Friday, December 30, 2005

Christmas Post Mortem

This was Mike and I's 3rd Christmas together. Interestingly enough,we've spent all three holidays in three different places. First was inBosnia. Last year was in California. And this year, in West Virginia. I now wonder if it's all just coincidence or if we've subconsciously started a tradition. If it's the latter, I'm intrigued [only slightly non-opposed to another bothersome move...] as to where our next stop's going to be. There was talk about spending next Christmas with my family in the Philippines. We figured it would be the most peaceful time to introduce Mike to the slums of a third world country... AND meet the rest of my clan, of course. Little Mikey would be almost 1 then, we can probably even spend his birthday there, depending on how close he actually pops out after New Year.

But I digress...

Christmas this year was fun. My sister bravely battled (and conquered) her fear of airports and flew to West Virginia armed with a standby pass. That alone, perhaps, deserve a sturdy recognition since flying standby during the holidays can be as painful as getting a root canal. Getting to the East Coast wasn't too bad. She flew into Cleveland with no problems, and Mike made the 8 hour (roundtrip) trek to pick her up and down to WV. Going back to the land of warm weather, however, took a little bit more elbow grease. I think she must've spent the whole day after Christmas trying to fly back. She swears it was all worth it though. I'm ecstatic that as little time as I had to spend time with her, she was able to pick me up from my laborious slump. She made me laugh so much I thought I was going to go into labor. But that, I'm afraid, would've just been too convenient.

Mike's whole family came down and spent Christmas with us too. It was decided earlier on that because of my forseeable condition, that we would drive up to Ohio and spend Thanksgiving there and they would drive down to West Virginia to spend Christmas here. It worked out great because before we even found out that we were moving to the east coast... Mike and I collectively (as newlyweds) decided we would alternate the holidays between families so as to avoid any unnecessary in-law squabbles in the future.

While everyone did their last minute Christmas shopping, Mike and I baked our traditional Christmas sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies. Last year, we actually put em in tin cans and distributed it (although sadly enough, the one that was intended to be sent to his Gramma in Ohio sat helplessly at the bottom of a pile of mess in my trunk for months....). This year, we decided to be selfish and kept it all in the kitchen. Mike even made a special batch with Splenda to cater his diabetic dad, which I thought tasted short of just flour disguised as a cookie. For dinner, I cooked my mom's traditional baked ham basted with honey and pineapples. Then I got brave and tried a new recipe for beef brisket with veggies which actually came out pretty good. And despite the batch of burnt dinner rolls that tried to ruin the night, it was overall a nice, humble Christmas feast.

And for the first time since we set foot in this state, we actually went to midnight mass. Mike and I are such holiday Catholics... the last time we remember being in church was Palm Sunday. This, of course, isn't an epiphany.. since it's been a couple of weeks now that we've talked about going but never actually did. It is quite sad, since I used to never miss church (especially because I led the choir for a good couple of years). But even after showing up half an hour early, we failed to come early enough to score seats inside the cathedral and ended up watching the mass from a flatscreen tv out in the hallway along with all the latecomers.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Week 34

The girls at work are starting to call me hateful. I nearly threw a fit in the breakroom when I saw that people left dirty dishes on the sink. This, I admit, is short of being hypocritical because Mike and I sometimes have the same problem at home.. but I don't take that habit to work!

Normally, see, I’m a little pessimistic about humanity at large, I’ll admit. As I’ve put it before, I am in awe of what we are capable of accomplishing and sometimes do accomplish, and in despair over what we normally make of all our great abilities. On one side, great art, cathedrals, magnificently high-minded constitutions, incredible feats of physical ability, and technology that reaches out to the stars. On the other, wars, genocide, poverty, neglect, and the grinding pettiness of everyday life. I can always use whatever help I can get in feeling positive about humanity at large and where the world is going.

Let's think a little less global, shall we, and talk about my growing pessimism about popping the little trooper out.

I am desperately trying (and miserably failing, I think) to be positive about the remaining weeks of this pregnancy. I envy those who are able to boast that they "loved" being pregnant -- whatever the hell that means. I, however, refuse to believe that someone could go through 40 weeks of blissful and uneventful pregnancy... while I spend countless hours of the day biting my lip from pelvic pains.

It's gotten worse the past 2 weeks. Any activity that involves lifting one leg at a time or parting the legs tends to be particularly painful. Lifting my leg to put on clothes in the morning, getting in and out of the car, bending over, sitting down or getting up, walking up and down the stairs, and walking in general tend to be difficult at times. Moving or turning over in bed is especially excruciating, and I find myself often trying to decipher whether the pain means I'm going into labor or not. Getting out of bed in the morning has become a daily challendge, as I find it hard to get my body moving right away -- nevermind the mandatory trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night that often leaves me in tears.

My next OB appointment isn't til next Thursday, although I plan on giving her a call tomorrow to see if she could give me something for the pain. I've told her about it before, my concerns especially were heightened after tripping while crossing the road 2 weeks ago that left me with a bruised hip. She assured me it's "normal" during pregnancy though... but normal or not, I need drugs if that's what it takes to earn a couple of painless hours.

"Just think", Mike says in an email in his most honest attempt to reassure the cynic he married, "it'll only get worse"....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Feeling Manic

I genuinely enjoy the everyday musings at work. Working for the Office of Maternal, Child and Health, I am constantly surrounded by personal pregnancy horror stories and heaps of old wives tales. I discretely laugh in the face of those who insist that the reason why I'm having so much heartburn is because my child will have a lot of hair when he is born. I've said this many times before... but if that were true, I must be giving birth to a monkey... because heartburn introduced itself from day 1 of the pregnancy and hasn't left me since.

The email system is not impervious to all this banter, and every once in a while I get forwarded chain letters that concern babies, rainbows and all that sappy stuff. Predisposed to most junk mail that start with "FWD", I tend to miss out on a lot of the ones actually worth reading, but for some reason, there was this particular one called "Before I was a Mom" that stuck out and left a mark with me. After reading it, my first instinct was to do exactly what I judge other people in doing... which is to forward it to someone else. And so I fought my partiality and forwarded it to my mom and Mama Mary.

Mama Mary emailed me back with something along the lines of taking the baby and leaving me with the dirty laundry. Conversely, I am willing to bet my whole paycheck that my mom hasn't even read the email yet. Growing up with the typewriter generation (and I sincerely and truthfully say that without a hint of sarcasm), she just doesn't correspond well using the internet. In fact, when I spent a year deployed in Bosnia, I considered myself lucky to have gotten ONE email from her throughout the entire time. But that's beside my today's rant...

I'm saddened by the fact that I can't share this whole pregnancy experience with my mom. Not the way I had imagined I would anyway. We talk on the phone.. she would try to convince me to fly back to California and have the baby there instead. And still, every once in a while, she would joke about sending the baby to California to live with her until Mike and I decide to go back there. Rumor has it that she's been collecting little baby stuff and saving it for when she comes in January when I'm expected to deliver. But the phone calls are very few, far and between.. and unless it's initiated by me, there probably won't be any communication at all. Beyond my already unstable hormones and emotional outbursts, I try to comprehend her reasoning behind the lack of intrest (or at least that's what it presents itself to be)... but I'm almost too afraid to ask.

I'm sure I've discretely brought it up on more than once occasion, and every time she would come back with "you shouldn't have moved away" -- which not only makes me feel like a big pile of shit (like I've deprived my family of the experience of seeing me blow up like a balloon and having a little one to spoil), it also makes me feel.. well.... extremely lonely.

I try to convince myself that I'm just being overly needy for attention, but I genuinely don't think I am. I dread that my baby won't recognize my family since flying between here and there costs about an arm and a leg. But I guess the reality of it is that we don't know if we'll ever have the convenience of it all.

Right now, I'll take all the attention I can get...

For those who want to read the forward.. here goes:

Before I was a Mom

Before I was a Mom I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.
Before I was a Mom - I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.
Before I was a Mom I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.
Before I was a Mom I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.
Before I was a Mom - I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.
Before I was a Mom - I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, The joy, The love, The heartache, The wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.
And before I was a Grandma, I didn't know that all those "Mom" feelings more than doubled when you see that little bundle being held by "your baby"...
Send this to someone who you think is a special Mom or Grandma. I just did.
And remember that behind every successful mother... Is a basket of dirty laundry

Monday, December 05, 2005

Watch Out Martha Stewart

After a long-winded debate of whether to stick with the traditional live tree, we finally decided against it and instead got a loaner 7.5 ft artificial tree from Mike's parents (after all, they're going to be spending this year's Christmas with us here). It barely took us 15 minutes to put it up, it doesn't need to be watered, and less pine needles to vaccum...

I'm proud of our tree this year. Much to my powers of pursuasion (or perhaps the days of whining and begging Mike to shy away from the overrated multi-colored theme this year)... we decorated our tree with royal blue, white and silver. He didn't like the idea of having to buy all new ornaments, but 35 Walmart dollars later, and after all was said and done.. I'm pretty sure he was impressed at how well it turned out too. It's still missing a tree topper though. For some reason, we're being awfully picky about that.. but we have some ideas up our sleeves.

No presents under the tree yet. I did bravely spend about 2 hours at the store yesterday to pick up some gifts for my brother and sister and Mike (which my legs later on painfully paid for) so I have some wrapping to do tonight.. which incidently, also happens to be my most favorite Christmas chore. It used to be shopping... but 33 lbs heavier and always gasping for air, I shamelessly just don't have the energy to walk the mall corridors for countless hours anymore.

I also picked up our traditional ornament... we started a tradition that every year, we would get a new ornament that best represents our year together. Part of the deal was that we would take turns every year, and last year he got a Precious Moments "Our First Christmas" ornament.

This year... well... my pick is a surprise.

Yo Quiero...

One of the hardest parts of leaving Los Angeles is leaving its sheer abundance of cosmopolitan food selection. They say, after all, that you know that you're a real Southern Californian if you have a favorite Thai restaurant. My personal fave? "Mix Bowl Cafe" on Indian Hill off the Interstate 10. That place served as my pure refuge when I couldn't stomach cafeteria food any longer, was too lazy (or drunk) to cook anything at 2 am, or too disgusted to eat oil-drenched fast food. I never regretted spending my hard earned dollars on a plate of freshly cooked-to-order chicken with cashew nuts over rice or a steaming plate of pad thai partnered with boba swimming at the bottom of a sea of thirst-quenching Thai iced tea. Indeed, I'm salivating just thinking about it.

Much to my surprise, there is ONE Thai restaurant within reasonable driving distance from where we live now.. a finders keepers credit due to one of Mike's co-workers (who also happens to be asian AND a California native). The food is nothing close to spectacular, and I'm sad to say that the same reason they can jack up their meal prices to above reasonable is the same reason I keep going back -- simply because it's the only one around (perhaps in the whole state of West Virginia). In fact, I might pay them a visit tonight. Since Mike's out of town, I possess zero motivation to cook. Another downfall: they don't serve boba.

True Southern Californians laugh at the face of the talking chihuahua because Taco Bell and Del Taco aren't even considered authentic mexican food. Those who live close enough to the border are especially blessed, but non-mainstream taco shacks are just extraordinarily everywhere. And depending on how close you live to a Mexican community, you might even get lucky and find an actual roving burrito truck. I especially love going to Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles in the middle of a Cinco de Mayo celebration.. sure, it's a bitch to find parking, but all is fair in love, war, and superb carne asada. The vendors have even gotten smart and through the years upgraded their menus from bilingual to ALL PICTURE menus so all you have to do is point and you're on your way to culinary heaven. And who could forget King Taco? They're small, often crowded, hardly anyone speaks English, but the smell alone will capture you. There's nothing like the smell of King Taco's tamales in the afternoon....

Around here, they have a chain of mexican restaurants called "Rio Grande" (Ri-o meaning River by translation and Gran-de meaning Big by translation, although Mike insists on calling it "grand" as he would call the Grand Canyon. I fancy the way he discards the "e" when he pronounces it, he says it's the "American" way of saying it...) *giggle* --- The food isn't bad, in my opinion. The chefs have travelled far but has stayed relatively close to their roots. Perhaps, the even more interesting fact is that EVERY mexican who lives in the great ol' state of West Virginia works in a Rio Grande. I'm not sure if that's a recruiting gambit or just a correlation that the first job application a mexican migrant fills out is to a place where he could make use of his/her first language. Either way, Mike and I have become frequent visitors there that they now all call us their "amigos"..... (they actually call everyone that, lol). But I'm a little embarassed to say, that lately I have been craving a lot of Taco Bell's Southwest steak bowl... a far cry from the authentic Mexican food I was spoiled with, but... I'm pregnant and I'm hungry..

..which ultimately means, I'm desperate.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Week 32

I'm as miserable as miserable can be. Indigestion and heartburn have turned into my sidekicks.. annoyingly, it's getting more and more difficult to justify my feeding frenzies. Sometimes I think about just skipping meals just so I don't have to deal with them, but I know little Mikey needs the nutrients. My ligaments are getting stretched every way imaginable and people are starting to take notice of the way I'm waddling like a duck. Not to mention my midnight moans and groans are increasing in frequency that I don't know how long Mike's going to last before he starts making up excuses to sleep in the guest room. Even with our recent queen size upgrade (a stunning space improvement from the precedent full which also made a lot of noise, and the springs were just about ready to retire), I still feel like I'm hogging up all the newfound room with my constant position changes and my 5 pillows that I desperately try to find comfort in. Much to Mike's slumber advantage, he's off to Atlanta for a week on some training. Part of me hopes he finds better sleep within the next couple of days (despite the bacteria-infected Holiday Inn bed he'd be sleeping in), while the other part wishes he was back in our bed instead.

I try to busy myself to make the time pass by until he gets home to keep me company. For one, I am determined to finish the nursery by end of this week. Gifts from the baby shower they threw me at work last week are piled on top of gifts from the baby shower they threw us in Ohio. It's like baby gear mayhem. On Saturday, I carefully took all the tags off from all the new clothes he's accumulated and piled them separately according to their suggested machine wash settings (I know... I know... ONE puke session later, I'm sure I won't care if it's supposed to be washed warm or cold, but for now, I'm still blissfully engulfed with the rookie-mama details). I washed all the toys and meticulously put them in another pile. I left all the big stuff that still needs some assembling for Mike. He likes to put things together anyway. Still missing a glider (might be an expected Christmas present from the hubby).. that puzzle is barely AND painstakingly about 80% complete.. and I plan on putting some shelves up to showcase the Winnie the Pooh stuffed toys I've managed to collect over the years. Give or take a couple of minor details, little Mikey's room should be all ready... (wish I could say the same for his mom).

Saturday, November 26, 2005

If I had a million dollars

I don't remember the last time I cried like that. It was as if someone had stolen my dog, and I don't even have a dog. I'd like to blame those rampant hormones for causing me to bawl, but for some reason..... well, hell.... I don't know why I cried. And as to where the debate of what we would do if we won 30 million dollars in the lottery originated from, we'll never know. Never mind that our chances of winning are just slightly better than the chances of being abducted by aliens... especially since we don't buy lottery tickets. But still, winning the lottery is a favorite daydream for a lot of people, and I'm no exception.

So what would I do?

I would pay off all of our debts: good riddance to student loans and credit card bills.

I would set aside a college fund: one for my sister, one for my brother, and one for my little Mikey.

I would buy a house in California, close to the beach, preferably overlooking.. nothing too big that it'd be a full time job to keep it clean, with just enough rooms: one for me and Mike, our two kids, and a guest room in case the grammas and grampas want to visit. I want a nice stoned fireplace in the living room with vaulted ceilings, a big kitchen with granite countertops and a huge backyard where little Mikey can play.

I would trade my Hyundai Elantra in for a better car... nothing super fancy like a Porsche or a Rolls Royce or anything. Maybe that Lexus I300 I had been eyeing, or a BMW 650i convertible..

I would buy my mom her dream house on a hill, but she's recently just bought that for herself, and she already drives a Mercedes Benz, so maybe I'll just help her pay off the house... and then send her off to a well-deserved vacation somewhere.

I would give money to Mike's parents too, maybe help them pay off their debts.. and then send them off to that same well-deserved vacation with my parents. They could go on a double date.

I would go shopping. Not Paris-Hilton-over-the-hill-kind-of-shopping... (in fact, I've been so brainwashed I'd probably still go for the sale racks) but just fun enough that I don't have to worry about how many hours I have to work for that cute sweater at Express.

I would start my own business.. which probably means I would quit my job, but only so that I could be my own boss.

And finally, I would invest the rest.

That's reasonable, isn't it? Even after Uncle Sam takes his bite into the 30 million dollars, these probably won't even make a dent to that kind of money. The argument started, I suppose, when Mike started questioning as to why I would need a new house and a new car for. Truth is, I can't begin to fathom what it would be like to have that much.. but what kind of comeback do you really have to that, besides a snotty "WHY NOT"? But by the time I realized I needed something a little more conducive than an almost childish "because I can", I was in deep trouble. The more I tried to argue that a new house and a new car are luxuries I wouldn't hesitate to spend on if I had the means, the more he made me feel like I was being impractical.

Perhaps that was it that set me off. I detested having my dreams being cursed impractical. I'm a simple girl, a living testament that there are girls who don't need expensive jewelry and designer purses to make their lives meaningful and complete. I wouldn't go as far as putting myself on a pedestal and claim to be the extreme opposite of high maintenance, but it pragmatically doesn't take very much to please me. His argument was that there's nothing wrong with my Elantra, and that having millions of dollars doesn't validate the fact that it's a reliable car and doesn't need to be replaced. And then I remember asking him if he didn't think I deserved a better car, and he told me that just because we have more money, that doesn't mean I deserve something better. Then he argued that I shouldn't use money to measure what makes me happy.

Yes, I agree that money shouldn't be used to measure happiness. Money is a tool to help people achieve what they want, but is not an end in itself. I am also an avid believer that being grateful is its own reward -- that if you value what you have, you'll always feel as though what you have is enough. And I'm thankful for having the best partner I could ask for, thankful for the townhouse we now live in, thankful for the reliable car that I currently drive, and thankful that our families live comfortable lives. BUT... if we had the means to afford the house of our dreams and a better car, I don't think it is asking for too much to bump ourselves to an upgrade. And I'm sorry... I may be a simple girl, but every once in a while, I like to convince myself that I actually deserve a lot better than I can afford. That's why people go to college.. to get a better paying job.. to be able to afford nicer things.. isn't it? It's true that money doesn't buy you happiness, but if people were always content with the bare minimum, what will motivate them to do better?

Mike and I live modestly. And I glorify the fact that for the most part, we see eye to eye when it comes to prioritizing. And up to this point, we haven't really had any arguments when it comes to differentiating between what's a necessity and what's a luxury. So imagine how it blew me away that perhaps our first fight about $$ was over a fictitious matter such as how to spend our lottery winnnings. So I cried, and he questioned, and I cried some more. And the whole time I probably knew that it was such a silly thing to cry about, especially when there's no doubt in my mind that that man would do anything to make me happy.......

...... even if that means trading in my Elantra for a beamer.

Friday, November 25, 2005

What a Girl has to be Thankful For

My family was never notorious for going all out on Thanksgiving [Christmas was more our holiday]. For as long as I can remember, my mom has consistently stayed with the safe option of serving honey baked ham instead of the traditional turkey meal... But we always spent it together as a family, which is the cliche of it all. Or at least, that's what it used to be like. This year though, they continue the nontraditional tradition for the third year in a row with an empty seat and a long distance phone call with a series of "Sorry I couldn't be there". 2 years ago, I was deployed in Bosnia. Last year, Mike and I got in a car accident on the way to my mom's house on Thanksgiving day. And this year.. after a flat tire that sent Mike cursing Thanksgiving as his most hated holiday, my first real east coast snow fall, and nearly six uncomfortable hours driving on the icy road.. we made it to Cleveland to spend Thanksgiving with Mike's family.

Thanks to Mama Mary and Aggie... we all pigged out on some good turkey and stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans casserole, and pumpkin rolls -- I wasn't very much help in the kitchen this time around. I hate to use my unborn child as an excuse, but I was too engulfed with just trying to stay comfortable that I've probably failed to offer help more than I should've. You can never be too uncomfortable to eat though.. which I did a lot of without an ounce of guilt of holding back. I figured... I've already put on 30 lbs the past 7 months, another 2 lbs of a Thanksgiving meal prepared with love won't be such a stretch.

A few other things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving:
  • New family, new traditions
  • Family and friends gathering together for food, good company, and a heated game of Phase 10
  • My opinion on pumpkin rolls being OFFICIALLY overturned
  • Having fun listening to the guys beg to switch the channel back to the football game
  • Watching Mike and Matt wrestle on the bed like they were 5 (and making me wish our next kid is a girl)
  • Having a nasty case of the giggles from Uncle Dave's funny comments that I almost peed in my pants from laughing so hard
  • Planning on hosting little Mikey's first Thanksgiving dinner next year
  • Sitting by the fireplace

What I miss about Thanksgiving:

  • Honey baked ham and my mom's dinner rolls
  • Feeding leftovers to the dogs
  • Going to the movies after dinner with my brother and sister, and friends
  • Joining the ranks of crazy shoppers with my mom and sister the day after Thanksgiving
  • Shopping for a Christmas tree that weekend after Thanksgiving
  • My family, old traditions

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Shower us with Love

I've always thought of traditional baby showers to be so centered at gift-giving. By default, everyone always assuems that baby showers are to welcome the new member to the family.. but by convention, isn't the goal collect things for the baby? -- particularly to help parents get items they may not be able to afford -- Not that I'm complaining. I've learned fairly quickly that we probably should have just gotten a dog. [Just kidding..] I think Mike and I live fairly modestly. Take it from someone who married a guy who swears that NEVER in his lifetime will he ever buy me a COACH purse. And hey, my mother has trained me well to hunt for bargains and go for the SALE racks first. So it's not surprising that we're not the type to turn away second hand clothes or too proud to shop for pre-owned baby gear... let alone turn down a baby shower. So when Mama Mary [ a term I'm amicably bidding my new mother-in-law from this point on because continuously calling my second mom "Mike's Mom" just doesn't seem very fitting ] and Aunt Aggie [ who actually hates being called Aunt ] told us they were throwing us one, we were ecstatic.

Everything screamed Winnie the Pooh, from the streamers to the napkins to the cake. The cake was especially yummy because the baker hand-designed it to match the shower invitations since they couldn't just scan the picture due to some lame copyright issues. Then there was the chocolate fountain... Ever since the wedding, I've had at least 2 other people tell me that they loved the idea so much from the reception that they got their own fondue machine -- which, in its now increasing popularity seems to be getting a lot cheaper and a lot more accessible. Who can resist dipping into a fountain-flowing chocolate anyway?

Mike and I had a blast at the shower, mostly me anyway, since his attention was a little divided between the shower games and watching the Michigan-Ohio State game. I didn't mind so much, as long as he was there oohing and aahing along with me when it came to opening the gifts, which unsurprisingly was the highlight of the afternoon [right next to the very popular mini-chocolate fountain]. I have to admit I was a bit on the timid side, considering I didn't know 90% of the people who were nice enough to come and shower us with baby presents.. but it was really sweet nonetheless being welcomed to the family the way they did. Little Mikey got a lot of clothes.. I can't wait until I can start dressing him up in little tuxes (he's supposed to be in one of my bestfriend's wedding next year) and little Cleveland Brown jerseys. He also got tons of the little necessities -- pacifiers, toys, bottles -- and plenty of decorative stuff for his nursery. Best part of it all was getting to meet Mike's relatives from his mom's side that I hadn't met before. None of them were able to make it to our wedding in California, and it worked out even better for Mike since he hadn't seen the majority of them in a long time either.

After the shower, we met up with some of Mike's friends for a little 'catch up' dinner at Dave & Busters, and harnessed my only worsening bowling skills shortly thereafter. I ended up playing the default designated driver, but I don't mind so much that he helped himself with a couple of beers. Hanging out with his old friends are very few and far inbetween anyway.. and after next week's Thanksgiving weekend trip, we probably won't be seeing much of Ohio for a while at least until after the baby's born.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Belly Advantages


Your stomach is huge enough that you can sit a plate of your midnight honey barbeque wings on it... Look ma! No hands!


So much for exercise... now I get a special parking spot closer than the handicapped spots...


It tickles mostly... but it's just the most precious thing Mike could do whenever I think I got it bad.. suddenly I don't mind my insides being used as a punching bag.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Week 29

From Pregnancy Guide Online: The baby's head is in proportion to the rest of the body. Fat continues to accumulate under the skin. The brain can control primitive breathing and body temperature control, and the eyes can move in the sockets. The baby is becoming sensitive to light, sound, taste and smell.

New mommy pains have taken centerstage this week. I have what they call "supine hypotensive syndrome" -- when I lie on my back, my heart rate changes and I get dizzy.. I stand too fast or turn my head too quickly and I get dizzy. Even sitting for long stretches make me dizzy. I've quickly learned though that there's really nothing I can do to prevent it or lessen it.. just one of those things I get to add to the list of the inevitable.

But alas.. misery does love company, and so it doesn't stop there. My first glucose screening came back with elevated levels of blood sugar so I had to go back for a second run... this time, for a much longer screening. So I spent most of my day off on Friday sitting in the hospital getting pricked at every hour.. and I don't find out for another week whether I have gestational diabetes or not. I'm praying the results will come back normal this time, although I wouldn' t be too surprised if it doesn't.. seeing as I have a strong family history of diabetes. Mike has already tried restricting my levels of sugar intake, which in my opinion is just plain cruel telling a pregnant lady she can't have any more sweets for the day. Wouldn't it be ironic that eliminating sugar from my diet would be the one to push me to the edge and be by far the worst I've had to get used to during this pregnancy...

Monday, November 07, 2005


I'm a sucker for war movies.. most days, if given a choice between watching GI Jane or How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, I'd choose Demi's invitation to "suck her dick" over Kate Hudsons dating experiment... hands down. Those films that most people saw as pure horror -- "Apocalypse Now", "Full Metal Jacket", "Saving Private Ryan" -- films that showed nothing but brutal images of death and carnage... those are the same films that soldiers consider as despicably beautiful manifestations of what they are trained to do. To me, it's more than just seeing "shit get blown up".. I suppose having been in the military has conditioned me to take an interest in the cultural beliefs about heroism, politics, the military and views of authority, justice, patriotism, family and MY personal favorite... gender issues and relationships. Yet I don't consider myself a war movie junkie... a critic, maybe... but a movie buff, nah.

This is why I wasn't too surprised that seeing previews for Jarhead gave me a sense of eagerness I haven't shown towards ANY mainstream movie in a long time... even if it is about the Marines [no offense, but in my whole military career, let's just say I didn't have too many pleasurable encounters with the hoorahs]. So opening weekend came, and we were all over it... but I have to say I walked out a little torn. It was like a war movie without the war... either that, or a documentary turned into a really bad recruiting film. In the beginning, the bootcamp shots looked almost like modern snapshots of Kubrik's infamous "Full Metal Jacket"... which would lead one to believe that all that craziness has got to lead somewhere... but it doesn't.

The film is supposed to be based on a memoir by a Tony Swafford, the lead character in the movie [most of which I spent trying to figure out who the lead actor was, but didn't realize til later on that it's the same guy that played Donnie Darko]. Basically, it was a movie about a bunch of sex-obsessed, gun-worshipping boys bedeviled by the idea that "Jody" is banging their girlfriends back home who are sent to Kuwait to wait.... and wait.... and wait some more.. until in the end they are driven half mad when, having been turned into killing machines, they are just blantly denied the opportunity to kill. There were a lot of character struggles.. but mostly it just showed the dehumanizing aspects of military life, the sadism, and the camaraderie -- none of which is going to strike anyone as news.. especially now. I think CNN tells that story enough, which renders this movie almost outmoded.

Was it told the way how things really happen to most soldiers deployed oversees? Probably. The sneaking of the alcohol during the holidays.. the constant wondering whether that sweetheart back home who promised to wait for you is actually waiting.. the substantial pressure of fighting boredome by watching two scorpions fight... perfecting the art of masturbation...

Friday, November 04, 2005

California is my home

They say home is where your heart is. My heart is here now.. with my new family.. yet every once in a lonely while, my subconscious still insists on dreaming about going "back home". I want to say it's more than just the weather.. the satirical fact that one can enjoy the beach the first half of the day and then take pleasure in a hot chocolate at snowy Big Bear mountain that same night. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss the culture. I miss GOOD Thai food. I miss listening to KROQ. I miss the salsa clubs. I miss watching the fireworks at downtown Disney. I miss the animal style In N Out cheeseburgers with grilled onions. I miss Dennys. I miss having bonfires at the beach. I miss watching the crazy KTLA morning news. I miss boba..... mmmmmmm.... yes, I miss sucking those sticky balls through over-sized straws. *sigh*

Sure, Mike and I talk about moving back eventually.. weighing in the pros and cons -- but slowly, we're starting to realize that the same alluring factors that would convince us to go back might be outweighed by the diminishing dream of owning a real estate. I am ademant about not going back to live in a one bedroom apartment in the "909" -- which seems to be the only affordable place in Southern California that is still fairly close to the city, without ACTUALLY living in the desert. The move has allowed us a hefty upgrade to a three-bedroom and 1.5 bath townhouse in the "rich" area of the mountain state. All our bills had been cut in half, and although I spent quite a bit of time unemployed when we first moved, we were still able to live more than moderately just with Mike's income. I don't think I'd be saying the same if we were living back in California.

We want a house. And if anything is going to prevent us from going back home, that would be it. Decent starter houses now cost as much as $400,000... and for that kind of money here in West Virginia, you could own a mansion and have more acres of land than you can handle. The idea of living in the middle of the desert in a prefab 1,200-square-foot home, stretching ourselves financially and driving three hours a day, doesn't seem all too appealing, and might not be a worth-while sacrifice.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Week 28

From Pregnancy Guide Online: Our little miracle is growing and developing at an astonishing rate! Eyebrows and eyelashes are now present, and the hair on the head is growing. The eyelids open, and the eyes are completely formed. The body is getting plumper and rounder (weighs about 2 pounds) and is composed of around 2 to 3% body fat. Muscle tone is gradually improving. The lungs are capable of breathing air but if the baby is born now, it would struggle to properly breathe. Be sure to talk to your baby a lot because s/he can recognize your voice now!

I've been slacking on keeping up with the "usual" baby developments on a weekly basis for a while now (in the beginning, it was, "Guess what, baby, this is the week the neurons start generating!"), but I just took a quick look and yeesh, 15 inches of baby seems like a lot to be packing in there. It's been a pretty entertaining couple of days... I suppose there must be some kind of baby origami involved, as the baby's been positioned in such a way that little knees and elbows are actually periodically poking out of my belly with more and more force every which way. On the other hand, supposedly it's only two pounds of kid riding around in my belly, which is hard for me to believe - that's the equivalent of only eight quarter pounders, while my estimate would've put it more along the lines of a midsize turkey.

And that isn't the only pregnancy whine I have this week. I'm always tired now. Exhausted really. I have to wonder how much of what I'm suddenly experiencing this week is being influenced by some sort of subliminal biofeedback. I mean, having heard over and over that the second trimester is the easiest and most comfortable time of pregnancy [they lie by the way], it is rather curious that the aches, pains, and insomnia clocked in prematurely before I even started my third trimester and have now taken a turn for the worse. I am starting to have ocassional Braxton hicks, normal non-working contractions, and little Mikey continues to wiggle up a storm... particularly when I'm sitting down. He has since decided that my cervix is the best trampoline in the world and so I join the ranks of cliche of having to go to the bathroom every 2 minutes.

He does love it when I rub my fingers against his back, and he pushes out harder til he has had enough. Ironically, what seems to calm him down the best is when Mike puts his hand on my stomach - almost like they have a father-and-son deal going on that I don't know about. I really do believe that the baby can interact with you [even though Mike doesn't like it when I poke my belly]. I think that it is important to "play" with the baby... and on those hard pregnant days, it seems to be about the only thing that pulls me through. I'm singing to him more too, and it may be my imagination, but it seems to have a calming effect. I can only hope that it works just as well after he's born.

I'm due for my glucose tolerance test sometime before my next appointment on the 10th. I'm worried because for the past week, I've been eating so much candy [thanks to ladies here at work bringing in pounds of Halloween treats] that I'm afraid little Mikey will come out with cavities! I forget that I'm at higher risk for gestational diabetes because my mom had it for all her three pregnancies. Guess we'll have to wait.

Baby stuff updates: I've bought him a Winnie the Pooh walker (Mike teases me because he says Mikey won't use that for months). My sister just bought us the most adorable Winnie the Pooh diaper bag, and a Winnie the Pooh baby scrapbook. She seems to have been mesmerized by buying baby stuff because she bought us the stroller and carseat not too long ago! And Mike has just bought a stethoscope so we could hear little Mikey's heartbeat as often as we please!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The plight of the working mom

Little girls are always told, "You can be whatever you want when you grow up, and you can have it all!", but what they don't tell those little girls is how hard it will be - not because you are a female in a mans world, but because if wanting a family is one on your list, there will be sacrifices to be made.

Personally, I always said I wanted to be settled in my career, and be at a point in my life where I have enjoyed all there is to enjoy before I start a family. But when is that supposed to be anyway? I'm the type of person that is NEVER satisfied.. no matter the level I will always strive to be higher and better, so the concept of me "settling" is almost propesterous. And is there EVER a point in ANYONE's life where they can rightfully claim to have enjoyed all there is to enjoy?

Since the move to the east coast, my career has taken an uncanny turn accompanying my decision not to pursue the IT field. I am just two classes shy of getting my Bachelor's degree, and as deplorable as it sounds, that priority has taken a [quite easy] provisional backseat to preparing for motherhood. Do I regret not "finishing" before having a baby? I did get a diminutive feeling of guilt for not keeping my promise to my mom that I would graduate before getting married. I can honestly say that I did all that I could, and I sincerely believe that she understands in her heart that I haven't given up on that yet, it just has temporarily been put on hold. Given that, not an inch of my body exudes a feeling of regret that I am about to be a mother myself. Sure I miss going to the clubs, traveling without the [now customary] hourly pit stops, and every once in a blue moon I would crave for a good serving of strawberry margarita. *sigh*

I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm terrified -- I'm terrified of when the day comes and I have to leave my baby to go back to work... to join the club of mothers who carry the massive responsibility of balancing a lucrative career and a happy family. I've seen it done, it's not impossible.. but can one be excellent at both? I've seen women whose careers had to come to a stand still on the corporate ladder because while the others worked on the weekends to impress the big boss, they were at soccer games. They had the extra worries of doctors appointments and teachers conferences or having to leave work early to make it to daycare on time.
That would be me.... because the flipside to this doesn't appeal to me - being a stay home mom just isn't my thing. Mike says as much as I would enjoy taking care of the baby, that my personality almost requires the intellectual banter at work and the headaches of never-ending deadlines. That's why I've been trying to brainwash him about taking on the role of the stay-home Mister Mom, but I'm afraid he's not budging either.

There are books out there of really successful women who have made both work so well, but they seem to all have extenuating circumstances like a stay at home husband or more money than God. Neither of which I have : ) Also, the "grass is greener on the other side" comment of looking at these women comes in to play. A lot of them LOOK like they have it all, but I honestly think a deeper dive into their lives would show differently. Can you tell me that they don’t feel pangs of guilt when they can’t be with their kids when they are sick or have a school field trip and they aren’t there? Can you tell me that their job doesn’t suffer when they have to attend parent-teacher conferences mid-day? What a toss up!

So here I sit... researching for daycares. With my determination and my husband's gift to provide support while keeping me in line at the same time... I KNOW that I will be successful at both. I just wish someone had told me when I was growing up that "hey, you can be whatever you want, but remember that it is hard to be the best Mom and the best worker in the world".

Friday, October 28, 2005

Sticker Shock

When I first started to show some belly, I was so excited about it that I got suckered into paying $80 for a pair of jeans from 'Motherhood' [of course, they were Sevens brand which might've been a factor to such a costly rookie enthusiasm]... but still, I kept telling myself that I refuse to give up style for the sake of becoming a mother. What I thought would be a good excuse to go shoppping for new clothes has simply become a chore. Shopping for maternity clothes has become... well... such a drag... especially because I refuse to pay $30-40 for a shirt that I'd be lucky if I get to wear more than three times [with the rate my body is changing shape right now]. You wouldn't believe how expensive these things really are until you're forced to surrender $100 for an outfit that doesn't make you look like you're trying to smuggle a watermelon.

It's not just me. I work with 3 other pregnant women in the office, and we all desperately try to negotiate the expectation to purchase increasingly [and ridiculously] expensive maternity clothes. The ones we CAN afford are severely limited in selection for such an unpredictable shape. I learned rather quickly that buying clothes that are 2 sizes bigger is just plain stupid and pointless.

I have to admit, I'm growing fairly attached to these elastic pants, excluding the ones with bands that insist of going almost up to your neck. With the exception of my first maternity jeans, I have since come to a realization that I have to surrender to this horrid fashion industry conspiracy for the time being and put personal comfort ahead of my economical [and ghastly stingy] tendencies. I have since then bought 5 pairs of maternity career pants, that I just plan on rotating around. Not to mention the constantly dropping temperature that is going to force me to invest in a good coat that will serve its purpose of keeping me warm... without making me look like I'm drowning in wool.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Week 27

From Baby Center: Your baby is really starting to fill up your uterus. This week he weighs almost 2 pounds and is about 14.4 inches long with his legs extended. He can now open and close his eyes, and he sleeps and wakes at regular intervals. He may suck his fingers, and although his lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with assistance — if he were to be born prematurely. Chalk up any rhythmic movement you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and isn't bothersome to him, so enjoy the tickle. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now. Wonder what he's thinking?

I'm feeling generally terrible, with contractions interspersed with frenetic action from little Mikey. I have brief waves of nausea accompanied with tsunamis of terrific hunger, strange yet predictable pains in my lower back and intolerable sharp poking in my lower ribs. The pain directly comes from jabs and kicks by my budding kickboxer -- what started out to be something cute suddenly became something I yelp and whine about... and he's only getting stronger. Mike gets mad when I poke my belly back perhaps as a cheap way to retaliate, but he only seems to enjoy the interaction more. Travelling back and forth to work [which has incredibly been cut in half compared to my 1 hour commutes in California] seems to be sucking most of my energy and all I'm left with is a constant mood of just "sheer exhaustion". I am lucky to have a husband that have taken the chore of cooking dinner several times this week. Otherwise, I've noticed lately that I am getting more prone to take outs, pizza deliveries or worse... TV dinners.

Oh, I also have to mention my growing disgust towards the dark and unfamiliar stretch marks that have decided to house on my lower abdomen. Gross. I sincerely hope that goes away. I've been trying to stay in track about rubbing cocoa butter on it every morning when I wake and every evening before I go to bed... but it otherwise renders me helpless..

There's that hunger sensation again, butting into my blogging time.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Little Mikey's crib

After weeks of searching high and low for the perfect crib, we finally got him a crib today. And even though we know it probably won't take little Mikey long to form his own opinion and decide what he wants to decorate his room with, the vote to have the Winnie the Pooh nursery theme [at least for now] was almost a no-brainer. He seems to like it though.. he couldn't stop kicking while I helped Mike put it all together...

Operation Decorate Nursery's still on its early stages though. We have put a decorative border up.. but there seems to be a lot more I want to do. We plan on putting some pictures up.. especially of one of me and Mike from the wedding holding my stomach -- and we've been diligently working on the Pooh and Tigger puzzle we've bought from California months ago. Despite everyone warning me not to, I've endulged a couple times buying him clothes.. most of which he probably won't even be able to get into for another 6 months.. but they're all so "cute" it's almost impossible to resist. And I've scoured the internet for the most complete "baby shopping list" and it just seems to get longer and longer... I can't tell if it's just a marketing ploy to get a new mother to buy more things than what's really necessary or if the little guy really needs that much stuff. Mike growled yesterday about the baby having a better matress than we do... I have to admit, it's amazing how someone who can't even breathe on his own yet can be so spoiled already.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Victim of a Hallmark conspiracy?

Yesterday, I didn't know it was Sweetest Day. I mean I've heard of it before.. but never had a clue as to where it originated from.. much less when it is. I remember when I first met Mike, he used to always bitch about the grand conspiracy behind Hallmark fabricating holidays that don't really weigh any importance but are advertised as such in order to boost greeting card sales during the slow autumn months. [I have to admit, from a business point of view, it's a damn good business strategy]. So yesterday, I met Mike at his work so we could go to a friend's bar-b-que, and he surprised me with 2 dozen long stemmed red roses, a new watch (I haven't worn one in 3 months since the batteries on mine died and haven't replaced it), and a poem he wrote. And although he later on confessed that he hadn't realized that it was Sweetest Day until that afternoon, and that he had to make a quick stop at Walmart down the street to fish for these gifts minutes before I got there, the thought nonetheless was indeed... sweet.

And I in turn... got him NOTHING.

Now I'm trapped between feeling guilty and perplexed - does this make me an insensitive wife? All I could say was "thank you sweetheart, I'm sorry I didn't get you anything" to accompany a guilt-full of hugs and kisses. And although he repeatedly said it was okay, I couldn't help but notice his blue eyes screaming from disappointment that the thoughtfulness wasn't reciprocated. Hell, I don't blame him if he decides to skip Sweetest Day next year for revenge... but it's not like I forgot Valentines Day or our anniversary. [Right?]

We always joke around about how many "Hallmark days" I get to pick up this year like Mother's Day and our anniversary... but never a mention of Sweetest Day. So arguing against my "need to know" nature, I woke this morning with a quest to find out what this day was all about. It's not on a set day... it's not even on ANY calendar. As it turns out, it supposedly falls on every third Saturday of October. Sweetest Day was invented in 1922 [alas, google reaffirms that this holiday is a modern creation] by a Cleveland candy maker who wanted to spread cheer by bringing candy and gifts to orphans and shut-ins. It goes on to describe that it is primarily celebrated in the Great Lakes region, Ohio being the title holder for Sweetest Day sales... which would probably explain why in all the years that I've dated have I EVER received anything on Sweetest Day.

What do we really mean when we refer to "significant days" as "Hallmark days" anyway? That makes it sound like an obligation, as oppose to a heartfelt show of tenderness. Does sweetness have to be fabricated to suit an occasion? It shouldn't, in my opinion. Aren't we too early into the marriage for that anyway? It doesn't seem that long ago that we were celebrating anniversaries [of us getting together] on a monthly basis. No reminders from the giant card company, just the sincerity of a short one liner email that says 'I love you' or waking up extra early to cook breakfast for the other person. And I trully believe that's what makes the "significant days" that much more significant.

So do I still feel bad I didn't get him anything? You betcha...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Job you want vs Job you need

Today, I had a brief realization that in all my history of finding employment.. I've really had it easy.

At 16, I started helping my mom at the OB-GYN office she worked for and eventually found myself on their payroll as a medical biller.

At 18, I joined the Army and got paid to work out everyday, learn how to shoot a rifle and throw a grenade, and gain what meant to me then as the first step to complete financial independence.

At 19, I was gainfully employed by the University as a student technician -- though I hated dissecting computers and helping people who couldn't even figure out that the reason why their computer's not working is because it isn't turn on, I stuck with it in hopes of adding what masked itself as relative "field experience".

At 20, I stayed with the University but decided to venture a different world in IT and worked with graphic design and webpage publishing.

At 21, I was whisked away by Uncle Sam to Bosnia for a year and got paid to manage a very powerful and military operated propaganda machine masked as a radio station.

At 22, I decided I had to do something [even remotely] relevant to the four-year degree I was working towards on getting and scored an internship with the 4th largest bank in California on the first try. 3 months later, I found myself almost arrogantly turning down two other offers to work as the youngest project manager in the company. I have to admit, I was proud of myself, but the satisfaction was shallow. I got a promising job in my field of study without the degree.

At 23, moving to West Virginia brought out the cynic in me [even relentlessly joked about ending up working at Walmart]. Fortunately, luck was on my side again, and after working as an Executive Assistant temp for about 2 months, I scored and got hired full time as an Office Manager.

Looking back, I'm thankful to all the hiring managers who had the foresight to see through my "yes" attitude. Even though, I was sitting in an interview not 100 percent sure if I even wanted the job, I kept saying "yes I'd love to work here, yes I fit in and yes please hire me". It has worked for me thus far, and although I know there are people who would kill to be in the position that I am in, I am inexorably venting my frustration in not being able to find the right job for me. Yes, despite my uncanny confession that it has been easy for me to find a job, I know that finding any job takes work. The kicker? Finding a job that I want is going to require much harder work.

Like many others, I want a job that satisfies the basic requirement of a good paycheck. I want THE job that continually challenges me to be better, the kind of job that I don't dread every waking moment to. Therein lies the problem of me not really knowing what I want. So how can I be frustrated? It's like looking for an answer to a question that hasn't been presented in the first place...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A different kind of love

Being pregnant has been a challenge, a blessing.. and a learning experience. [I still stand with my claim that no one ever really prepares for something like this]. At first, I didn't know what to think of it. I had to share my body with somebody or something that would change my life completely, and be subjected to an unprecedented amount of constant, though well-meaning patronizing.

"Don't lift anything... Don't drink anything with caffeine.. Go up the stairs one step at a time.." -- No matter what the activity was, there was something potentially unhealthy or dangerous about it. I couldn't understand the fuss. In my opinion, I could still rely on my own sound judgement.
[Don't get me wrong.. being a first time mom, I'll take all the advice I can get]. But being stubborn and self-sufficient as I am, I just keep trying to do my own thing in the face of loud opposition.. which more than often gets me in trouble... especially with Mike. I hate that sometimes. I hate being told that I can't have a cup of capuccino anymore because if I drink anything that has caffeine then we might see a spike in my blood pressure, and if my blood pressure goes higher than normal then that might lead to another anxiety attack, and if I get an anxiety attack then I would need medication, and if I need medication then that can't be good for the baby. It's like being stuck in a carousel of slippery slopes.. round and round it goes.

Before getting pregnant, I was always on the go.. always looking for something new to do. I might have been even considered a risk-taker. Now, even walking outside barefoot is considered a BIG no-no. I am confined to very monitored behavior deemed safe for the child that I'm carrying, and I sometimes [selfishly] feel smothered and overprotected. All of a sudden, it isn't about me anymore and what satisfies my short-lived craving for an adrenaline rush. It's about what's best for my baby.

Sometimes, I even think that this pregnancy is affecting my brain moreso than it's affecting my waistline. But at the end of the day, when the little guy in my stomach starts to kick and Mike gently bends down to give him a kiss... being scolded for insisting on a capuccino frenzy suddenly seems so trivial...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Good Wife's Guide 1955 vs 2005

Click on photo to view full size

Pruportedly an actual article printed on Housekeeping Monthly, May 13, 1955 -- Author unknown.

Most probably wonder if such advice could really come from a national publication, or if this is just another attempt to portray outdated societal behavior to be worse than they really were so as to make a point as to how much we've improved. I admit that when I first read this list I laughed. It is so hopelessly out of date now that I can hardly imagine any modern woman taking it seriously. I found it hard to believe that any person would seriously abdicate their right to question the actions of their spouse, or that any person would sincerely believe that their thoughts and concerns are of minimal importance next to those of their partner, but I know that situations like this were not at all uncommon in the 1950's.

We don't want to believe that any woman, even half a century ago, was willing to submit herself to a life of servitude in order to be considered successful at her "most important role in life," that of the wife. But no matter how you look at it, we have come a long way in 50 years. And as a new member of The Wives' Club in year 2005, here's my take on this Good Wife's Guide.

1955 Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal - on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him, and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

2005 Spend about half an hour arguing as to whose turn it is to cook dinner this time as you have both been working hard all day [apparently, paying for take out the night before counts so be careful when you make your arguments]. When he starts to give you the slip, offer to help with his food preparation task for the night by taking out the pots he would need to use. Remember to compliment the chef and thank him after the meal; this is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are fully aware that you would starve to death if he weren't so concerned about your needs. And if you can't bring yourself to let him clean up the kitchen and cook yet again, it wouldn't kill you to pick up the tab for the Taco Bell the night after.

1955 Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

2005 Prepare yourself. Don't start looking like a hobo just because you're married now and don't feel the need to impress anybody. He has just been with a lot of girls at work who wear low cut shirts and mini skirts, so you'll have to stay on top of looking best when he comes home to remind him of what he's got. But don't overdo it that you look like a totally different person from who he wakes up next to in the morning.

1955 Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

2005 Being a little gay will just confuse him and get his hopes up; after all, you don't want to encourage a threesome. Offer to talk about your boring day and compare it to his, you'll find it amusing that you still find something in common.

1955 Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

2005 Teach him that dirty clothes go in the hamper, not the floor. Leave the bills scattered on the kitchen counter so he won't miss it when he gets home. If you're in a good mood, you'll go through the clutter and find the remote control and have it ready for him. If you're having a shitty day, hide it under the couch so you won't have to put up with another night of football.

1955 Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

2005 Over the cooler months of the year, you're allowed to refrain from shaving to give your skin more layers to keep you warm. Use the weather as an excuse to cuddle up and stay in bed all day, that is until one of you gets hungry and it sparks an argument as to whose turn it is to get food. Make lots of hot chocolate for each other, it will provide you with immense personal satisfaction not caving into the Starbucks fad.

1955 Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

2005 Greet him with a warm smile before reminding him that it's his turn to prepare dinner. If he does a good job, then maybe there'll be some pleasing for dessert.

1955 Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

2005 Listen to him, but make sure you nod occasionally and make "uhuh" noises to make him think that his topics of conversation are more important than yours. After he's done talking, make him listen to you talk about the new pink shirt you just bought on sale.

1955 Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

2005 If he comes home late or goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you, this entitles you to do the same. If he finds it boring to spend all his time with you, there's probably something wrong.

1955 Don't complain if he's late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he may have gone through that day.

2005 If he's late home for dinner or he stays out all night without giving you a valid reason, you should start digging in his pant pockets for girls' phone numbers.

1955 Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

2005 Your husband is to be prepared to account for his whereabouts every minute of the day, including an explanation as to why he was away from the phone when you tried to call or why he was unable to chat with you for twenty minutes when you do finally get through to him. He is to be mindful of your natural suspicion about your husband's activities, especially after you've watched re-runs of Cheaters. You should ask quite a few questions about his actions if he suddenly starts insisting that herpes can be transmitted electronically. You should then question your own judgment and integrity for marrying him based on the results of a Cosmo Quiz.

1955 A good wife always knows her place.

2005 A good wife always knows how to put her husband in place.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Stop trying to be polite

We've been married for 24 days [officially anyway] and so far so good...

I have found myself astonished with the number of people who actually asks "How's married life treating you?" -- What do people want when they ask that? The problem is I don't believe that they honestly want to know. And although I can think of several flip and not-so-proper responses, I often find myself in need of something that gently lets the questioner know that it is an inane question yet still makes them go away satisfied that I'm happy with my decision to marry and haven't changed my mind thus far.

This question may appear to show an interest in the person's life, but it actually shows that the asker hasn't stopped to think that the marriage they're alluding to was NOT arranged, shotgun, green card, same-sex, a dumb joke... or simply, a BIG mistake. Whether or not the asker has taken the time to consider it, their question suggests doubt that the newlyweds were stable enough to justify marriage. It is not polite; it is thoughtless.

Let's start a little pop-culture trend away from this question. It's trite, it's unoriginal, and it's got to stop. If you must try to be nice, ask about life without the stress of wedding-planning. Now that's worth talking about.

But in case you are one of the few that really does care, I will tell you.

Truth is... NOTHING has changed.

Although fans of the Catholic church still frown upon the notion of "cohabitation", Mike and I [with our parents' blessings] lived together for a little bit over a year before tying the knot. This gave us a free pass on the pressure from the transition between having just a recreational partner to having a life partner. We already went through the disenchantments and disillusionments of marriage before even saying "I Do"... and instead of looking at our experiences as forms of rude awakening, we used them as stepping stones to deepen and strengthen our relationship. Given that, some might think that we must be over the glamour of the honeymoon stage, and if you think that, you are seriously mistaken.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Post wedding blues

I woke up this morning and couldn't help myself but wonder if I'm starting to sink into depression, just utterly bored, or just a temporary victim of hormonal instability. Frankly, i can't tell the difference anymore... today's just another day.

Yes, I was a little down after coming into realization that the wedding was over. I should've been relieved, and I guess to a certain degree I was. I have to admit I don't miss the bickering over the ever growing guest list and the stress of how we're going to finance the wedding of our dreams... but mostly, I was sad that the single thing that I had looked forward to for the past year is exactly just that... a thing in the past. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed it. I fancy hearing people talk about how perfect it was, and how surprised they are that we actually pulled off a beach wedding most people only dream about. To me, it just seemed like the day went by so fast, almost like a blur really. I remember waking up that morning and worrying about the last minute place cards we still had to glue together, and then it almost went fast forward and suddenly I remember swaying to our last dance in the middle of bubbles. We didn't go on a honeymoon afterwards. We decided that Cancun, which was planned way before we found out about the baby, wasn't something we wanted to risk. So we headed on back to West Virginia and a day later, Mike went back to work while I had to stay home and tried to hold onto my sanity.

After the wedding, I went through some kind of withdrawal.. desperately begging everyone for any pictures they have of the wedding in hopes that I could relive the day even by just looking at some snapshots. It did me justice for a while, until I got burnt from looking at the same pictures over and over - sometimes until 2 in the morning. And after putting away the last set of wedding presents, I became even sadder that the last thing on my agenda might be the one thing that I've been making up excuses to hold off on (perhaps my last desperate attempt to stay in "wedding mode") -- the thank you cards.

Of course, it doesn't help that I'm currently playing the role of the "domestic housewife". Although somehow, i think claiming that is even worse than just saying "unemployed". I had a before the wedding... but due to circumstances beyond my control, I am now forced to wait until HR says I can join the rest of the human race and suffer the same boredome at work. I hate staying home. It pains me that I'm not easily amused by digital cable unlike most people, although from time to time I will sit through a rerun of CSI or an episode of The People's Court.

And alas, I don't want to fail to credit the lovely state of West Virginia for having perhaps the most limited resources for bored people. I miss LA's free concerts, countless museums, stretches of beaches, Starbucks and Barnes and Noble at every corner, and HELL... even sitting in traffic on the 91 freeway or the 10 will kill at least 3 hours of your day. What they have a lot of here are parks and trees... maybe tomorrow I'll feed the ducks.


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