way you write and the things you say. To me, having something original to say is profound - I don't care how whiny you think it is. (Many of you said you feel like you whine a lot on your blogs.) Of course we are all going to censor ourselves to a certain degree. I don't mind getting intensely personal on my blog, but there are some things I am just not going to talk about on here. I certainly can't really blame others for wanting to protect themselves.

I guess I just want more from people sometimes. More of who they are and less of the cultivated artist persona they have created for themselves - but it is probably more apt to say that these personas are created mostly for the world to see. I am so much more interested in ordinary people as they go about their daily lives than I am in people who live in some kind of fantasy land where everything is bee-yoo-tee-ful and where every single piece of "art" they produce is the shit. This is probably why I don't have many (or any?) "creative" friends, though I would argue that everyone is creative in some way.

I really loved your comments and thoughts on my last little ramble, so feel free to tell me how you feel about this subject as well, if anything.

Happy Earth Day!

April 21, 2009

The Person Behind the Computer Screen

A funny thing happened recently.

I realized that I am kind of over reading blogs.

But that's not entirely true. I love reading blogs that reveal the innermost workings of a person's soul. I love reading about people's lives.

But I keep running into people who have the same voice (not anyone who actually reads my blog, I'm sure). They like the same things, post the same recurring series on whatever new things are awesome right now, use the same film (and cameras), read the same books, listen to the same music.

And not only that, they are all incredibly sweet, loving, non-trash talking people.

What's up with that? Doesn't anyone talk shit anymore? Is everyone nice all the time? Doesn't anyone have an actual opinion, other than "This photo is sooooo beautiful" or "I love Anthropologie!"?

I just don't get it. It's like there's a bunch of clones out there blogging, all taking pictures of their feet or leaves or food, constantly name-dropping and linking to each other, saying, "I love the look of a beige interior, don't you?" or "come check out my Etsy shop full of vintage items!" or "I found this through this blog; check her out, she is so darling!".

Don't get me wrong, I like taking pictures of my feet and leaves and even food sometimes, and I love Etsy and some vintage stuff. (I'm not a big fan of beige, though, and I don't say "darling.") And I love beautiful things as much as the next person. But I feel like I'm in junior high again, staring at the popular kids' table in the cafeteria, realizing that they are all wearing the same clothes and have the same hairstyles.

I have to wonder what these people are like in real life and whether they've sort of molded their personalities into something that will resonate with all the cool kids in the blogosphere. Maybe each and every person really is the sweetest person on the planet, but it seems to me that I'm only getting part of the story (and that feels like the part with the least amount of depth).

What do you think? Do you consciously shape your blog personality? Do you feel that your blog is an accurate representation of who you are?

I'd be curious to hear from others about this.

April 19, 2009

A Black and White Affair

Roy and I got all gussied up and went to my friend Jessica's wedding on Saturday night. I wore a halter top and felt remarkably attractive for being eight and a half months pregnant.

Before the big affair, I took Jessica's getting ready pictures. She's a gal who wouldn't know how to be anything but beautiful.

The wedding was really beautiful. It looked like a big budget event, but having been one of Jessica's unofficial wedding advisors, I know they were on a really tight budget. It helps that her now-husband works for a lighting company - it really set the mood.

I liked that they made use of the engagement photos I took for them and turned them into table numbers.

I didn't take a lot of photos at the wedding itself because it was so dimly lit and I don't have the right equipment to really deal in those circumstances. But it was a really lovely affair with good music and lots of love.

Congrats to Jessica and Josh! I know they are going to have a really happy life together.

April 17, 2009

34 weeks

Today I am 34 weeks pregnant. Yayz!

The belly is huge. (It's much easier to tell when it's not covered up, but I have tried to remain modest for the sake of this blog.) Many people have now started gasping when I tell them that I have six weeks until my due date. They don't see how I can get much bigger. I think I can, and I will. This should be interesting.

Other things that are huge: everything from the waist down. It's a disaster, truly. Cellulite city.

My back and rib pain was much better this week. While I still have a hard time lying on my right side, overall I'm feeling pretty good. (Thank you for your sympathetic comments, by the way.) Apparently the body has magical powers and a remarkable ability to heal itself.

I had my 34 week appointment yesterday. I literally gasped when I stepped on the scale and I saw I had gained five pounds in two weeks. It wasn't so much of a surprise as it was a realization that I really have been eating a lot. I can't help it, though - I am pretty much hungry all the time. It's kind of amazing since I have spent all of my life not really eating that much.

My blood pressure was a little elevated, too. It is normally super low, though, so even with the increase, it was normal. (And who knows, the increase may have been caused by my agitation about my weight gain.)

And I'm swelling. I talked about this last week, but it's gotten worse since then. I can really tell by looking at my ankles and feet. I may have Mickey Mouse feet by the time I'm full term. And actually, the fact that I'm retaining water might account for the weight gain. Whatever the case, I have stopped wearing my rings and my watch.

I asked my doctor to consult his crystal ball and tell me when he thinks I should tell my mom to fly out for Charlie's birth. He said we'd know more after my 36 week appointment when I get an internal exam to see if I'm dilated at all. Then he said, "Your vagina is my crystal ball. I may know more after giving you the exam, but chances are things will still be fuzzy. No pun intended."

Roy and I were cracking up, needless to say.

Anyway, I don't know why I was so shocked to hear I would have a cervix check; I will be four weeks from my due date at my next appointment, after all. I just can't believe I'm at the point where I can tell people, "I'm 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced!" or whatever. This is all so surreal. I'm going to be popping out this kid soon, in eight weeks or less! Wow.

With that realization comes another huge one: I have so much to do before he gets here! I need a personal assistant to help me get everything ready. I feel this huge desire to have everything as organized as possible, and with how tired I am after work every evening, not much is getting done. However, my doctor has signed me out of work starting May 1, so I will hopefully have a few weeks to rest and get some things done.

I am really ready to be off work. I have been sleeping horribly lately, because I have to pee about three times a night and then it takes forever to get comfortable after that, which means that Roy isn't getting a lot of sleep, either. I have been really unproductive both at work and at home lately, so it's high time I got as much rest as possible before I enter the most sleep-deprived time of my life.

April 13, 2009

33 weeks

I am pathetically late in posting this, but whatever - as of Friday, I am 33 weeks pregnant.

This picture was taken after a long day of taking the CBEST and strolling through Ikea, which later turned into hobbling through Ikea. We bought our crib, though - totally worth the hobbling.

Charlie is now the size of a honeydew melon. He's getting really big. And boy, have I noticed the difference.

The shit kind of hit the fan last week. I was in remarkably good shape over last weekend, but with our shower and celebrating Roy's birthday, I really think I overdid it. I'd been dealing with discomfort and some sleepless nights for weeks, but I really didn't expect what happened last Wednesday.

I am fairly sure Charlie was breech and then turned within the last couple of weeks, because I recently started feeling a lot of movement in the area of my ribs. When I say movement, I don't mean kicks or punches, but more like a wall of pressure that I could feel building up. As a result, my ribs (especially on my right side, since Charlie favors that side) were extremely sore. While it wasn't fun, it was manageable.

Very early Wednesday morning (around 2 AM), I woke up in complete, utter, no-doubt-about-it pain in my back. I could barely move, and every time I did move, it hurt so badly that I ended up crying. Roy and I were both up for the majority of the night while he took charge of both icing and applying heat to my back and then giving me a bath and a back rub. We were both able to eventually go back to sleep (me in the bed, him on the floor - what a rock star he is), and the next morning I called both my OB and chiropractor. I left messages for both, and then Roy and I decided to basically show up at the chiro's office and take them by storm. I was able to be seen right away, which is wonderful considering...

My ribs are sprained and bruised, and I have muscle spasms going on all throughout my back. And oh my god, I had never known pain like that. Having scoliosis, I have dealt with back pain for most of my life, but nothing could have prepared me for the level of pain I experienced. Remember how I talked about back pain three weeks ago? Yeah, well. That was nothing.

The good news is I am doing so much better than I was. I worked half a day on Wednesday, came home, climbed into bed, and didn't really get out until Thursday morning. The difference in me was amazing. While I still had (and have) a lot of back and rib pain, my range of motion has returned to normal and things are much more bearable. I will be seeing my chiropractor once a week from here until the end of my pregnancy so that this (hopefully) doesn't happen again.

I will say this, though - it feels like my ribs are broken. I have definitely crossed over into the realm of being pretty damn uncomfortable, as it hurts to do anything, from laugh to turn to the side to lay in bed. My acid reflux is also out of control, and Charlie still stretches out into my ribcage on a very regular basis. As a result, if I'm not at work, I'm usually in bed. I am really tired at the end (okay, and at the beginning) of every work day, even though I just sit on my ass all day.

I am also becoming a bit swollen in my hands, wrists, ankles, and feet. The stupid admin who sits across the hall from me has taken great joy in telling me about this. I also get a lot of "You look so tired" comments from random people, but I also still get a lot of "You look great" comments, which helps.

And naturally I can't wait until I'm 36 weeks so I can go out on maternity leave. The countdown is so on. I am in great need of a lot of rest, considering there are only 40 something more days (give or take a few) until I never sleep again. Plus it'll be nice to get nice and swollen at home and not have to hear about it every second of the day.

April 8, 2009

Things I Love This Week

This video is all I can think of that I love this week (aside from the normal stuff like husband, family, friends, etc). Sorry, it's been a rough one so far. But this made me smile.

April 5, 2009

Showered with Love

Yesterday Roy and I attended our personal baby shower at Melinda's house. Melinda, Angelina, and Kim were awesome hosts, and I had a really great time. Kim was the photographer for the day, so I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.

I loved the blue and brown theme!

Of course, the heart on tummy pose was a must do.

We got lots of gifts. People were very generous. We are extremely thankful.

Games included Baby Bingo...

...some unnamed game where whoever drank water from a bottle the fastest won (and of course, I was not the winner, but don't I look awesome drinking from a bottle?)...

...and another game that used candy bars to describe certain baby-related things, like "when Leslie's milk comes in." Whoever guessed the candy bar correctly (in this case, "Mounds") won the candy bar.

Then it was cake time!

And present time!

A few words about the gifts we received: Wow. Our little Charlie is already well loved and well provided for. I was so happy that we received pretty much all of our big ticket items that we really needed. Additionally, we got a ton of cute clothes and a bunch of other stuff that will definitely come in handy.

This experience has really solidified for me that most people (or our people, at least) don't seem to like ordering things online. Our Amazon registry was left largely untouched in favor of our registry at Babies R Us. Me, I absolutely love shopping online, so it's always interesting to find out what other people's shopping habits are like.

And Babies R Us really sucks at updating registry information. We got several repeats because of a glitch in their system or something. It's not that big of a deal, but it was a little annoying to come home from the shower and see that our registry was showing that only four things had been purchased from it.

Here are two pictures I really like, even though the first one showcases my five chins:

And this one, of the fam:

Me and my homies:

Thanks so much to Melinda, Kim, and Angelina for throwing us an awesome shower. We so appreciate it. You guys are awesome.

April 3, 2009

32 weeks

I'm 32 weeks pregnant today.

1) One of our showers is tomorrow! I am so excited. Three of my homies have worked together to give us this shower, and we are so grateful. I'll have pics and a recap later on.

2) We are also having an ultrasound done tomorrow. We have a voucher for a free one because the last recreational ultrasound we had didn't reveal the sex of the baby. (Obviously, a lot of time has passed since then.) Tomorrow, based on how the ultrasound goes, we will decide whether we will have a 3D/4D one done. I'm a little concerned that Charlie might be a little too squished to get a good view. We'll see what happens.

3) I saw my OB yesterday, and everything's looking great. Total weight gain is 18 pounds, Charlie's heartbeat is in the 140s (which is normal), and my blood pressure is good.

4) It looks like I'll be able to go out on maternity leave in about four weeks, which is awesome, because....

5) I have developed a whole new set of aches and pains. Some days are better than others. But let's just say that my ribcage is absolutely killing me these days. And my upper inner thighs feel like I've been doing the splits all day, every day. My back is doing much better, thanks to the brace. I am still holding my own, although it is getting harder and harder to get comfortable at night.

6) I'm pretty positive that I felt Charlie hiccuping twice this week. Very cool.

7) And speaking of baby movement, he got really crazy with the movement last weekend. I'm not sure what he was doing in there, but I think it might have something to do with playing football or moving furniture around. I'm feeling a lot of movement higher up now, which makes me think that he's head down.

I have more things to report, particularly some awesome baby gifts I've received of late, but I think I'll wait and give those a post of their own.

April 2, 2009

The cutest husband ever turns 30!

Roy is 30 years old today! And his cuteness is still undeniable.

See what I mean?

There's a lot of celebrating to be done. I've been terrible at recapping the events of my life lately, but I'll try for a post that chronicles all the celebrating. And the countdown is on to my own 30th birthday, which is two months and five days away.

Happy birthday to the cutest husband ever! I just love him.

April 1, 2009

Double You Tee Eff

So today marks the beginning of April, and wow, so much will be going on this coming month!

Let me just first say that I am due to give birth to a baby NEXT month. And while it's very possible that we may end up with a June baby as opposed to a May baby, his arrival is imminent. Let the pants-shitting begin.

Now that's out of the way, here's what's scheduled to go down in April:

1) Roy's 30th birthday!
2) Two baby showers!
3) Taking the CBEST!
4) Doing maternity pictures (hopefully)!
5) Going to (and doing some photographing of) Jessica's wedding!
6) Tackling an insanely long to-do list!

I'm exhausted just thinking about it.