Monday, June 30, 2008

1 down, 99 to go

Ok, I don't really expect to read 100 books before the baby is born. Do I own 100 books that I have never read. Yes, yes I do. I do hope to get through at least a book a week though, which would get me to 20 (in addition to mommy books and such).

I just finished The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. When I was 15 I read Tess of the d'Urbervilles which I just thought was spectacular (I actually remember telling Camille's mom all about this book). I mean, Tess is wronged, sexually, by a noble and it costs her her reputation and later, her husband. In the end of the book, she stabs the guy to death. STABS HIM TO DEATH!!!! Then she flees to Stonehenge, where she dies. How is that not a great book for a 15 year old girl? After reading that, I bought every Hardy book I came across. However, I never read any of them. Yes, a little strange, but then I went to college for 12 years (and three degrees).

Anyway, back to The Mayor. Other than the older English and the English dialogue, this is another great book. Michael Henchard gets drunk one night and sells his wife and young daughter. Fast forward 19 years, when his wife, after realizing the sale wasn't legally binding (and finding out that her "new" husband has died) returns to find Michael. Michael, disgusted with himself for what he had done, swore off alcohol, and turned his life around. His wife finds him to be one of the richest men in town and he has become mayor. Yet, alas, this is but the beginning of the story.

Although Michael has sworn off drinking, his personality and temper have not changed, and the rest of the book tells of his downfall due to both. This downfall involves a Scotsman, who he convinces to stay in town and work with him, an old lover, and his daughter, who turns out not to be his, but husband number 2's. Every action of Michael's becomes painful, as the reader realizes the dire consequences for his behavior. Like a horror film when you wonder, Why are you going into that room! In the end, he is able to do what is right, but it takes every last bit of energy and life he has.

The Mayor doesn't have the feminist appeal of Tess but Hardy's understanding of human character is amazing. He is a great writer and his characters are consistent. While I'm going to read a book by someone else now, I will return to the stack of Hardy books that I own.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

IQ makes me laugh

Although being friends with IQ is very stressful, she does at least provide comic relief.

IQ became pregnant because she couldn't remember to take her pills and the shot hurt too much. She claims her husband knew she wasn't on birth control, but I have to wonder. Anyway, she has decided to go with an IUD. I personally think this is an excellent choice. Right now, they're just waiting for the ok to put the thing in (I'll spare the details). IQ had a doctor's appointment and I guess she had one last question for the doctor.

IQ to the doctor: Is it ok for me to have sex with the IUD in?

I'm hoping they accidentally tie her tubes while they're putting the IUD in. However, my mom did point out that at least this gives the doctor a heads up as to her mental ability and then there's one more person on the look-out to make sure she doesn't forgot about her baby and accidentally kill him.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Half way there

I'm 20 weeks, so technically, half way there. I had a doctor's appointment yesterday, and she told me that my baby is very active. She said it would be in my best interest to enroll her in soccer the minute she's born. The doctor actually had to find her and hold her down to get her heartbeat. This morning, I awoke to someone kicking or punching me repeatedly in the same spot. But she's still so tiny that my tummy barely fluttered every time I felt it. It made me laugh out loud, which of course, made her stop. I hope we can find constructive things to put that energy into, rather than tantrums!!!

Since I'm half way there, I thought I should probably go register. I went to target and had a lot of fun. We're going with frogs. Lots and lots of cute frogs. My neighbor told me she has a crib, pack n' play and various other items she will give me. I love her! My parents are going to buy me that superwhamedime (as my husband would say) travel system. Then I went and looked at the baby's future room and my head exploded (it's been doing that a lot lately).

This is the clean part of the baby's room!
Do you see my dilemma?
All the junk in here, has to go into the garage.

This was my garage before my garage sale.

My garage is much more organized now, but it still has a ton of stuff in it. I'm going to have another garage sale, probably in Sep. So for now, I'm just packing up the future baby's room. And then I realized I have a ton of books in there I've never read, and my head exploded again. Now, I'm going to spend as much time as possible reading as many books as possible before the baby's born, because I hate packing away books I haven't read. At least there's plenty of my husband's junk in there too. He has waaaaaay more crap in that room than I do. I'll just pack up all his stuff, while I'm reading and leave my stuff for the last possible moment. Since he doesn't get back until Oct. anyway, I should be able to get through quite a few books. Especially if I always having someone keeping me awake at night!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Not for all times

This past week I read the Soviet novel Not by Bread Alone by Vladimir Dudintsev. The book was published in 1956, after the death and denouncement of Stalin's terror. The front cover claims, "The novel that rocked the Soviet Union." I certainly see why it rocked the Soviet Union. Let's start with a little history.

Due to the totalitarianism of the Party of the Soviet Union (most people didn't realize that the Party ran everything, the government just fulfilled the Party's wishes), most people assumed that the State was the most important entity in the Soviet Union. However, this is totally against Party ideology. Society, the collective, the group, was the most important and it was the job if the Party to protect society, the collective, the group from bad stuff, most notably, the individualistic desires of the capitalistic bourgeoisie. Unfortunately, this "job" became institutionalized and bureaucratized to the point of detriment. This is the topic of Not by Bread Alone.

The main character, Lopatkin, starts as a school teacher, but he soon realizes that the local pipe factory is using a wasteful method of casting pipes. Yet, it is this same method that all pipe casting machines are using throughout the USSR. He quickly comes up with a better method, however, the local factory cannot attempt it without the approval of the Moscow Ministry of whoever casts pipes. However, this ministry is dominated by an older inventor, who is also looking for a better way, and thus, Lopatkin is silenced. He refuses to give up though, and over the next 8 years he continues improving his machine and continues writing letters and meets people and moves to Moscow. He also "steals" the wife of his chief bureaucrat who is holding him up, because this person too is working with a group making pipes from a similar design as Lopatkin. Actually, they stole it from him.

Why don't they want Lopatkin's pipe casting machine if it will save time and money? Quite simply, he is an individual who worked on his machine with maybe one or two people, while they are an organization, who had tens, if not hundreds, of people working on their machine (which still failed). In the end, Lopatkin succeeds and everyone else fails. Why? Because Lopatkin, although an individual, is working for the greater good of society, while all the bureaucrats are only working for the greater good of themselves and their retirement checks. So although he is not a collective, because he is the only one truly working for the collective, he wins.

I understand why this would have rocked the USSR. Here is a writer pointing out how the ideology had been turned on its head, how the Party had become the individual and how a non-party individual had wanted something for the collective. However, a wonderfully written novel for all times, it is not. It's too technical. Pages and pages of notes about pipe casting and iron quality and where to put valves and equations. Pages and pages of letter writing and complaining and inventing. And the Soviet Union has collapsed now. Why? Because we know that the Party did win, not the individual, and finally society realized the Party didn't have their best interest in mind, and got rid of it. Do I think this book should be disposed of as well? HELL NO!!!!

This book would make a great read in a graduate level course, perhaps as a companion piece to The Ghost of the Executed Engineer by Loren R. Graham. Graham's work is very short and a pretty easy read. The book discusses the fate of technology in the Soviet Union, starting with the Bolshevik Revolution and the difficulty of creating a new, industrially advanced society using engineers trained in a capitalistic society. Graham shows how the decisions of the first decade really affected the technology of the entire Soviet Union. I think these two books would work really well together and together give students a feel for the state of technology in the Soviet Union.

While I don't think Not by Bread Alone is a spectacular novel, written for any audience, I do think it is an amazing book. I applaud Vladimir Dudintsev's courage for writing such a book (it would have been published during the thaw, but even in the USSR, these things were short and one never knew when the current would turn). The book helped me more fully understand the process of bureaucratization in the Soviet Union and the struggles of those individuals who wanted what was best for society.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Missing husband found, with excellent excuse

My husband called me last night. He was very upset. Apparently, last week he was given 5 minutes to pack his stuff and head to a South American submarine, where he's been since then. No access to e-mail or phone. Since he was given very little time before he left, he was unable to let me know. He was hoping one of the guys would tell their wife who would tell me (which happened, but not until Wed, a week after he disappeared and a day before he called). So I decided to let him live, because really, there was nothing he could do about this situation.

Then we got on to the good stuff. He is very excited about having a little girl. And he wasn't that surprised. He said that he's been working around nukes so much, he doesn't know if he has any little guy swimmers left (for those of you who don't know, most of the navy is powered by nukes). But now we have to figure out a name. Unfortunately, my husband has dated a lot of women. So I tried going a more international route, which also backfired. My husband was stationed in Italy and Spain and has spent time in Germany so, there again, the good names are all gone. But I love Russia! Apparently, all Russian girl names are associated with whores (thanks James Bond!). But there are a few names we agree on, so I'll just keep working on him until he gets back, and if all else fails, I'll just fill out the birth certificate when he's not in the room.

Well, I'm off to the navy's budgeting for baby class. I can't wait to find out how much this is going to cost us (not the class, that's free, the baby). Good thing everyone I know plans on buying cute little girl clothes, otherwise this child might just go naked!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The unveiling

Blogspot is totally pissing me off because I've only added spaces in between my paragraphs FIVE times now and they keep erasing them. WTF!!!! I'm already having a pissy day!
I had my ultrasound on Friday. It was quick and painless. The baby is beautiful and healthy.

I can't wait to kiss that little foot!

Already practicing the wave!

This angle is much better than the frontal view!

And I'm very happy that we were indeed able to tell what it is. I would post those pictures, but it seems a little wrong to show your child's genitals off to the world! It's a little GIRL!!!! I cried. I probably would have cried if it had been a boy too. No, I would have definitely cried. Now it is real. I can start imagining what she's going to look like, what her personality is going to be like. Her fingers look decently long, maybe she'll be a great piano player. Hopefully she'll like to go bird watching. Maybe by the time she's one, she'll have hair (hair at birth doesn't really run in our family. And then, when it does come in, it's always super blond!). I hope she'll eventually have green eyes (mine turned green at puberty), but if not, they'll probably be blue (like everyone else in the family). We still don't have a name picked out, but everyone is throwing in their two cents (or what they think is worth two cents).
However, my husband doesn't know yet, and that brings me to the sad/angry portion of this blog. He was supposed to call me. I assumed, since I haven't heard from him, or gotten any responses to e-mail that their system was down. I found out yesterday, it's not. Well, I don't know about the phone system, but I do know about e-mail. So when I finally get to talk to my husband, I think we may have a go meet jesus conversation. I know that he's probably busy, but really, how long would it take to hit respond to an e-mail and type: We're really busy but I can't wait to talk to you about our baby. I'm so excited and I hope everything went ok. I love you, talk to you soon. Hey look, that took less than a minute for me to type! This was something that was supposed to be special and shared between us, where I could talk about my hopes and dreams and fears. Now, I just really don't care if he finds out or who he finds out from. I'm also going to be mean and point out that while someday his kids (the first ones) will judge their mom for what she did, they will also know how many times he e-mailed or called them when he was at sea and judge him for that as well. His job is difficult and time consuming, but we decided to have a baby and if he planned on only being a dad when it was easy for him, I might have made a different decision.
While everything about the baby was perfect (except the part where they show you the face. They should never do that to a new parent. It still looks like an alien), they did find something that could be bad. I have more than one placenta. And no, there is no twin who didn't make it. I just have a small piece of placenta (about 1/3 of the size of a normal one) that is thinly connected to the real placenta. Apparently she plans on staying extra long. But, if they hadn't have found this (I had to go back in yesterday for more pictures) the doctor could have left that extra piece of placenta in me after birth, which could have led to infection, and all the bad stuff that goes with that. So while that was slightly scary, at least they found it. And they verified that it is still a girl!
That's about it here. Now I really need to clean out the garage so I can move all the stuff in the office into the garage to make a baby's room. I'll post pictures of that later!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hey! I felt that!

Last night, I felt a very definite kick, like a thwamp. There was no question about it. I had gotten up in the middle of night to go to the bathroom, and then I couldn't get back to sleep, so I was basically rolling from side to side, trying to get comfortable. I guess the little navy bean was getting motion sick or something, and it wanted me to just lie still already! And yesterday, I had someone rub my belly. But, at least it was someone I knew (another teacher at a school I sub at often). It was still weird. She thought I was only 3 months along, so that made me feel good too, because I do feel huge (18 weeks, 5 lbs gained).

This past week, two things happened that have really made me think about being a parent. One, I found myself standing in a completely empty room, three days in a row, with my hand over my heart, pledging allegiance to the American flag, outloud. This had always bothered me, the what to do when it's time for the pledge, but you're completely alone. I feel silly doing it, but I feel bad not doing it. But I realized that soon, I will not be alone and someone else will be watching my every action. I would rather feel silly, but display integrity, than brush it off and teach my kid disrespect.

Two, I had a friend stay with me a couple of days who has two kids of her own. Her kids are not bad, but the oldest is 3 1/2 years old, and my friend sees no point in disciplining her because she's just 3 1/2 years old. Um, because soon she's going to be 4 and then 5 and someday 10, 11 then the teenage years. She will tell her daughter to do/not do something, but not back it up. By doing that, she's teaching her daughter that she doesn't have to obey her. Which got me thinking about discipline. At one point, I even told my friend that I would have given her daughter a little (not painful, just shocking) smack on the leg. She then turned to her daughter and said, "See, you're lucky I'm your mommy because Stacia is mean." Ok then. Maybe I just want children that obey. And maybe I want to have friends who invite me to their houses because they know my children are well behaved and won't leave a disaster zone behind them (they won't). Maybe I just want children who respect me, others and themselves. Maybe I just want good kids.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I realize I misspelled colposcopy my last post. Oh well. You all knew what I was talking about. I had my doctor's appointment last Friday. We heard the heartbeat (152) and I've gained a whopping 5 lbs total. Which is weird to me, because I feel huge, but I still weigh less than I did in January. I asked the doc about the whole colposcopy thing and she said that pregnancy hormones could increase the activity of abnormal cells and that yes, if I have cancer (still slim) it could hurt the baby. So I went ahead and scheduled one. They can't get me in until July 10th though, so I figure they must not be too worried. I also had the blood-serum test done, the one that checks for genetic markers. I'm not too worried about that, and besides, Wes and I asked for a baby and this is the baby God gave us, and even if it isn't "perfect" we're keeping this baby. Who are we to tell God he gave us the wrong baby? But if something is wrong, we want to be prepared and know what resources are available to give our baby the best possible life. Apparently the baby can now hear things outside the womb (otherwise known as my baby belly). I'm going to start reading to it this week. I'm currently reading History of the Modern World but Wes thinks that may be a bit disturbing. I guess I'll break out the box of children's books my mom gave us instead. And the big sonogram is scheduled for June 13th. We really want to find out what it is, so I will poke my tummy until this baby is in the right position! I think that's it on the baby front.

Let's talk about IQ! I saw her this week. I took her to church with me on Sunday. Now, IQ grew up Jewish but her husband is Christian, so she converted. I don't think it matters one way or another, as this story will demonstrate. Awhile back, I was talking to some other friends (not at church) who are Jewish and we were talking about Passover. I asked which type of synagogue they went to (reform, conservative, orthodox) and IQ chimed in that she was Jewish but had converted so now she was a reform Jew! Anyway, IQ likes our church, which is fine, but she's only been a few times and she wanted to become a member without her husband ever having visited. Um, that's really a family decision. Anyway, after church we went out to lunch and I found out some things, things that continue to disturb me. First, she's been drinking wine and then feeding the baby, and by feeding the baby, I mean breastfeeding. She didn't know that the alcohol could get into her milk. So I told her she could drink, but she needed to pump afterwards and then throw away the milk. Second, she dropped the baby, which actually, doesn't upset me. I mean, what new mother hasn't dropped the baby, bonked its head while putting it in the car, let it accidentally roll off the couch (I mean, one of these things, not all of them). Anyway, what disturbed me was the fact that she thought the baby had been hurt because she discovered this "soft spot" on the top of its head after she had dropped him. You mean, THE soft spot. How does someone not know about the soft spot? That's almost worst than the circumcision thing. Almost. But her husband gets back this week, so yay!!!

Now, I'm just cleaning, cleaning and sleeping. I found that if I get up, eat and then go back to bed for and hour or so, and don't take an afternoon nap, I sleep much better at night. But I am ready for school to be out (which is weird, because it's not like I work that much) so I can get into a routine. I like routine. I should enjoy one now, while I can!