Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Big Brother Gmail

Gmail's figured out that I'm having a baby. Here are the sort of sponsored links it's tagging on to most of my mails these days:
Sponsored Links (feedback)

2006 Cute Kid of the Year
Enter your child's photos for a Chance to win 1 yr College Tuition

Free Baby Bottles
Avent Set With Bottle Warmer, Nipples & Brush. Requires Survey

The Baby Sling Directory
Directory Of Baby Sling Deals. Find Baby Slings Quickly.

Baby Shower Gift Idea
Unique Gift Idea for Expecting Moms Who Own Dogs-Great Baby Shower Gift

Buy Baby Carriers
Affordable Baby Carriers & Sling Wraps From Ellaroo & More-Order Now

Colic or crying baby?
Discover how easily you can put your baby into a deep sleep!

About these links
Ah, technology.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


My baby dropped this week into my lower abdomen, "lightening" I guess. Now instead of being shaped like an overblown beach ball, I am shaped like a pear. I can breathe more easily now, but I've gotten so much more uncomfortable - bending over at all is painful now, even the angle caused just by sitting up isn't feeling that great. I feel okay when I'm walking, standing, or lying down though.

Last week we got to "practice", spending time with a 5 month old belonging to friends of ours who were visiting... it was really good for my esteem. I think I've had a small, nay-saying voice in my head whispering what f I can't do it, what if I don't have a clue what to do with a baby, what if I'm not cut out? But it felt really natural being around Estella, holding her, watching her cues and signals and trying to understand what she wanted and felt and needed.

Jaimes, too. I really think he's going to be a good father. It's been something, being around him these last few months - he's been growing and changing like you wouldn't believe. It's like some restless demon inside him has calmed down. He's got more depth and grounding right now than I've ever seen in him before.

That's most of what's new with me. I mean, I'm still working, still doing some massage, doing some tango - but mostly I've got baby on my mind. I am so impatient to meet this creature that's been moving around inside me all these months, listening to me, responding to noises in our environment, exploring its boundaries, the walls of my visceral cavity, with its elbows and arms and feet.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

On Sunday, at the outdoor milonga on the Kirkland waterfront (part of the weekend's tango festival), a large number of the tango women got together to throw a short, impromptu surprise baby shower for me. (30 or 40 women in all? Quite a few.)

Part way through the milonga they all gathered up the hill, lured me up there, and surprised me with gifts of many baby books (they had apparently planned this as a theme ahead of time) and with warm congratulations and support. It was amazing - I'm still feeling emtional about it. They made me feel incredibly warm, happy, and cared for!

I don't know how to go about thanking each of them individually, because I've lost track of who was there, who was not there, who gave what (most of the books they gave didn't have anything attached to mark who had given it) I'm left feeling that I was given this great gift by the entire community of tango women as a whole.

If you are one of these tango women, thank you so much. What a gift this is that you gave me - not the books (although they were great, and I am SO excited about them!..I've been happily thumbing through them and reading them to everyone within range for days), but this feeling of belonging and support.
My mommy was on NPR last week - updates on the IBM class action lawsuit.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sprint is dumb.

A few months ago, my contract with them finally ended. After two long years waiting to switch, I was free!

A few days before I decided on a new provider, some Sprint guy called me up. "We'd like to talk over your current plan with you," he said, "to make sure it's the best plan, or maybe find you something better."

"No thanks," I replied.

"Uh...well, we'd like to offer you 10% off every bill! All you have to do is agree to another 2-year contract -"

"Thank you, but no thanks," I said again.

That was that, and he didn't have much else to say.

A few days later, I actually switched.

Later on that week, days after the switch had taken place, another Sprint representative called me to "talk about my plan".

"Um, I've actually switched providers. I am no longer a Sprint customer," I told the poor, clueless woman on the other end. It was news to her. You'd think they'd update some record somewhere when people leave, so that these marketing folk didn't waste their time calling non-customers, but that's apparently not how it works in Sprint-land.

Now, several weeks later, I've got a new issue. I was set up for online billing when I was with Sprint. I got a notice from them the other day letting me know that my bills is available...but, now that they've figured out that I'm no longer a customer, I can't log into the online system to SEE my final bill. And they haven't mailed me anything in the postal mail so far.

I've sent emails back and forth with their customer service, requesting a copy of my final bill, either in print, via the postal service, or online. They don't get it. They've quoted me the final balance, but what I want is the bill. I want to see a breakdown of charges, and want to verify that they ended service on the correct day.

You'd think they'd want to give that to me. So I would pay them. But nothing so far...
No bites for weeks now. Thanks for the words of support. Whatever it was, that frenzied night of cleaning was enough to scare it away.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Update on the bed:

No bites last night. Jaimes was home from CO, and he didn't get bitten either.

So, whatever was biting me either:
A. died a terrible death during The Great Cleaning
B. took the hint during The Great Cleaning and migrated elsewhere
C. took the night off

Time will tell.

In other buggy news, while I was reading last night, a very determined moth flew up into the bedroom light fixture and frantically threw himself at the (hot) lightbulbs over and over again. He'd duck out of the fixture entirely, but then dash back in again. As he was doing this, he tossed and bumped about the remains of other bug-creatures that had perished in the same fixture some time ago.

I watched for a short while in awe and horror, until he calmed down and settled a bit into the bug graveyard just beneath the bulbs. Out of pity I then turned off the lights, so the bulbs would cool and he could move on to something else, somewhere else...but I do not believe he ever moved again.

Destitute, hot and disillusioned, the moth gave himself up to death there in my light.

One of these days, I should clean it out. All the dead bugs silhouetted against the bulbs are pretty, in a rather macabre sort of way, but also perhaps a bit garish.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I woke up at 2:00 AM with itchy raised welts all over my abdomen, sides, and middle back. Something was in my bed with me, biting me. This does not make me happy.

I am cleaning all the bedding now in hot water. Whatever you are, nasty little creature, I hope you die a painful death. Soon. May you never wake anyone else with your nasty bites ever again.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

WARNING: Rant to follow. Also, post contains personal information. Skip it if these sorts of things irritate you or make you uncomfortable.

Do not ever, ever do business with The Donor Source if you can help it.

Depending on how well you know me, or in what context, you may or may not know that some time ago I made the decision to donate eggs to a Seattle couple who could not otherwise conceive on their own. I donated through The Donor Source.

Unfortunately, as a complication of the donation process, I got very sick - more ill than I've ever been in my life. I had an extremely severe manifestation of Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). My ovaries swelled up to the size of softballs and filled my abdominal cavity with blood and fluid. I could not keep food down, I could not lie down due to the fluid from my abdominal cavity painfully rushing into contact with my lungs. My body distended; I looked like I was 9 months pregnant with twins. Three times they had to do an operation to draw fluid out of my abdominal cavity. I had to be hospitalized for a week - my kidneys had stopped functioning, my bowels had stopped functioning, I was severely dehydrated and malnourished, my blood pressure was extremely elevated, I was more in pain than I have ever been in my life, and I could not function. In the hospital I could not leave my bed - I had a catheter and was fed for days by I.V., most of which time is a haze in my memory due to painkillers and anti-nausea medication they kept me on.

It was nasty, but I lived through it. About a week after I had checked into the E.R., I got to go home. I was 40 lbs overweight, all of it fluid and water sitting around my various cavities that my body had not known how to process or get rid of. Over the course of a week, as my kidneys woke up, my body processed the fluid and peed it all away. After just a few weeks, my ovaries shrunk down to a normal size. Thankfully it seems that there were no lasting complications.

In retrospect, knowing more now about OHSS, I believe that the Northwest Center for Reproductive Sciences, the clinic that handled the donation, should have seen any of several warning signs during the donation process that I was at risk and perhaps proceeded differently. And when I started to go downhill after the donation, they should not have kept assuring me that I was fine, just wait a day or two more and everything would be better. I listened to them for a while because I had been brought up looking at doctors as authority figures, all-knowing, always right, never to be questioned. I kept getting more and more sick, though, and finally, after a week I was more sick than ever - could not eat, could not lie down, could not sleep, had trouble breathing, was feverish, was vomiting constantly, was visibly distended, had already had two procedures done to remove fluid from my abdomen but it kept filling with more - so I visited an E.R. near to my home, where they checked me in right away and started monitoring me and working to give me care that I desperately needed.

If you are considering IVF or Egg Donation or any other care through NWReprosci, I would advise you to proceed with some level of level caution, and to have a frank discussion with your caregivers about risks, warning signs, and about their course of action should any warning signs appear. As for me, though, what's done is done. I can't go back and change the care that NWReprosci gave me, and happily I have my health now. It's better maybe to just move on.

What does this have to do with The Donor Source? Was it their fault I got sick? No. Did they provide the care? No. Why then am I so upset with them?

Before the donation process, I and the recipient parents both met separately with a lawyer and signed contracts provided through The Donor Source dealing with many facets of the donation process such as custody, rights, responsibilities of all parties involved. A portion of those contracts specified that the recipient parents would be taking out a temporary supplementary health insurance plan on me, through The Donor Source, to deal with any complications. They would pay any deductibles required by the plan, and it would cover anything else that might go wrong. I was not to be held responsible for any costs incurred by the donation process or by any complications resulting from it.

Well, it turns out that operations to remove fluid from one's abdominal cavity are expensive. Week-long hospitalizations are expensive. All the trauma and trouble translated to a thick stack of bills.

And so far, The Donor Source has not followed through on getting them paid.

This all happened almost 11 months ago. Those bills are still not paid. Some are still sitting with the hospitals, some have gone to creditors.

These hospitals and creditors are not patient. I've spent more time than I care to recall talking to them, explaining, directing them to the The Donor Source, writing letters. I've paid some of the bills out of pocket just to get them off my back, but I can't afford to pay them all. I don't think anything has made it all the way to my credit report yet (my letters of dispute to the creditors clearly establish that I am not responsible and they need to desist) but it's hard to be sure.

Meanwhile, my contact at The Donor Source assures me again and again that it will be taken care of soon, any day really, it's just that insurance is slow. It's sitting with insurance and they'll take care of it soon. Just hold tight. I'd ask them for a contact in the insurance department to speak with, or anything, a policy number, any information about the status of the claim, and they always gave me the runaround.

Except -

Here's the tricky thing -

I managed to piece together enough information in a form The Donor Source had me fill out earlier this month to track the actual insurance policy holder down and to speak with someone there. The guy I talked to was actually quite helpful and I am finally feeling optimistic that I may see some traction soon. But I cannot tell you how surprised and upset I was to hear from him that they had not actually received any paperwork or bills for me until late in May, and they're still waiting on The Donor Source for paperwork they need to tie things up and settle the accounts.

I faxed this insurance guy all the paperwork I have, all the bills, all the records, which will hopefully help jump-start things a bit. But I was only able to do this because I cut corners, did a little detective work and found him on my own. The Donor Source was never going to help me - for the last half year they've actually been blaming the insurance people for the delays. And for almost that entire time, they hadn't even initiated things with insurance!

Almost as if to rub it in, this afternoon, after I had spoken with the insurance guy, a Donor Source rep returned my call from earlier in the day and assured me that insurance people are just slow, it's normal, everything should be taken care of any day. What a pack of lies. And all the while it's sucking up my time, my energy, stressing me out worrying about money and collectors and my credit report and my credit future.

I just want to be here and now, in the present, excited about my baby and everything to come. I don't want to keep worrying about this stuff forever - I'd like it to get resolved and all go away. This should be a time for anticipation and celebration, not for worry and trouble.

I wouldn't wish my experience or the mess afterwards on anyone else. So stay away from The Donor Source if you can; it's better that way. They are not responsible, they are not reliable, they are not trustworthy. They're bad news waiting to happen.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Apparently it's not only illegal to gamble online in WA state, it's illegal to even discuss online gamling. I could be in violation of the law with this post.

So 1984...

Just three days later, and I've got my computer back!

Everything's in working order - I can now load CDs, I can power up my battery again... mmmmmmm, so nice. And all covered under warranty! (Well, under the extra 2 years of warranty that I purchased up front.) Apple told me 5-7 business days at least, but here it is, delivered to my doorstep just 3 from the day I dropped it off (a Sunday, at that), early in the morning so that I was here to receive it before I left for work - oh my, oh my, oh my. I am not used to having my expectations exceeded by the corporations with whom I choose to do business.

Kat is so, so happy.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sadly, on the eve of June 17, 2006, my computer met a desperate end. She is now "in the shop" with the Apple Techs, who are even now attempting a brave resurrection.

Sad computer.

Sad Kat.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Jaimes and I, after much thought and consideration, are making some unconventional choices in our plans for raising our baby. I haven't written or talked much about this, because, having grown up in the Midwest, I generally seek to avoid confrontation. In their unconventionality, and because people seem to have strong opinions in general on child-rearing, I felt that our choices might spark some level of confrontation or, at the very least, disdain.

For all that, in a moment of rash abandon, I've decided to have out. Here it is, out in the open, a rough road map for the next several months and years:

  • I'm working full time now, and will up until the birth, but do not plan to return to my job afterwards. When the baby is a little bigger I will start doing more massage out of my home studio, and will continue to teach some small amount of private dance lessons from our home as well.

  • We're planning on a home birth.

  • I plan to breastfeed exclusively (no cereals, juices, water, or other foods) for the first half-year, and to continue breastfeeding for quite some time after that.

  • We are considering "elimination communication" instead of traditional potty training.

  • We plan to sleep with our baby in our bed.

  • We are not planning to own strollers - rather, we will get slings to carry the baby on our own bodies. We are both strong believers in the power of touch from a very young age.

  • I had an ultrasound at 17 weeks, but due to some concern about the advisability of exposing the baby to ultrasound unneedlessly I will not get another one (except in the case of some unforeseen problem with the pregnancy or suspected problems in the course of fetal development). It is for this reason that we do not know the sex of our baby, and may not know until the birth.

  • While we may vaccinate at some point, especially in light of Jaimes's possible world travels, we are going to hold off for the first several years.

  • I am in a committed caring relationship with the father of my baby, but we are not married and have no plans to marry in the near future. It is likely that we will give the baby my last name.
Yesterday I saw An Inconvenient Truth, the global warming documentary featuring Al Gore. It was good, although for my taste it was a little heavy on the scare-side, with almost no mention of what we can or should be doing to address global warming now. I found it slightly interesting/ironic that they chose, numerous times throughout the film, to feature a shot of Gore looking all pensive and thoughtful, riding in a car. This is a documentary about the frightening effects of CO2 emissions, and here we have this recurring shot of Gore, the primary focus point, over and over again in his car.

On a related note, there was an interesting article in the NYTimes today about a small town in Indiana trying to make serious inroads in achieving energy independence: One Farm Town's Drive for Energy Independence.
The future of the organic label is looking dim.

From The New York Times today, The Way We Live Now: Mass Natural, an article on the impact that Wal-Mart's push towards "organic" may have on the industry and on the worldwide organic farm economy.

Frankly, I find it disheartening and scary that our government's definition of a single word, "organic", might have such far-reaching impact on a market that has been steadily growing over several decades and that I strongly subscribe to. And I've always found Wal-Mart's relationship with and treatment of its vendors to be decidedly abject (along with its behavior in any other number of arenas - this is why I have not shopped at Wal-Mart for over 10 years, and have no plans to step into one again any time soon). The article does bring up some interesting positive outcomes that I hadn't considered, though, among them a drop in world exposure to pesticides and other nasties that our government (and/or others) are slow to regulate or ban on their own.

Some previous information:

Compiled from The Organic Consumers Association: Campaigning for Health, Justice, and Sustainability (a great site to keep up on what's going on with the organic industry and what you can do to help safeguard it), compiled from their pages devoted to safeguarding organic standards:

The USDA has announced a very short public comment period (ends May 12, 2006) on a proposal to amend the
National Organic Program (read the proposal here) in a manner that would weaken organic standards. The USDA's actions were requested by a very small handful of Republican members of Congress. Take action now and tell the USDA you support strong organic standards!

In late 2005, despite receiving over 350,000 letters and phone calls from OCA members and the organic
community, Republican leaders in Congress attached a rider to the 2006 Agricultural Appropriations Bill to
weaken the nation's organic food standards in response to pressure from large-scale food manufacturers.

This rider was voted on in conference committee. Here is a list of the members of that committee who pushed this rider through:

Sen Robert Bennett (R-UT)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)

"Congress voted to weaken the national organic standards that consumers count on to preserve the integrity of the organic label," said Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic Consumers Association. "The process was profoundly undemocratic and the end result is a serious setback for the multi billion dollar alternative food and farming system
that the organic community has so painstakingly built up over the past 35 years.

As passed, the amendment sponsored by the Organic Trade Association allows: Numerous synthetic food additives and processing aids, including over 500 food contact substances, to be used in organic foods without public review. Young dairy cows to continue to be treated with antibiotics and fed genetically engineered feed prior to being converted to organic production. Loopholes under which non-organic ingredients could be substituted for organic ingredients without any notification of the public based on "emergency decrees." OCA will work to reverse this rider with an "Organic Restoration Act" in Congress in 2006.

Background of the Sneak Attack
After 35 years of hard work, the U.S. organic community has built up a multi-billion dollar alternative to industrial agriculture, based upon strict organic standards and organic community control over modification to these standards.

Now, large corporations, such as Kraft, Wal-Mart, & Dean Foods--aided and abetted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and members of the Organic Trade Association, have succesfully weakened organic standards by allowing Bush appointees in the USDA National Organic Program to take away the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) traditional lead jurisdiction in setting standards. What this means, in blunt terms. is that USDA bureaucrats and industry lobbyists, not consumers, will have near total control over what can go into organic foods and products.

Organic Standards Under Fire:

Agribusiness front groups, such as the Farm Bureau, big food corporations like Kraft, biotech companies such as Monsanto, right-wing think tanks, such as the Hudson Institute, and industry-friendly government agencies have consistently tried to undermine organic standards and get the USDA to allow conventional chemical-intensive and factory farm practices on organic farms. Unless strict organic standards are maintained, consumers will lose faith in the organic label.

Federal Funding for Organics:
The current five year $220 billion US Farm Bill allocates less than $5 million annually for organic research, promotion and marketing...approximately one-hundredth of one percent. This means that Congress is using billions of our tax dollars to reward chemical-intensive, factory farm style operations, while penalizing non-chemical farmers. This, despite
the fact that organic food has been the fasting growing segment in the food marketplace for over 13 years. To move beyond using pesticides, chemicals and genetically modified seeds, conventional farmers need government subsidies and conversion programs that prioritize local and regional organic production. These misguided priorities must be reversed in the upcoming 2007 Farm Bill.

Preserving Organic Farms and Consumer Choice:
Genetically Engineered (GE) crops pose a serious pollution threat to organic food and farms. Windblown pollen from GE crops and commingling of seeds in grain elevators or transport vehicles are contaminating organic farms and seed stocks of corn, soy, cotton and canola. The OCA is calling for strict legal liability on all GE crops utilizing the "polluter pays" principle, to protect the property rights of farmers growing organic or non-GE crops. The OCA is also calling for mandatory labeling on GE foods- similar to laws already in place in Europe and other countries- so that consumers have a choice whether or not to buyGE foods.
And another NYTimes article published on May 12, 2006, eyeing Walmart's proposed organic shift: Wal-Mart Eyes Organic Foods.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Just one week ago I was worried that I hadn't felt the baby kick, and now the little critter won't stop moving!

Sometimes it makes me laugh, this sudden "blick!" in my belly, not always at the most opportune of times.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I am feeling really well these days, very happy and healthy. Jaimes and I went to the midwife yesterday and heard the baby's heart beating - so fast and strong, crazy that there's this new being growing inside me!

We felt it kick for the first time just this week too. I hadn't
felt anything and was getting worried, so I found some advice online that suggested I lie down, put my feet up, and play music for my stomach - and lo and behold, with the music, there was a rhythmic thump! thump! down in the lower part of my abdomen. So already, we have a musical baby.
Very pretty, but very strange.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

According to Seattle's own King5 News, Pregnancy makes women smarter.
Becoming a mother clearly changes a woman's body, but it also appears to have surprising effects on the brain, too. . ."We're seeing what we think are significant changes in information processing," said Dr. Craig Kinsley.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I haven't felt it move yet.
Oh Baby!

From Amazing's due date calculator:
You are 16 weeks into your pregnancy,
and you have 24 weeks to go.

103 days have passed since the conception,
and you are 163 days before your due date.

The Baby:
This may be the week you feel your baby move. This is sometimes called "quickening" It's been described as a "flutter" or "butterflies". Don't be too worried if you don't feel it yet. It may be as late as your 20th week before you feel those first little flutters. The lanugo hair is present, and covers your baby's head and body. Your baby is still growing and this week measures about 4.5 inches long, and weighs almost 3 ounces!

Friday, March 31, 2006

My dad is sorely behind the times.

I was telling him the other night about how great Christa has been through my pregnancy, warm and nurturing, really looking out for me. Running off right after she found out to research pregnancy nutrition, making sure I'm eating well, making sure I'm taking care of myself. He asked, "Well, has she tried to get you to stop smoking?"


"I don't smoke any more," I responded.

"Really?" he asked, disbelief evident in his voice.

"Yes, really," I said, "I haven't smoked for over three years."

"I just thought you were hiding it from us," he said.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Thinking back, the potential landlady jerked me around the first time I interacted with her, too, so I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was on Monday night.

When I first noticed the ad for the house, I called to say I was interested in renting. She asked that I drive by and take a look to see what I thought. I did, and thought it was great! I called back right away to tell her that and to schedule an appointment to see the inside... and she said that she hadn't known how to tell me during the first conversation, but at that time she was already checking references on someone she planned to rent to.

Why did she have me waste my time following up on it and driving by if she was already planning on renting it? Not a nice thing to do.

So then a week later she called back and said the other renter had fallen through, and was I still interested ... and that's where this tale ends, and the other one begins. (I wonder what his story was, and if it was any nicer than mine.)
I have a house now. I found a new rental to share with Jaimes. It's okay, not great. But it will work for him to teach dance, for me to do massage, and for us to both live in reasonable comfort for a while.

It's not the house I wanted. There was another house, not even a block away, that I fell in love with last week. I talked to the landlady, filled out an application, and even put a deposit down. Everything was looking good.

Then, Monday night, she called me to turn me down.

Earlier in the day on Monday, she had called my current landlord, who was busy with something, and couldn't really talk at that moment. Added to that, he was slightly taken by surprise, as I haven't given any notice yet. (I'm not planning on moving out for a while, and was thinking I might keep this room for a few months concurrently. Chris has a friend getting out of the military fairly soon who wants the room, so to keep from screwing Chris and Jake on rent in the meanwhile I was strongly considering keeping it until his friend got out, or at the very least taking the initiative to find a subletter for that period. Chris and Jake want to maintain the lease even after I leave, so there was no reason to give full notice to the landlord.)

So anyway, this woman, the potential new landlady, was a little put off by that, and wanted something more. To appease her, I told her I would look up the name and number for the landlord I had before I moved to the U-District, a few years back, on Capitol Hill, and I would sort things out with the current landlord as well.

I looked up the number for the old landlord, tried to call him to warn him she might call, but got a machine and left a message.

I also talked to my current landlord and sorted things out with him, and he wanted very much to talk to her again and give her a good reference for me. He had called back on his own but hadn't been able to reach her.

This done, I called the potential landlady back, gave her the number for the old landlord, and told her that I had sorted things out with the current landlord and he wanted to speak with her again. She thanked me and we hung up.

So a few hours later, she called back again. This time, she was super-condescending. She said that if she ever wanted someone for computer work, she would hire me, but she couldn't ever imagine renting to me. Over and over again, she told me that I am young. That maybe I'll grow out of it. She hit on the "you are young" thing like 6 times.

"I'm 28!," I thought to myself. "What is her problem?" I was confused and upset - this was my dream house, and I had practically moved in in my mind, and here she was ripping me down - but I remained polite and responsive for the duration of the conversation.

She said, "Let me give you some advice. Before you give out references, you should check with people to see what they will say." I told her that I had, had she even tried calling my current landlord again? He had wanted to talk to her when he had bandwidth, and he had good things to say - but she responded that she hadn't, and she wasn't interested in doing so.

"What??? Where was all of this coming from?," I thought. "My current landlord is happy with me. My old landlord was happy with me, as far as I knew - granted I hadn't been able to speak with him directly that day, but we had a good relationship when I left Capitol Hill." She wasn't telling me anything concrete about what swung her opinion so drastically this way - for all I know, it was simply because I hadn't given notice to my current landlord.

I asked if there's any chance she would call my current landlord a second time, or reconsider, and she said no. She told me that she's going to take the house off the market for now, that the current tenants are changing their time frame a bit, and she'll just wait until May to rent it to take the pressure off herself. That was pretty much the end of the conversation.

I cried a little bit afterwards, because it was pretty hurtful.

Then I went back to looking up places and tracking down landlords, starting again at square one. What else could I do?

That same night, I visited another place which wasn't ideal, but could work. That landlady took very strongly to me, and for whatever reason, really, really wanted to rent to me specifically over others who were interested in the place. I told her I was interested, and we agreed to talk again the next day.

As an aside, that night while I was looking through places, I noticed that the landlady who turned me down had posted her house for rent again, but with the rent cut by $100/mo. Ouch. Not only does she specifically not want me, but she's so desperate to rent it out that she's dropping the price to get anyone else she can.


Back to the new place - I slept on everything that night, and in the morning I woke up feeling that although it could work, it wouldn't be good long term. It's on the verge of too-small as is, it would definitely be too small once the baby is born, and she was adamant about a year lease so that would lock is in for the first half-year after the birth. So when she called again I told her that while I was interested, I couldn't do it.

But she wanted me so much that she offered different lease terms that worked better for me. Enough so that yesterday I signed with her for a short term lease, just for the summer. It will be fine for that long, to get us by, and we'll have more time to find something that really works. It will also be good for her, as it will put the rental on schedule for her to find a student renter in the fall when school is starting up.


This morning...

The old landlord from Capitol Hill called me. I didn't answer the phone the first time, but he called three times - must be important? - so I went to see who it was and answered. He said that some woman had called him a few days ago and asked about me, but he didn't catch the first name and he confused me with some other girl who had also lived there, same last name but spelled a little differently. Some Janet Kruger, who had been a disaster, and had mistakenly given me a poor reference because he misunderstood who she was asking about. (I think he had just gotten my original phone message and realized the mistake.)

So everything makes a little more sense now, but I still feel really rotten about the whole thing, and about how rude this potential landlady was on Monday.

He asked me if I'd like him to call her and explain. I said yes. Because, even though it won't make a difference now, part of me hopes she hears from him and feels a little twinge of guilt for being so rude. Nasty woman.

Really, everything conspiring the way it did, I think the universe was trying to tell me that this was not the place to be. Better trouble now than after the lease is signed, you know? But it's not what I wanted to hear.

As you have probably noted from the tone of this post, I am still worrying the wound a bit. I liked that house. I was hurt at how she treated me.

Oh well, life goes on. So must I.

Anyways, I have a different house now. And it's not a perfect house, not exactly everything we were hoping for, but it's good, and it will serve us well for five months.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Pirates are the new ninjas. Remember when ninjas were all in? Now they're out. It's pirates all the way these days.

How come it took me so long to catch on?
Happy birthday me!

No party this year. Last year's "breakfast with friends outside at a sunny cafe" landed on such a rainy, windy, miserable day that I'm not quite up to doing that again. Besides, a small celebration every four to five years seems to suit me well. Maybe I should have been a leap-year baby.

Still getting bigger and bigger. My family sent me maternity clothes for my birthday, and they are so wonderful! At first, I put the pants on, and I thought they would be too big - there was a lot of extra room. But then, after half a minute or so, my whole body went wooooshhhhhh and settled down into them, and they fit perfectly, and it felt soooo good. I hadn't realized how much my other clothes must have been constraining me. Time to go shopping. Seriously. Maybe today.

I think I may have found a new house! I've been looking for several weeks for a place that will work for Jaimes to teach dance, for me to do massage, and for us both to live and raise a baby, within a certain budget in a very specific neighborhood. It's been a pain the butt, and has sucked up almost every ounce of my free time. In a month and a half, I have spent countless hours combing the internet and have visited over 70 places. Nothing's certain yet, the landlord is still checking references and no lease has been signed, but I think this may be "the place". What a relief that would be.

Between that, though, and setting up, finding space for, and handling registration for Jaimes's upcoming class series, I think I may have nearly conqured my phone phobia. I have made so many phone calls these last few months I have lost count. My heart no longer catches in my chest when I have to dial a number to speak to some stranger at another organization or venue or renting some other space or apartment. Here I am about to bring a kid into the world, and I'm still growing up myself.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sunday, March 19, 2006

pants (part 2)

You know what will make you feel fat? When you go to put on your pants and the button pops off and goes flying across the room.

I guess it's time
to make time
to go shopping.

Friday, March 10, 2006

You know our country is struggling with some serious systematic issues when China is the one pointing its finger at US for human rights violations (and has some valid points).
12 weeks in,
10 pounds heavier
and I have no pants that fit anymore

I'm afraid to buy new ones
because they'll stop fitting in a month, too

I've been told more and more frequently
that I am beautiful and looking super-cute
I don't know if it's the "glow" or not
it's certainly not the wardrobe
On Smoking (An interesting opposing viewpoint to current society hype)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I'm sure there's a good reason, evoluntionarily speaking, for this whole pregnancy sickness thing, but I'm getting really sick of hanging over the bloody toilet puking my guts out all the bloody time.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It took me three and a half hours to drive home from work today. Three and a half hours. I work 14 miles from my home.

When I left work, it took me 50 minutes to get from the 40th St on-ramp onto 520 to get to 405. This normally takes about 5 minutes. 10, maybe, on a bad day. By that time, I had figured out the reason for the back-up -- the 520 bridge was closed "due to high winds". 405 South had a crazy stop and go wait line to even get on the highway, so I figured I'd take 405 North. It would maybe take a little longer, but if it was moving, it was an improvement; I was starting to get really tired of sitting still.

405 North was moving maybe 20-40 miles an hour. So I'm driving on my merry way, when I see a sign that says highway 522 to Seattle, or something like that. I'm not familiar with this highway, I had thought I would drive all the way to the intersection with I-5, but at this point I'm pretty sure I'm farther north than the upper edge of Lake Washington and it's probably a good shortcut over.

Except that it's the worst shortcut ever.

It's more stop and go than the highway has been. Turns out it's a city highway, with traffic lights every few blocks, and traffic is barely moving. I could walk 10 times faster. But I keep hoping it will get better - I'm an optimist, yo. At one point, I stop at a red light, and some asshole comes blazing up behind me, honking his horn, actually bumps his car into mine, and then pulls squealing around me to run the red light. Yeah. Being an asshole is going to get you there way faster. Dumbass. At this point I am starting to get pretty stressed out myself. And angry. There is this little ball of anger growing in my stomach. Not too near the baby, I hope, because that can't be nice stuff to sit near.

Did I mention that I'm starting to get really hungry? And that when I get hungry, I get morning-sick? So in addition to being just plain old pissed off, I'm getting really nauseous.

Nearly an hour later, maybe 5 or 10 miles from my starting point on 405, I think - what if there's a parallel road just to the south and it's less crowded? So I work my way south, hoping to continue making my way east and south into Seattle on a road that is actually moving, but I get my directions all switched around and before I know it I'm back on 405. Except I'm 10 miles further south than I was when I left it. So I decide to go south after all - it's several hours later now anyways, the traffic should be getting better, right? Except that it's not. It's still stop and go. There are 5 accidents that I pass on the way. Everyone else is angry and stressed out and driving like shit. When traffic finally starts moving a bit, people are all driving like asses. 5-10 SUVs cut me off along the way. I guess I should feel lucky that I didn't get in any accidents myself.

Finally got home, only to find that I had missed a lesson I was supposed to teach by about 5 minutes, and the guy had come and gone.

When I left work, I meant to drive home, stop at the store, pick up some produce, meat, and cook up a nice dinner. I was planning to have such a relaxing evening. But now the evening's almost done, I haven't eaten anything, I messed up with my lesson, my body is all cramped and freaking out from sitting in the car for 3 1/2 hours, and everything's shot.

At this point, I am angry, irrational, feeling sick, upset, and can't handle anything. Everything and everybody pisses me off for no reason at all. I storm around a little bit, look in the refridgerator for something to eat, get frustrated, kick the fridge, drop to the floor, and cry hysterically for a while.


I'm done crying now, and feeling a bit more rational. But I'm still angry and upset. And for what? For a stupid drive that took a little too long? Yeah, that's worth it. Really.

I hate when negative emotions take me hostage like this. I hate being so, so angry. And feeling helpless. And being irrational and emotional and freaking out my roommates with my self-indulgent tantrum.

Is this hormones? Or is it traffic? Or is it just me?

I'd be happy really, never to drive again. Once I stop working on the east side, I don't think I will ever really want to go back. People over there can come over here. I don't want to have to cross those stupid bridges again.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

My dog has taken to doing this super-cute thing where, sometimes the cat will just get too much under his skin and he'll lose control and lunge toward it, maybe a foot or two in that general direction, growling madly -

but then, before he gets anywyere, he thinks to himself, "Bad dog!" and banishes himself to my bedroom for half an hour or so. This is without anyone else saying anything at all. After due time he will come out again, penitent and ready to be a peaceful member of the household.

Louie will be glad that, in just a day or two, the cat's owners will come to collect it.

In other news, my employer didn't pay me again this pay period. @#$@%.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Last week, I turned in the last of my outstanding assignments for school.

Today, I retook the SOAP Charting portion of my Advanced Massage Practical Exam, and...I passed!

So now, I just wait until they've finished grading the work I handed in, and then I will graduate! They will send me a diploma! How crazy is that?

There are still certification exams to take (and pass) before I can practice in WA, of course, but look! I'm almost there!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I am becoming two separate people.

One is confident, excited, espousing to friends and family my joy and enthusiasm. Animated, purposeful. Planning, saving, building. A strong face, and a public face.

The other is fearful. Worried. This is a private face, only shows when I am alone. When I am this person, I feel as if I am an inferior man-made structure facing an unyielding storm. My levies are leaking, creaking with the weight of the water. In these private moments I cry, I rock myself back and forth, I feel the ground slipping beneath me.

What does it mean, that these facets of myself are becoming more distinct? Could this separation be an expression of underlying weakness? I do believe that it is good for parents to show their children strength, unification, sureness and conviction. To be able to take their doubts and hesitations and keep them private so the child can feel assured and safe. And here I am, on the road to parenthood. But at what point does it become unhealthy, too much, an unnatural and dangerous separation?
...admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

- Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin'

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I spent last weekend down in Portland at a tango festival. It was nice, being active, out and dancing.

At one of the dances, I stopped and said hello to an acquaintance from California. She smiled at me. "I've been great! How are y-" She stopped short, her eyes wide, staring at my belly. "When did that happen?"

I looked down at my belly, then back at her, then back again to my belly (not really all that much bigger than it always has been). "You can see?"

She nodded.

Turns out she has a friend who is about as far along as I am, but still. This is the first time anyone has noticed just by sight.
San Francisco may soon become the first major city to offer free wireless access to all its residents. How awesome is that?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Family Planning

I'll have made it throught the period of greatest risk for birth defects (5-10 weeks) in 1 week and 5 days. By then of the kid's major organs will have formed.

Second trimester begins March 15, 2006. Almost there! Just 4 weeks to go and the risk for miscarriage will drop dramatically. Happily, my morning sickness and fatigue should start getting better.

Third trimester begins June 28, 2006.
!!! !!! !!! Estimated due date: !!! !!! !!!
       Tuesday, September 26, 2006.
That would make my baby a Libra.

Susie says that September is a good month for babies, as all of the following (and she herself) were born in September: Roald Dahl, "Jelly Roll" Morton, H. G. Wells, John Coltrane, William Faulkner, George Gershwin, T.S. Eliot, Ivan Pavlov, Elizabeth I (Queen of England), D.H.Lawrence, and O. Henry.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Our state recently passed a law that prohibits smoking indoors at bars, restaurants, and other public venues.

I hate it.

Why do I hate it? Because I am an avid smoker? No. I haven't smoked for years. Because I feel it infringes on my personal freedom or that of my friends? Not that either. I hate it because it, ultimately, brings the smoke out to me.

Bar patrons who cannot smoke inside congregate outside on the sidewalks to smoke. Our streets are becoming smokey and nasty, and I'm doubly sensitive to it right now as I am pregnant.

In the past, if I didn't want to be around the smoke, I could choose not to enter establishments that allowed smoking. Now I have no choice. It's there on the street en masse.
Update from the trenches

I've started getting the dreaded morning sickness. As if that weren't enough, last week I picked up a flu. The moment the flu abated, I came down with a nasty cold, which I'm still trying to kick.

I'm tired of being sick all the time.

Just once, I'd like to wake up without fighting the urge to run to the bathroom and puke my guts out. And I'd like to sleep later. I am waking up at 5:00 am, 6:00 am, all so that I can spend more time in the morning feeling miserable. Try as I might I can't sleep it off.

Another problem with waking up so early is that I'm crashing earlier at night. 8:00 pm, 9:00 pm roll around and I'm fighting off sleep but it's a losing battle. I don't remember the last time I made it out dancing for anything other than the dance I run - I can't swing it because it's past my bedtime.

I have the strange inkling that I am becoming less fun. What's this about pregnant women having a glow? How do they manage it when they're sick half the time and tired and cranky so early at night?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Sorry for freaking you out, by the way, if you're one of the people who freaked out at the original post.
I mean, really, can't someone deliver news framed with unique, unexpected context without everyone assuming that the news must be bad? I mean, I guess not, considering the responses I've gotten. But it is good news! Really. Seriously.
It's a good thing, by the way. "Congratulations" is an appropriate response - I am so, so excited! My last post didn't really convey it, but you cannot even begin to imagine the level of my excitement. I'm going to be a mother! We're going to provide well for the child and set up a very positive situation for it. Everything is coming together, the future is bright and wonderful, la de la la la. Really.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I have been mopping up blood
from my arm
from the swipe
from the cat we are now catsitting
who is PISSED OFF to be here
and just finished cleaning up piss
a puddle signifying rebellion and revolt
on the living room floor
from the dog
who is PISSED OFF that the cat is here.

oh, and I'm pregnant.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Word from the DJ booth.

Tomorrow I DJ in Portland. I'm a little excited, a little nervous, and a little underwhelmed, all at the same time. I know those sound like maybe they can't all fit together, but somehow they do.

I'm tired. Wondering how I'm going to get enough sleep, wake up as early as I need to, get my work done, get down to Portland, and be rested enough to do well.

Do you get everything done you mean to?

I never do.

My list is, like, 500 things long. Maybe 600. I polish off 5 or 6 each day, or maybe 12 or 15 if it's a really good day, but then there are 12 more I hoped to get to that day but didn't and now I have to put them off for tomorrow. On top of that, another 10 came up out of the blue to add to the queue.

There are chores I've been meaning to do for nearly a decade. Would you believe that there are boxes I packed up 6 years ago that I've moved around with me from apartment to apartment, but haven't gone through in all that time? Well, if you know me well, yes, you would believe that. But still. How sad is that? I always think, "tomorrow", or "next weekend", but then somehow next weekend comes and goes and I never had any of the free time I was expecting and counting on.

It's been drought season for spare time for years now. When will it flood? What will I do when the rains come? Will the rains ever come? What I wouldn't do for a good rainstorm.

Yawn. A week and a half of work and already I feel so tired and stretched thin. I'm 200% more snappy, on a much shorter fuse than I'm used to.

I've been having bad dreams, too. Doesn't help me to feel more rested.

Or to write with any sort of flow.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Sometimes I have a hard time really being present in the moment I am living. Instead, I find myself caught up in something that happened two weeks ago, or something that could have been (if only this or that had gone differently), working it over and over again in my mind, chewing on it incessantly.

Why is it so hard to be here, right now, content with what I have and what is?

Susie's friend Betsi said rather succinctly in her blog the other day, "It's like playing that stupid mind game where you try really hard not to think about penguins, except in this case not only did I not think about penguins, I forgot what they were, set fire to my shirt, and mailed myself to Hong Kong."

I mean, she was talking about something totally different. But it still works for this. Doesn't it still work? Doesn't it? Except that I'm not on my way to Hong Kong, I'm still wearing my smelly old shirt, and I've got penguins on the brain. Stupid penguins.

I miss China.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

7:30 AM and I am awake, without an alarm, even. What is the world coming to?

To be fair, I did sit down on the couch last night around 10:30 PM, and I crashed. Chris was watching TV and Nuvo was hoping I still planned to go dancing and we would leave soon, but I lost consciousness and didn't really regain it again until now. I mean, I moved to the bedroom at some point, but I have no memory of the journey.

Early to bed, early to rise . . . am I just getting old?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Started my new job yesterday. Thus far, I am impressed with everyone I have met. It is such a strange feeling!

I had more to say when I started the post, but I've lost it. Something about intelligent decisions, though, and meetings that address just what they need to and nothing more, and letting anyone who is at all invested in issues be involved in determining the outcome of those issues if they choose, and not wasting other peoples' time, etc, etc, etc.

Really, I'm not sure I understand. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. How can a work environment be almost entirely functional? I thought that only happened in make-believe.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Hello, blog.

. . .

I'm feeling a little shy. Shy? Maybe estranged. It's been a long time.

It's Christmas time. Not Christmas anymore, but still that time of year. Christmas, New Years, holidays, all the humdrum of daily living suspended in time for a period of weeks. January looming. Historically, societally, this is a time of "new beginnings". Joy to the world; a savior is born, time to make amends and examine past mistakes and make resolutions for better living. For me, though, this is more a time of endings.

All the major relationships I have been involved in have drawn to a close around this time. Maybe they ended a little before, maybe they dragged on for a while after, but this is when it really hit home, when I actually understood that it was over.

So it is Christmas time again, and once again a significant chapter of my life is drawing to a close. This has been a pretty momentuous chapter. Many ups, many downs. Two years of love and hate and angst and joy and elation and despair . . . a rainbow of intense emotion ranging all about the spectrum. I haven't really written a lot about this relationship, at least not in public forums. I haven't even spoken about it much except to close friends. It has been the most private relationship I've been involved in. And now it is changing.

Maybe it's all the same, really. Endings, beginnings. You can't have one without the other. One thing passes on that there may be something new. The snow melts so that fresh seedlings might push through the ravaged earth.

I've been crying a lot. I'm sad, but I'm somehow happy in my sadness. Sad in my happiness.

A Bulgarian friend shared a New Years tradition wherein she baked a Bulgarian dish with several tin-foil wrapped fortunes embedded in each slice. Six of us ate together, digging through the layers of noodly dough to find our predictions. I got "Money", "Win from the lottery", and "Finding the lost happiness". She said that if we kept the fortunes, they would come true for us in this new year.

The person I am now wants to childishly believe in fortunes and fate and magic. I whimsically taped these three strips of paper into my wallet so that they would be close to me, so that they could come true.

Money and the lottery have yet to come. Perhaps I will make money when I become a professional gambler, or as I move into a career in massage, or when I complete some things I have been writing. Or maybe I'll become a porn star, famous the world over, rolling in dough. Or maybe it will simply result from winning the lottery. I certainly won't win the lottery, however, until I begin playing the lottery.

But maybe I am on my way right now to finding The Lost Happiness?

When I first read this particular fortune, I thought that maybe it meant that I would find happiness this year [. . . with him].

Now, though, I wonder if I might mean that I will find again some sort of happiness that has been lost in all the drama of these last two years. Perhaps, this year, I may become happy again in a different way.

I mean, I will always be moody and self-involved and angsty, balancing on a rickety teeter-totter moving up and down from one mood to another. I thrive on that up and down and all over the place roller-coaster ride. It feeds a well of inspiration and creativity deep within my core and makes me ultimately feel more alive and engaged.

But in the past, despite this penchance for ups and downs and ins and outs, I have also been happy on some more stable, continuous level, in a way that I haven't been in recent times.

I've had great happiness in recent years. But it has been a slightly different shade, you know? It's like there were a few crayons that fell out of the box and got lost under the bed, and the pictures I've made with the remaining crayons have still been amazing, but I could make other pictures that are differently amazing were I to find those lost crayons again. Not better. Not worse. But different, in a way that has been in the past, but has not been in recent times, for me.

What a mess of words! And I still don't think I've really done justice to what I feel, what I am trying to communicate. Stupid, stupid words. I never have the right ones. They're all lost under the bed or something. This is why I draw pictures, generally, instead of writing.

Anyhow -

I feel right now that my fortune may come true, but in a different way than I had thought.

I've written before that I'm not the sort to deal well with closure. I don't read the last few chapters of books. I fall asleep during movies. I pretend in my head that everything always has been and always will be just as it is right now in this moment. I am terrified of change.

In spite of this fear, I am trying to gracefully let go.

So things are coming to a close.

It is time. It is right - I feel this deep within.

I have felt it for a while, but I didn't know what it was. Now I do. I know. I understand. I will accept.

I will face my fear and embrace change.

Goodbye, 2005.

Goodbye, love of these last two years. I wish you great happiness, and I will always cherish what we have shared. You have been a pivotal force in my life. I look forward to knowing you going forward on different terms - having you as a friend, being a friend, learning to draw lines together in order that we might grow something fresh and beautiful within them.

. . .

Endings leave space for new beginnings. What new things will come?