“Pain insists upon being attended to.”

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” -C.S. Lewis

Today’s pain is not so dramatic as what Lewis was alluding to, most likely, but boy is it insisting on my attention like a toddler wielding a hammer.

In the past week and a half or so pelvic pain has been creeping in on me, on that V shape made by the meeting of my hips and upper thighs. It feels like I’ve been doing squats in my sleep, and waking up to feel the effects–a consistent soreness that persists through the day. At first I did think I might have overexerted myself on a long walk, but it’s stuck around, making it clear that this is not something that will be resolved in a day or two. It must be everything loosening up for birth, which is a good thing, but getting my 10,000 steps in is suddenly that much more challenging. I’ve been slipping a bit. I’ve only surpassed 11k once in the past week.

And…after much joking and veiled warnings from Carter about flipflops during pregnancy, I took my first spill today on my way to the grocery store. (I was, in fact, wearing sneakers.) My left ankle rolled (probably due to my loosened ligaments) and the world went suddenly sideways, and I found myself on the ground, stunned.

I hauled myself up and made my way to the grocery store and wandered up and down the aisles, still rather out of it, and ended up only buying gummy bears and ground coffee instead of the 6 items on my list. It hurts to breathe deeply and sitting up and standing up sends shooting pains through my right side. I did a bit of googling and it turns out it doesn’t matter if it’s bruised, cracked, or broken–the treatment for all three is the same: rest. They can’t x-ray the area or splint a rib, after all.

4-6 weeks of rest. And I’m due in…4 weeks. How’m I going to push with a bum rib? Hopefully it’s a light bruise if anything and it will resolve by then.

The worst of it is: I’ve only finished one item on my list of 10 to-do’s. I can’t stand at the stove and cook, can’t lift things up and down in the baby’s room. All I can do is lie on the couch. This is what depresses me the most.

But, maybe it’s a mixed blessing. Maybe I’ll get some writing done, since more active to-do’s are simply off the menu at the moment.

“It is impossible to go through life without trust: That is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.”

“It is impossible to go through life without trust: That is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.” – J.M. Barrie

Not quite running on fumes–maybe running on low? A quarter tank? It’s been a busy weekend. Friday I finished outlining my SFR–finally–and we went out for groceries on top of a doctor’s appointment and a pediatrician meet n’greet. We shared a salad and chicken sandwich at Gregoire’s while the rain poured outside, and then the rest of the day was spent tapping away at my outline.

I had written in my diary that it was going to be done whether I liked it or not, and lo and behold, I did write it. I’m happy with 4/5 of it. The final story will need some finessing, but it’s good enough that I can get going with writing, if I want. Frankly I’m excited to write it. It’ll be a nice change from what I’ve been working on before.

Saturday was spent at the hospital 10-4 at a baby care class. The class was full of beleaguered pregnant ladies and their partners; I could hear the rustle of snacks being broken out a mere hour after it began, and in the corner of the room one woman who was due to deliver soon napped on her chair. I think the men may have gotten more out of it than the women. When we came home I took a nap despite it being five o’clock; it was only twenty minutes but it gave me the fuel to get through the rest of the day. Carter and I washed our way through 4 loads of hand-me-downs and baby shower clothes, and spent the evening folding and watching TV.

Today was comparatively more relaxed. We slept in until 10:30AM (well, 9:30 pre-daylight savings) and when I got up I made panettone french toast for breakfast along with an egg-and-bacon quesadilla, and then we went to Point Isabel for an hour of watching Beast romp through mud and rain and sea water from the shore. Needless to say he was quite tired when it was all through. We went to Target which was curiously crowded for some returns and an early stock-up on paper towels, detergent, trash bags and frozen organic fruit. All the while it rained.

At home we swore off naps in an effort to go bed on time, and ate the leftover halves of our Thai noodles from the night before. He cleaned out his dresser upstairs, and I finished up my thank you notes and did a few other chores. I cooked a roast chicken with potatoes and brussels sprouts. Carter skipped dessert but I ate a small bowl of balsamic roasted strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

Funny: I notice that I write a lot about food and especially what I cooked, but my achievements are few and far between these days. Cooking is an accomplishment.

The rain has been refreshing and needed but I won’t lie–I’m looking forward to a week of relative sunniness ahead. I hope it will give me a jolt of energy. I am so tired.

 


*General to-do’s*
Buy Toms shoes on eBay (Mon)
Buy Tieks (any day)
Toss old shoes (check for tread and holes)
Sign up for Imperfect Produce box using coupon code
Sort through SIL’s hand-me-downs
Thank you cards for family baby shower
Make lettuce wraps
Bake sweet potatoes
Clear old food from fridge
Jury duty (check Sunday night)
Laundry (Sunday night)
Schedule house cleaning for Thu
Put cleaning powder on rug and vacuum
Schedule haircut
Roomba 2nd bdrm and bathroom
Trim dead leaves off houseplants
Repot the goddamn mint
Frame for art in baby’s room
Badger parents about TDAP shots
Cake for baby shower
Create inventory for chest freezer
Set up bassinet
Pack hospital bag
Get prescription filled
Clean out baby’s dresser, move my junk upstairs
Organize DVDs by genre
Wash baby clothes given as gifts, organize in dresser

*Food planning for postpartum period*
Jiaozi
Ravioli
Garlic meatballs or meaty marinara
Carnitas
[buy] precooked rice, TJ’s frozen meals (orange chicken, Indian entrees), frozen organic fruit (smoothies), raisins
Freeze ripe bananas
Steel cut oatmeal pucks (freeze)
Freeze sliced whole wheat bread
Cookie dough
Banana bread (slice)

*Writing*
Sign box set contract
Proofread standalone novel
Format and publish standalone novel
Outline SFR series (4)
Outline bestseller story sequels (3)
Finish outlining space opera book 2
Outline space opera book 3
Write 1/3 bestseller story sequel

“The human animal differs from the lesser primates in his passion for lists.”

“The human animal differs from the lesser primates in his passion for lists.” – H. Allen Smith

Exhausting weekend, but a good one, and voila, it is already Tuesday!

Friday we attended a comfort class run by our doulas, then stuffed our faces with chicken sandwiches at Gregoire’s before running errands at Home Depot, Sports Authority (birth ball!), and the grocery store. I was so bushed by the end of it that I took a 1.5 hour nap in the afternoon, which is long even for me these days. We spent the evening baking our gender reveal cupcakes for the baby shower, frosting and sprinkling the little pink treats.

Saturday we got up and promptly took Beast out to the dog park, running him hard in the rain, drugging him with Dramamine and then getting on the road for Merced. The rain was spotty, and by the time we rolled in front of Carter’s parents’ house the sky was looking ominous but still holding. The shower happened; I’m a bit foggy on the details, as it was a blur of my in-laws’ family and friends, opening presents with our rambunctious little niece, and chowing down on salad and angel food cake. All very ladylike. We stayed for dinner and a tantrum; we got on the road and by the time we were approaching Oakland the sky unleashed the heaviest rains I remember seeing on a highway. All the cars slowed down to 40 MPH and we inched our way home around 10PM.

Sunday was a day of absolute sloth. How do I know? I have no to-do list from that day. Nothing attempted and nothing accomplished. Dear friend J came over for lunch at Gather in downtown Berkeley; she’s normally a vegetarian but was delighted to find sustainable/local meats on the menu and got herself a bacon cheeseburger. I think half the joy was watching her gobble it down. I had a more restrained egg and forbidden rice dish with kimchi, and we split a truly divine French toast. After the meal we walked around campus and talked about her impending adventures: a summer in Oxford/London, her career, boys, and Asian pastries. J lived in Singapore before she came back to the bay area for the Goog and part time law school; she speaks fluent Russian and French (grew up in Kyrgyzstan) and is a truly cosmopolitan brainiac. I’m almost envious of her adventures to come, if I weren’t, well, otherwise occupied! I bought Carter a pastry from 85C and a boba tea for myself, and the rest of the day disappeared in total indolence.

This week I am feeling relieved that the shower is over and eager to finish out the items on my lists. I’m not as lazy as I was last week–I think. More! Lists!


*Small things I’m excited to do once this baby is outta here*
Sleep on my back
Sleep on my stomach
No more pregnancy rhinitis/congestion
Fit into my shoes again
Wear my wedding rings again
Take Sudafed if I want
Run/exercise with a smidge more intensity
No more random pains in the stomach
No more itchy belly skin
Lean over and touch my toes, do crunches
Roll over in bed without puffery
Feel hungry like a normal person does instead of intense, poisonous rage

*General to-do’s*
Buy Toms shoes on eBay (Mon)
Buy Tieks (any day)
Toss old shoes (check for tread and holes)
Sign up for Imperfect Produce box using coupon code
Sort through SIL’s hand-me-downs
Thank you cards for family baby shower
Make lettuce wraps
Bake sweet potatoes
Clear old food from fridge
Jury duty (check Sunday night)
Laundry (Sunday night)
Schedule house cleaning for Thu
Put cleaning powder on rug and vacuum
Schedule haircut
Roomba 2nd bdrm and bathroom
Trim dead leaves off houseplants
Repot the goddamn mint
Frame for art in baby’s room
Badger parents about TDAP shots
Cake for baby shower
Create inventory for chest freezer
Set up bassinet
Pack hospital bag
Get prescription filled
Clean out baby’s dresser, move my junk upstairs
Organize DVDs by genre
Wash baby clothes given as gifts, organize in dresser

*Food planning for postpartum period*
Jiaozi
Ravioli
Garlic meatballs or meaty marinara
Carnitas
[buy] precooked rice, TJ’s frozen meals (orange chicken, Indian entrees), frozen organic fruit (smoothies), raisins
Steel cut oatmeal pucks (freeze)
Freeze sliced whole wheat bread
Cookie dough
Banana bread (slice)

*Writing*
Sign box set contract
Proofread standalone novel
Format and publish standalone novel
Outline SFR series (4)
Outline bestseller story sequels (3)
Finish outlining space opera book 2
Outline space opera book 3
Write 1/3 bestseller story sequel

“The blue colour is everlastingly appointed by the Deity to be a source of delight…”

“The blue colour is everlastingly appointed by the Deity to be a source of delight; and whether seen perpetually over your head, or crystallised once in a thousand years into a single and incomparable stone, your acknowledgment of its beauty is equally natural, simple, and instantaneous.” – John Ruskin, quoted in a very interesting article about ultramarine

Today was a good and beautiful day, and the sky was as blue as beauty, and the passionflowers were blooming in my backyard, and sunlight illuminated everything.

Today was especially lovely as it was cooler than yesterday. I spent yesterday at the  courthouse near Lake Merritt, waiting to be excused from jury duty for a murder trial. The courthouse was clearly a WPA building, art deco and covered in wood and marble within. There was nothing else nearby, a few closed museums and the lake not too far off. I went to a Cambodian restaurant for lunch and ate overpriced egg rolls and fried rice, then waddled back in the afternoon to see if my hardship excusal had been granted (“I will be 38 weeks pregnant when this trial begins…”).

The court staff and the judge were amiable and understanding that no one wanted to be there; they called two groups of 80 and excused most of us. I was almost moved to tears when standing in the hot, windowless vestibule of the courtroom a very nice man offered me his seat. I hadn’t realized how tired I was that afternoon. I took the BART home and walked back to the house very, very slowly. I lay down on the daybed in the baby’s room but don’t remember if I slept.

I can’t decide if I am genuinely less energetic than before or if the lack of distractions–like I had at work–is simply making me focus on my bodily discomforts more. The day before I left on leave an attorney commented that pregnancy hasn’t slowed you down at all. I cheerily responded that I felt great!

Well; three days later and I feel unwieldy and tired so much of the day. Maybe at work I had no choice but to keep moving, keep working, stop thinking so much about my body. I tried to get more exercise today–11.5k steps–and it did help some, I think. I wasn’t tempted to nap this afternoon. But my feet still ached, and I was short of breath, and my right hip felt like it was aching and over-rotated (like I had pushed my turnout too hard).

Still, the day was not without its minor achievements. I proofread my last novel and caught a few errors; I have my cover ready to go and will likely publish it this weekend. This poor book will alas be an orphan; I have no desire whatsoever to write a sequel and this will be for a different pen name. If it recovers the cost of the cover ($40?) I will be happy. I also began learning basic formatting for creating paperbacks, and this book will be my guinea pig. Tomorrow: dentist, more formatting, possibly some outlining.

I made berry smoothies and fried eggs for breakfast, lettuce cups and roasted Japanese sweet potatoes for lunch, and avocado quesadillas for dinner. I only had one slice of the strawberry cake we made this Sunday. I split a rich chocolate cookie with Carter for evening dessert. Very. Small. Victories.

Baby is turning over and over within me. She just finished her nightly session of hiccups. Little one, how is that I know you are going to be big trouble?


Things to do, mostly unorganized:

*General to-do’s*
Buy Toms shoes on eBay (Mon)
Buy Tieks (any day)
Toss old shoes (check for tread and holes)
Sign up for Imperfect Produce box using coupon code
Sort through SIL’s hand-me-downs
Make lettuce wraps
Bake sweet potatoes
Clear old food from fridge
Jury duty (check Sunday night)
Laundry (Sunday night)
Schedule house cleaning for Thu
Put cleaning powder on rug and vacuum
Schedule haircut
Roomba 2nd bdrm and bathroom
Trim dead leaves off houseplants
Repot the goddamn mint
Frame for art in baby’s room
Badger parents about TDAP shots
Cake for baby shower
Create inventory for chest freezer
Set up bassinet
Pack hospital bag
Get prescription filled
Clean out baby’s dresser, move my junk upstairs
Organize DVDs by genre
Wash baby clothes given as gifts, organize in dresser

*Food planning for postpartum period*
Jiaozi
Ravioli
Garlic meatballs or meaty marinara
Carnitas
[buy] precooked rice, TJ’s frozen meals (orange chicken, Indian entrees), frozen organic fruit (smoothies), raisins
Steel cut oatmeal pucks (freeze)
Freeze sliced whole wheat bread
Cookie dough
Banana bread (slice)

*Writing*
Sign box set contract
Proofread standalone novel
Format and publish standalone novel
Outline SFR series (4)
Outline bestseller story sequels (3)
Finish outlining space opera book 2
Outline space opera book 3
Write 1/3 bestseller story sequel

 

“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 8.54.30 PM
dog, thin mints, remotes, charging fitbit, earbuds, cell phone, yellow shopping list, bullet journal, my laptop (with my disheveled shadow on the screen)

“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” -Tina Fey, Bossypants

Today is my last day “at” work (I’m working from home, which means I’m slouched down on the sofa). I scribbled that quick drawing a few days ago, realizing rather quickly that I’d been over-ambitious trying to draw so much (and color to boot) in ten or twenty minutes. Anyway where I’m sitting now is not much different, except with the addition of Carter’s cough drops and a pair of scissors.

This is the beginning of maternity leave. I have six and a half weeks before my due date. I feel like a high school senior who’s been let out before everyone else, waiting to graduate. Relieved, excited, fearful, unsure.

Baby has been riding low in my belly, knocking the wind out of me occasionally as I’ve been walking. Today I took a stroll during lunch to the post office, and had to stop and double over twice–not in pain, but more in discomfort as she rolled inside me. She hiccups everyday, often in the evenings or in the middle of the night; I can feel the rhythmic flicker a few inches under my belly button. So she’s head-down, which is good.

I woke up this morning abuzz with excitement, wondering what I was going to accomplish today, tingling at the thought of deleting my work inbox and then ignoring it for the next 6 months. I got up, showered, took the dog out, ate breakfast and then sat down at the laptop to delete around 500 emails; finished a few evaluations and last tasks for work, and to write the first round of thank-you emails for baby gifts we’ve received. I walked to the post office, picked up a sandwich from the deli, and came back to delete a few more emails, run the roomba around the house, and drew up a shopping list.

I have to cook for myself now–no more corporate handouts!–so the shopping bill ran over a hundred dollars this week. Two different kinds of sweet potatoes, two different kinds of pears, pink lady apples, blueberries and blackberries, bananas, milk, turkey, shrimp, eggs, cilantro, lettuce, bean sprouts, mushrooms, onions, shallots, green onions, tortillas, whey protein, limes, avocados, and four fudgey brownies. I like that list. It sounds good enough to eat.

Shrimp tacos tonight; tomorrow, fruit smoothies for breakfast, fried eggs; leftover shrimp tacos for lunch; dinner, maybe some turkey lettuce cups and sweet potato coins. If I have the energy I’ll poach some pears in the slow cooker with cinnamon. As for the week ahead, I have some tea eggs and frozen wontons; it looks like I’ll need a few more entrées. And I have two fudgey brownies left, at the end of today!

So many things flitter through my mind as things I need to do but they are so many that I find it hard to put a finger on the most important ones. Tomorrow I’ll do a David Allen Getting-Things-Done style review. I’ve been neglecting journaling as I’ve neared my leave date, but now I can commit to it–at least until little girl decides to make her grand entrance. Good night, & see you in the morning.

“A cheerful life is what the Muses love, A soaring spirit is their prime delight.”

A cheerful life is what the Muses love, A soaring spirit is their prime delight. -William Wordsworth

I was sitting on the can a few mornings ago and still half asleep. I ran my hands over my belly and for a strange moment thought–this is just fat! There’s nothing here! I’m not pregnant at all–must have all been a dream. Dang, people are going to be mad when they find out. I wonder if I’ll have to return the shower gifts. 

Well, I got in the shower and the gut-kicks began, so I suppose baby took umbrage at that.

I’m not writing, and I feel pretty good about it. First, because I feel pretty awful otherwise–still nursing a head cold that my husband gave me as a pre-Valentine’s gift. My world is zoomed in on mucus and sinus pressure and fatigue (with a nice dose of heartburn from the pregnancy) and there’s not much room for much else at present.

Yesterday I finished the 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle that was my anniversary gift (4 pieces missing! Rage!!), and cooked a curry and a pot of rice, and that’s about all I was able to accomplish. Oh, and a quick library trip to hit my 10k daily stepcount.

I kept thinking–how am I going to wing this with a baby? What happens when my entire household is out sick? What do I do then? How am I going to feel awful and take care of another human being (or two)?

It was a small, brief manifestation of my tendency to catastrophic thinking. I headed it off with a nap and a bowl of tang yuan. Stress-sleeping is a good coping strategy, although the dreams get weird.

Anyway, regarding writing: I finished novel 1 in my space opera series at about 60k words, but have only started outlining its sequel. With the lapse in productivity I’ll be lucky to finish novel 2 before baby comes, assuming that I even have the brainpower to write towards the end of pregnancy–egads, we’re only 8.5 weeks away from D-day! And as for the closing novel–I have no plans for it, although I know how the series will close. Altogether with the increasing toll of the 3rd trimester I don’t feel bad about where I stand with writing. Some things are more important than Side Venture. It’s time to relax, spoon some curry in my mouth, and take a nap on the couch.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.”

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. – Calvin Coolidge

Oh but I am so very tired these days. You were always one of the more forgettable presidents anyway, next to Buchanan and Harding…

In January I kept up with writing 2,000 words a day. I finished the first draft of space opera on Friday, the 29th, so the persistence paid off. Of course, now I am waffling a bit on outlining for book 2 in the series. I have the overall arc in mind, but the devil is in the details. If I keep pace with my expectations I will start writing book 2 tomorrow and finish it sometime in early March. But I am so tired. Nonetheless: push through.

Yesterday we spent a lovely day in Sonoma with K, R, and K, visiting Preston Vineyards and Bella Vineyards. I much preferred Preston; they had a giant bowl of estate olive oil out ($45 a bottle!!), and a basket of fresh sourdough bread. Dave liked and bought a few of their zins. There was a great black lion of a cat lying out on one of their picnic tables, accepting pets as was his due. We witnessed a rooster seizing a hen by the neck, jumping on her back and, well, having his roosterly way with her. It was brutal and efficient–maybe 5 seconds of action?

We went to dinner at Bravas in Healdsburg and sat in a cozy, orange-painted alcove and tapas–roasted octopus, anchovies, olives, pickled trout, Dungeness baked noodles, fried chicken, kale salad, brussels sprouts, scallops, garlic toasts, foie gras sliders, rum balls, chocolate mousse, and soft serve vanilla ice cream with spiced apples. Everyone else washed the food down with martinis and wine but I sipped my water and was very content.

We retired to K and R’s apartment in Rohnert Park and watched a bit of TV before driving home around 11 at night. I was exhausted and bloated from all the good food but enjoyed the day very much. I don’t know when I’ll be able to do something like that again.

Today–Sunday–we spent the day running errands and cleaning, as Carter’s parents are spending tomorrow night here before flying out to Wyoming on Tuesday morning. When I’m retired I want to be like them–jetsetting everywhere.

We dropped off books and donations at Goodwill, bought a few necessities at Target, then came home and cleaned out the second bedroom/nursery, moved things up to the attic to store, and cleaned up the house generally. Cleared the top of the TV center, cleaned out the fridge, took out all the trash in the house, and put out fresh sheets and towels for our guests. Vacuumed and did two loads of dishes. Put away the fish tank. Once baby is here we shall have to do a better job of regular tidying as massive cleanups like this are, well, totally exhausting and infeasible with a demanding blob around.

I cooked Carter’s breakfast burritos for the week, roasted some chicken thighs and stirred up a romaine salad for dinner, and cooked a pork and cabbage dish for the weeknights ahead. I’ve come to realize that if I don’t finish cooking on Sunday, I’m not going to do it during the week.

My stamina is running a bit low these days, but still managed to get to 11k and 10k steps this Sat and Sun, respectively. Hoping to hit 13-15k during this upcoming week.

And now I know why writers are advised not to journal in the evenings. What a boring recitation of events. Goodnight!