Saturday, February 27, 2010

In Praise of Snoogles

Last night, I slept on my Snoogle (the overgrown boppy I made mention of in yesterday's 7 Quick Takes). That's a happy pillow!

Finally something that supports my legs, my back, my stomach, and my neck (although I think I will have to add a small pillow to the neck place otherwise I'm going to get a crick in my neck from the angle the stuffing is at).

And it doesn't fall off the bed three or four times a night or require me to wake up quite thoroughly if I need to turn over (I'm a very restless sleeper--these people who never move in the night boggle my mind) in order to rearrange everything.

And I don't have to either push it out of the way or try to clamber over it so I can get out of the bed in one of my ever-frequent bathroom stops in the night (a feat that has rapidly becoming much less graceful and more difficult--I swear it's like climbing Mt Everest some nights). Instead it has this nice little cut on one side that I just leave facing the side of the bed and I can just lift up one of the arms and slip out easily!

And Chris is liking it too because by itself it takes up less room than my mound of pillows took up (I have--bless him--a very patient husband. He has put up with my pillows slowly taking over the bed because he knows I've just been trying to get comfortable. But I know that I've been slowly usurping more and more of his sleeping space).

The only bad observation I would say about it thus far is that I'm not quite sure if someone who is much taller than I am would find it quite as comfortable. It's very flexible and can be shoved into various angles and what-not, and obviously it had to have been designed with taller people in mind as I am (sadly) not considered normal (height only, thank you very much!--JJ, keep the comments to yourself), but it's such a perfect fit for my height, I do have to wonder...

Any ways, that's my Saturday morning rhapsody on Snoogles!

[Liz--you've jumped up to top three in my list of people I'm currently very, very grateful to!]

Friday, February 26, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 11)

1. So I started out my day with a certain number of possessions, and by 2:45pm they had expanded to quite a few more. It's kind of overwhelming.

My birthday present came in the mail today (an under-the-counter radio for our kitchen--YAY!--other than the fact that it now needs to actually be put under the counter...hmmmm...I wonder who I can get to that?) along with a very overgrown boppy which is basically a desperate attempt for me to find pillows that I'm actually comfortable sleeping on right now. Crossing my fingers and praying this will work.

Then a co-worker of mine dropped off about 5 books on pregnancy, babies, etc as well as a bag full of other goodies like maternity clothes. She just had her second baby so is not going to be needing any of them for awhile. I feel very blessed.


2. In other happenings of recent days--Robins have been spotted in our back yard. I'm praying and praying and praying that they were not simply mistaken and are now going to freeze to death or that they weren't actually headed somewhere else and were just using our fence as a temporarily stopping place, but that they are here to stay--with SPRING! Because, frankly, I'm done with cold weather now, thank you very much.


3. Last weekend we went to see Stomp (we also took my brother and his wife along). This is the second time (for me--third for Christopher) that we've had the opportunity to see them. And once again it was a satisfying, intriguing, fun show.


4. For my mother. From Valentine's day. Not the most flattering picture, but there you have it--Blueberry is taking over!

5. My brain today reminded me very much of a conversation from season 1 of Gilmore Girls:

: Can brains hurt?
: Yes, it's hypochondria hour.
: No, I'm serious. Last night when I was reading my biology chapters I distinctly heard a ping in the vicinity of my brain.
: Your brain pinged?
: Yeah. It just went like 'dink'.
: Well then, honey, your brain dinked. It didn't ping.
: Well I hardly think a dinking brain is better than a pinging brain.

I think I dinked. Brain quit functioning. Very problematic when trying to get things done at work.


6. Goal for this weekend: tackling the scary closet in our study so I can move the scariness (hopefully as a slightly less scary mass) to the current guest room/new study. Pray for me. I think I may need it.


7. What is up with pregnancy appetites? For the first three months I thought I was going to die, or at least put on 10 pounds, because of how hungry I was all the time. And now I'm varying from day to day, hour to hour. Sometimes I feel like I Must have food NOW or I will keel over and then other times I haven't eaten for quite awhile and I'm really not hungry but I really, probably should eat something because skipping meals altogether is generally not the greatest of ideas and especially when you have something else to keep alive as well. But then of course I wake up at 1am and have to get out of bed and find a snack because I've returned to the "must have food NOW or death" stage. You'd think I could at least be consistent! I hope this isn't a foreshadowing of Blueberries eating habits to come...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Design Mania II

So along with the topic of rearranging my house comes the delightful task of setting up a nursery.

As we have decided to go ahead and do a major(ish) overhaul of two rooms, I've really had to start thinking about what I want to do, especially as we're planning on painting (and re-carpeting) Blueberry's room. But in order to pick paint colors, I had to have an idea of how I was decorating.

I decided a logical place to start would be with bedding. I examined various themes and ideas but ultimately my love of literature--children's literature in this particular case--won out. After perusing the classic Pooh Bear collections and oohing and aahing over the Beatrix Potter sets, I finally decided on a lovely set that has various nursery rhymes. This gives me a lot of license to mix and match in various other characters and stories with ease. Plus the more gender neutral colors of the set let me go ahead and pick out paint now without knowing if Blueberry is going to be a he or she. Besides, I've always known I would never be one to the do the traditional pink or blue.

If you want to see all the pictures, go here to amazon and you can look at all the adorableness in full.

Right now I'm leaning towards an orangish/yellow color for the walls (if you can look close enough at the bedding, you'll see the color I'm looking at is incorporated in various places all over the quilt). It's bright but not too bright, and I'm just hoping it will turn out the way I'm envisioning!

So bedding is now in hand, negotiations over paint colors and carpet choices are ensuing, and as my bump gets bigger (could someone explain to me how my stomach is the size it is if I've only gained about 1 pound so far?) the fact that I'm about to have my entire existence changed is becoming more and more real. And I'm OK with that.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Design Mania

I just found a fun new tool to play with and it's making me happy. I've been working out plans for how to rearrange the furniture to turn our current guest room into our study, transfer our current study into the baby's room, and of course figure out how to rearrange our living room to actually fit, well, kid stuff.

I was looking around on the Internet for a program that could help me plan out where some of this furniture could go. And I just found a fantastic (free) program to do it! It's actually a part of a furniture store. Just go to this link at the Raymour & Flanigan Furniture website.

Click on the "Launch Room Planner" button and start playing! It's fun, and you can save your designs or even email them to yourself (or someone else). Way easier than actually shoving the furniture around...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Movie Review: Rebecca

If you are a writer or simply a lover of good writing, read Daphne Du Maurier's Rebbecca. This has been my favorite Du Maurier books (and truthfully, just one of my favorite books all around) for many years. (Quick note on Du Maurier for those unfamiliar with her. She is a rather interesting English author with a love of the mysterious often with hints of the supernatural thrown in. Some of her books are great. Some are just weird).

Any ways, the writing in Rebbecca is gorgeous--there's just no other word for it. Her ability to write a chilling ghost story which has absolutely no ghosts or other supernatural elements actually in it is incredible. The book itself has some of the most incredible descriptions that make me--as a writer--despair of ever being able to write something great.

In short, it is everything a book should be: perfectly developed plot, great suspense coupled with sympathetic round characters, and scintillating description.

Any ways, for many years, I've wanted to see Sir Alfred Hitchcock's version of Rebbecca. A few months ago, Chris and I watched a BBC version of Rebbecca - very well done, good interpretation of the book, etc. But I still wanted to watch how the master of suspense would tackle this book.

And initially, I was impressed. It's a black and white (1940's) movie. The character development is well shown. Much of the wording and description is taken straight out of the book itself. The filming is obviously typical Hitchcock (and therefore excellent). The suspense builds. The lighting plays on your mood. And, as it's a 1940's film, the violin wails in the background at all the right parts. For the unfamiliar with the story, the hints of supernatural and mystery would be nail-biting (when you know the end of the story, it does lose a bit of it's power).

And then we got to the best part of the story when the truth begins to come out and climax is being reached and the characters are frantically having to make choices about what they believe, who they will stand by..........and Hitchcock missed it. Suddenly he skips entire chapters in the book. Loses the build up of suspense and description that Du Maurier gave her story. What should have been the most moving scenes of the film with the audience cheering on the protagonist and watching true love win, gets totally lost in the shuffle of "we have to get this film over and done with".

Most disappointed. Read the book. Watch the BBC version. I can't recommend Hitchcock's version. The Master has failed me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Four weeks ago, I had a rather sad conversation with one of my best friends who informed me that she was moving...14 hours four weeks. Last night, after four weeks of squeezing in as much time with her as possible (including packing boxes--it's an art form; one I have good skills at), I said goodbye.

You would think after 28 years of moving, or other people moving, I would be used to this pattern of comings and goings and saying goodbye. But I'm not. I still hate it.

It's a navy blue day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Fruity Lesson

So, class, today we're going to discuss the sizes of fruits.

Which is bigger? A lemon or a peach? How about a naval orange or an avocado?

Maybe it's just me, but I would answer those questions saying a peach is bigger than a lemon and an orange is bigger than an avocado (in general of course. I'm sure there are random mutant examples of all of those that completely throws this scale out the window).

Why am I obsessing about fruit size? Because, my friends, I run along the lines of a perfectionist. And when a little chart tells me that one week my Blueberry is the size of a peach and then the next week Blueberry is the size of a lemon and then an orange and then an avocado, and I think a lemon is smaller than a peach and an avocado is smaller than an orange--I get confused. And annoyed.

Next lesson: how to spell avocado. Because I keep trying to spell it like this--avacado

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy (Chinese) New Year!

Technically, I'm a day late. But it was Valentine's day yesterday, so your new year greeting had to wait until today.

It's the year of the tiger. I find this particularly interesting because that means my baby Lyon is going to be a Tiger. Anyone else find this combination a little intimidating?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Valentine

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold:
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Ev'ry pow'r as Thou shalt choose.
Ev'ry pow'r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself, and I will be,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Words: Frances R. Havergal 1874.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To Love

I ran across this quote awhile ago, and it got me thinking.

Proactive people show you what they love, what they want, what they purpose, and what they stand for. These people are very different from those who are known by what they hate, what they don't like, what they stand against, and what they will not do...

This got me thinking because I know people like that--people of whom I can only identify those things they don't like. Those things that bother them. What they don't want, don't enjoy, or don't love.

It's like when I realized I couldn't eat gluten contaminated items any more. I had two ways of looking at the situation:

1. The huge long list of things I couldn't eat any more.
2. The huge long list of things I can eat (or would be able to eat with a little bit of research and experimentation).

So I got to thinking about all the things I do love because I want to be a person who is known for their love and passion in life, not as a pure pessimist (into which hole I can definitely fall at times).

So here you have a random and very incomplete list of loves--very Sound of Music-esque I'm afraid.

  1. the ocean
  2. the ocean on New Years Eve, particularly when you're around a bunch of hotels so you can see their incredible firework displays and, if you're particularly lucky, the algae that glows in the water
  3. puppy dogs
  4. cats sitting on the side of the road, watching where you're going, but who are to busy (or snobby) to stop and talk
  5. Carmina Burana
  6. The adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia from the ballet Spartacus
  7. the balcony scene adagio from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet.
  8. keowneow gaiyang gap somtam (sticky rice, barbecue chicken, and green papaya salad)
  9. Thai food of all sorts
  10. Naan (Indian bread)
  11. The overpowering, hit you in the face feeling of heat upon walking out of the airport when you first land in Bangkok
  12. The scene of mint, lime, and cinnamon. Not all together.
  13. dark chocolate
  14. freshly made brownies smothered in vanilla ice-cream
  15. sitting and listening to my dad read the Christmas story on Christmas day
  16. playing games with my family
  17. being silly with my family
  18. dancing
  19. lazing with my baby sis
  20. cuddling while watching a movie
  21. monsoon season
  22. snow that is deep enough to go take a fun walk or play in and that stays white
  23. roses
  24. orchids
  25. beautiful gardens
  26. sunshine
  27. houses with lots of big windows
  28. wood floors
  29. fireplaces
  30. pianos
  31. playing the piano
  32. going to the symphony
  33. getting mail
  34. getting emails (not junk mail)
  35. babies
  36. being pregnant!
  37. pillow-top mattresses
  38. traveling/vacations to new places
  39. going to England
  40. going (hiking, wandering, just being in) to the Lake District
  41. the smell of new books
  42. new spiral-bound journals
  43. going out on a date that requires dressing up
  44. changing into sweats and other comfy clothes after being dressed up
  45. talking until the wee hours of the morning with my husband
  46. watching Chris when he's being silly trying to cheer me up
  47. the smell of clean laundry
  48. the fluffy feel of towels hot from the dryer
  49. being read to
  50. reading a well-loved book that I've devoured countless times before and will do so countless times more
  51. reading a brand new book from an author I love
  52. reading a new book from an author I want to explore
  53. reading in general
  54. writing blogs
  55. lolcats
  56. Audrey Hepburn
  57. classic movies like Gone With the Wind and Casablanca
  58. classic musicals like Fiddler on the Roof and
  59. having a sparkling clean house
  60. lazy Saturdays with nothing to do
  61. getting together with friends
  62. editing something and making it better than it was
  63. cooking and baking
  64. trying (and succeeding) at new recipes
  65. discovering how to make one of my favorite foods GF
  66. riding a bike
  67. riding a horse
  68. jet skiing
  69. snow mobiling
  70. hot tubs
  71. long, hot baths
  72. blue eyes
  73. dark red hair
  74. stretching
  75. road trips—when I get to drive
  76. seeing cardinals, especially in the middle of winter
  77. being barefoot
  78. wearing boots
  79. dangly earrings
  80. getting a hug
  81. discovering someone reads my blog
  82. thrift store shopping
  83. garage sale-ing
  84. doing my budget and having it come out even without a fuss
  85. finding an unexpected check or money
  89. an empty ballet studio with only a barre, a mirror, a wooden floor, and me
  90. holding hands with my husband
  91. distracting Chris when he’s trying to do homework or play a video game, he gets so cute when he’s trying to concentrate and ignore me and failing utterly
  92. really good salads
  93. going to a park
  94. going to historic places (when I know the history)
  95. going out for dinner or staying somewhere nice and pretending to be rich and have money to blow (ignoring the coupon or the discounted room that we snagged!)
  96. realizing that I don’t have to be rich to be content
  97. my wedding ring
  98. talking for hours with a good friend
  99. eating fruit
  100. drinking water
  101. being old enough to not be too old for good children’s authors like A.A. Milne, Beatrix Potter, and Michael Bond
  102. taking pictures
  103. candles
  104. Christmas lights
  105. popping the bubbles on bubble wrap
  106. making soap bubbles

OK, I think that’s enough for now. Might come back and add more to that list when I have time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Of Blueberries and Helicopters and Whales and Things That Go Squeak in the Night

So what do all these items have to do with each other? Well, it's very simple. They are all related to one of the best things that has happened to me in a very, very long time.

I'm pregnant! 14 weeks to be exact. With a due date (ha ha) of August 4, 2010.

Two weeks ago, we had the delightful experience of hearing baby's (or Blueberry's) heartbeat. We thought it sounded like a helicopter taking off. Well, Chris decided it sounded like the weird sonogram noise from one of the Star Trek movies where the whales get rescued.

So why Blueberry? Well, there is this delightful list on The Bump (a pregnancy website) that lists all the different weeks pregnancy and compares baby's size to a different fruit or vegetable. As you can see, we now are at a lemon. Well, the first time I saw this list, baby was the size of a blueberry, so I congratulated Chris that we were having a blueberry! Since then, baby has just been going by the name of Blueberry. I know, I know. Poor child isn't even born yet and already is stuck with a nickname. However, it's definitely much easier to refer to Blueberry than to refer to she/he and definitely much preferable over the gender-neutral "it".

So far, everything seems to be going smoothly. I've had much morning sickness (I've never been so grateful in my life to be nauseous all the time; having that tangible reassurance that my body is appropriately changing and dealing with a new experience has been very soothing to my fears) and tiredness and various other "esses" that are apparently all a part of having a baby. The last few weeks, the symptoms have definitely begun to lift (well, other than the whole pooch thing), and I'm enjoying being able to clean my house again without wanting to take a two hour nap.

There you have it, friends. Much more news to come!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sunday Lesson

How to change a very flat tire.

Yup, that was my Sunday. Combine that with the fact that I have a husband who is still ghastly ill, and it was quite a weekend.

Now to face the week...

One Year Ago Today

On this day, one year ago, we completely changed our lives. We drove away from jobs and home and loved ones to a new adventure of the very m...