The Only Time I've Ever Wished For A Belly

This was on my BabyCenter weekly newsletter this week, and it was so me that I had to laugh. 14 weeks, exactly one pound gained and not even a hint of baby bump. People keep asking, "Are you SUUUUUUURE you're pregnant?" Oh well. I should probably be thankful that I don't have to lug around all that extra weight yet, but I do have to say it feels weird to be sitting in the Dr's waiting room, surrounded by giant bellies, and be the only one with a completely flat stomach.

Oooo, You Make Me Live

Don't you hate it when you make a big stink about something and it turns out that you are double-dead wrong?

And then you have to slink in and eat some crow and pay $30 for a book covered in grossness?

Yeah, me too.

See, I've been having a fight with my local library. (It pains me to even type that because the library and I are BFFs, and up until now we've been seeing each other several times a week, and all the librarians and checkout volunteers know me by name and what kind of reading kick I've been on lately. And it's been years of tea parties and sleepovers and slow-motion romping through daisies together while the Best Friend song from Queen plays in the background). But there comes a time in every friendship where someone gets mad over a misunderstanding (or a little mysterious yellow stuff) and those friends quit speaking for a while.

It all started innocently enough. I checked out a book. I read said book. I returned said book along with several other books through the after-hours book drop. Life was good. But then! Then! One day out of the blue, my BFF library sent me a nasty note. And it said that I had grievously slighted them by spilling "yellow stuff" all over a book and now it was ruined and I owed them $30 for a new book or they wouldn't be my bestest friend anymore SO THERE!

And I, reacting a bit strongly to the idea of my library breaking up with me over a horribly false accusation, called them up to be like, "What yellow stuff!?! I didn't spill any yellow stuff on any book! I would never do that to a book! You're a dirty dirty fibber, and I don't want to be friends with dirty fibbers SO THERE!"

And then the library yelled "Fine!" and I yelled "Fine!" and then we both slammed some doors and went home to play by ourselves. (Metaphorically speaking actuality, the library and I were both professional adults where I exclaimed confused but polite dismay and the library professed apologetic but polite insistence and we were both very polite about the whole thing. But the underlying feeling of door slamming was there).

In my head, "yellow stuff" looked like French's mustard, which I do not eat, so why would I smear it all over a book? Why would the library claim such lies about me? Actually, it wouldn't surprise me at all if it was actually the library's fault! They're trying to set me up! I left the book safely in the book drop. Maybe some grubby-handed child visited the library and was playing in the book drop receptacle! Maybe some careless volunteer was eating a mustard sandwich on rye while checking in books and got some on the cover! Formally-bff library is trying to make me the fall guy!

So I sat in my room alone for a few days, feeling abused and missing the library terribly but refusing to admit it, and the library did the same. (Oh sure, they have other patrons, but none of them are BFFs like me). And for a while I tried to make new friends with Borders and Barnes and Noble, but they were more interested in a commercial relationship with me rather than one where they let me read their books for free. And it was horribly lonely.

Then one day a few days later, the library left a message on my answering machine, cautiously suggesting that I come in and see mysterious yellow stuff for myself. It wasn't exactly an overture of friendship, mind you, but at this point I was desperate to see them again, so I agreed.

Driving over, I told myself that if the library admitted that they were wrong, I would take them back graciously. If I told them that I had nothing to do with the yellow stuff and they believed me, then we would put this whole ugly mess behind us. If they said they were sorry and they wanted to be my friend again, I would immediately check out 8 books and make us matching "Friends forever" bracelets. Overall, I was feeling very benevolent and forgiving about the whole thing.

And then I saw the "yellow stuff" they were talking about.

Which sucked, because I recognized it instantly.

And it meant that I was 100% in the wrong, and the library was right.


It was not French's mustard. It was a little thing we like to call kitty barf. And since the library does not have any cats, it was a pretty safe bet that it came from my house, where there are several little furry barf factories of the feline persuasion running amok and having full access to library books. I have no idea why I didn't see it when I scooped the books up to return them, but I didn't. And so I gave the library a hairball-covered book. Mea culpa.

Of course, there was nothing to do after that other than to hang my head and apologize profusely while paying the library $30 for their new book. I am a bad book renter. I do not have the proper respect for the written word. I let my four-legged charges abuse a Times best-seller. I do not deserve to be the library's friend.

The library, however, would hear none of it. (Oh, they still took my $30, but there was no reason to beat myself up over it). These things happen, they said! Who can control kitty barf, they said! Of course you are forgiven! The library has a new book, and I have a commemorative barf-covered one. We shall speak of the matter no more. Bestest best friends again.

So we are back. Braiding each other's hair, passing notes in Social studies, and delivering those hard to find books through the inter-library loan system. And I have learned an important lesson about not being overly defensive, and checking my books carefully before returning them, and keeping loaned books at least two feet off the floor so kitties can't get to them.

Cue the Queen music.

Leggo My Eggo...And Eggs...And Pudding

I've been dreaming about food lately. It must just be the preggo brain, because I'm not really overly hungry during the day or anything, so it's a little weird to be so focused on it at night. Actually, I suppose the focus is more that someone takes the food from me, and I get all mad about it. I've had two dreams in a row with this theme, and while I don't normally attach meaning to dreams, (I consider dreams to be the brain's way of going, "Testing, testing, is this thing on?") two in a row being so similar makes me wonder if they're connected somehow.

The first one happened the night before last when I dreamed that my Dad made me fried eggs and toast. (Note: My Dad makes the BEST fried eggs ever. He manages to get them all crispy and buttery on the edges without overcooking the yolk so it's still runny enough to sop up with toast. I've never been able to recreate it myself. I usually end up breaking the yolk during the all important flip and ending up with semi-charred scrambled eggs instead. But I digress. Let's just say, Dad's fried eggs? Awesome). Anyway. In my dream, Dad had made me some fried eggs and toast, and I was happily scarfing them down when my Mom came in and took a bite. And then another. And then another! Annnnnd she was eating the absolute tastiest part, which is the egg yolk on the toast! And in my dream, I got crazy mad. RAGING mad. How dare she eat my eggs and toast! Dad made them for me! I haven't had fried eggs in forever! I even woke up mad. (And apparently mumbled indignantly yet incoherently at Tony about it while he got dressed for work. Mumble mumble MY EGGS! mutter PERFECT YOLK! mumble TOAST! to which he replied, "Yes dear. Go back to sleep, dear" like he always does). When I really woke up later, I thought I might just be craving eggs, but nope. Wouldn't have said no to them if Dad was fixing them, but didn't feel like actually trying to attempt them myself.

Last night's dream was about us moving into a new house. Mom, Dad, my sister, me...we had moved into a new house together that was really quite lovely. In the process of the move, we had taken everything out of the kitchen pantry and piled it on the roof of an old minivan we used to have when I was a kid. I knew it was going to rain soon and we needed to 1) mow the lawn and 2) get the pantry items off the van roof before it rained, but instead of removing the items, I just put the gas can for the mower in the van and drove off, pantry items riding topside. Of course some of them fell off before I could get out of the neighborhood, so I stopped the van to go back and get them. But before I could reach them in the street, some guy comes running out of his house and scoops them up! And I was like, "Hey! That's my instant pudding! Come back here!" And I chase him into his house. Again with the all-encompassing food related rage. Dude has my jello pudding! And some cans of tuna! And my gas can! (Not exactly a food, but still...) And his family is sitting in the living room watching me chase this guy around and around his kitchen, screaming about how I want my groceries back. Then I wake up.

I'm not sure why I get so mad in these dreams. In reality, I'm a pretty non-confrontational person. I rarely ever get mad. Plus, I would not mind if Mom ate my eggs and toast (technically, they were her eggs in the first place). She buys enough of my meals when we go out anyway so if anything, I'm mooching off her, not the other way around. And instant pudding costs like, what? 40 cents a box? And I don't even like tuna! So I really don't think it's about the food. But I'm at a loss as to anything else that the food represents. If any of you out there feel like playing amateur dream analyst, feel free to take a shot at it. I'm curious to hear if I'm missing something obvious.

In the mean time, it might just be safer for you to get your own plate.

Apple Juice. It's All Good.

Well, we had our week 12 doctor's appointment today. And although there is some discrepancy on exactly when the first trimester ends (12 weeks? 13 weeks? 12.5 weeks?), I'm going to go ahead and claim that we have successfully completed it, because I can already tell that my baby is an over-achiever. (It's in the genes).

Anyway, Sesame Seed (which Tony refuses to call him/her, btw. He refers to SS as "the baby" because "it is NOT a seed!") is doing very well, although s/he was not interested in cooperating with the ultrasound technician AT ALL! We spent roughly 30 minutes poking and prodding to get him/her to flip over for measurements. SS did a lot of arm and leg kicking, but no rolling. Finally, the tech gave me some apple juice to drink because the sugar makes them very active. Well, let's just say active is an understatement! I was still swallowing the last of the juice when SS sprung into action with a series of flips and rolls and jazz hands. (Seems s/he REALLY likes apple juice). It makes me wonder what it did to the poor kid last night when I had that bite of chocolate cake.

The ultrasound tech was really good. I think she could tell that I was a first time mom-to-be (maybe because I spent the entire time going, "Does that look normal? Is everything okay? It looks cramped in there. Is there enough room? Is he feeling claustrophobic?") so she gave us a ton of photo printouts to distract me.

These are my favorite shots. The first one is where SS is just laying back, chillin', with his hands behind his head. (12 weeks, and the living is easy).

The second one is mid-roll, although I like the way he's looking down like, "Huh. I have toes! When did that happen?"

The Boys of Fall And Streaking

You may have seen the highlights from this weekend's game between my beloved Tennessee Vols and the Oregon ducks. The first quarter was very good for us. The other three? Not so much. But the best part of the entire thing was the part that they didn't even show on television.

It all started innocently enough. The Seester happened to be in town this weekend, so the whole family went to the game. (Mom and Dad have season tickets and usually go to all the home games anyway, and the Seester likes to catch them whenever she's in town, and I just figured what the heck, so off we went with 105,000 other people to watch grown men crash into each other and chase a little oblong ball around). Your typical Saturday night in the south.

Anyway, we get there to the game and get all settled in our seats for some good old fashioned collegiate pigskin (we're up 6-0 within minutes! woot!), and the crowd is singing Rocky Top, and our boys are playing well for once, and the old guy behind the Seester is making a special point to give her high fives FOR EVERY LITTLE PLAY, so I suppose it was only natural that no one really noticed that the sky behind us was getting really dark.

I mean, really REALLY dark.

And sure, the wind picked up a bit, but when you're packed into a stadium with 100,000 other people on a humid night in September, you welcome the breeze. And I suppose that that rumbling noise could have been thunder, but who can hear it over the cheering of the fans? So it was really a bit of a surprise when the rain started to fall. But we are the mighty SEC! We scoff at a little rain! Scoff! Scoff! Wait-was that a giant bolt of lightning?

It turns out that it isn't the smartest thing in the world to be outdoors, 7 or 8 stories in the air and sitting on metal bleachers when a major thunderstorm comes up. And this sucker was a humdinger! (Or a gully washer, as my grandparents would say). So the game was stopped, the players were herded back into their locker rooms, you at home broke away to a panel of old sportscasters talking about who knows what, and 105,000 people tried to cram themselves under the little covered awning next to the concession stands. And when the rain started blowing, they crammed in even more. It was like training for the world's greatest clown car.

But even that wasn't the best part.

The Seester and I, having had enough of pretending to be sardines, decided to head over to Mom and Dad's seats in the fancy alumni covered section (also, their seats are plastic and not metal, so bonus points for not being a lightning rod). There we all sat quite comfortably and watched the lightning and the wind and the rain come slashing down on an empty stadium.

Did I say empty? I meant almost empty.

Because the student section stayed in their seats. Every single one of them. And not only did they stand there through the entire storm, but the harder it rained, the louder the students cheered. (Ah to be in college again. So young, so adventurous, so stupid not to have the sense to get in out of the rain). And the storm crashed, and the announcer kept advising people to take cover over the PA system, and the students stayed right where they were and got absolutely soaked to the skin. And they cheered.

But still not the best part.

The best part was when some of the drowned rat college students got tired of simply screaming at the storm and decided to increase their chances of being struck by lightning by hopping the barrier and running around on the open field. (Which as we all know is the number one, cardinal no-no of college football, punishable by immediate arrest. Paint yourself colors, scream all you want, insult the other team's mamas, but stay off the field!) But out they went, 30 or 40 of them, whooping and running and more of them getting ready to follow suit at a moment's notice.

And that was about the time that the streakers joined in. Because what's more fun than running around on a football field during a thunderstorm? That's right! Doing it naked!

You could almost hear the collected "oh crap!" rise up out of the game security guards. Because not only are they now going to have to also run out onto the field and get soaked to the skin while dodging lightning bolts, but they're going to have to tackle slippery, probably intoxicated naked guys while doing so.

(Aren't you sad that you at home spent the time watching the old guys discuss running games vs passing games while all this was going on?)

But out they went, because they are good security guards, huffing and puffing their way around the field after the students. (Interestingly enough from our elevated view up in the covered section, escaping naked students fleeing campus security instinctively take up the swarming pattern of birds trying to escape a predator. You've seen how a flock of birds all swoop and change direction together? So do drunken frat guys! Only it works better for the birds).

Some of the college students managed to swarm back into the stands to escape. Some were spectacularly tacked in a torrent of rain and security guard. One guy, (and this was my favorite) started out running in just his low-hanging basketball shorts, but the combination of the rain and the fact that he was wearing them about 6 sizes too big caused them to slip down around his ankles, tripping him up and making him body surf on his face (and other naked parts) for about 15 feet across grass and sand and gravel in front of the Oregon bench. When he stood up, his front was so bright red it could be seen from space. (Something tells me he won't be sleeping on his stomach for a while).

This whole spectacle went on for quite a while. Every time the field would clear, some other idiot would jump out and go racing across the grass. At first, everyone was cheering for the streakers, but pretty soon public sentiment turned and we were all cheering for the security guards instead. (I think it really pumped them up too. There were some pretty dramatic WWF tackles going on there towards the end. Don't tell me that crowd noise isn't a factor in a football game).

Sadly, the storm petered out after about 45 minutes, and with it, our rain delay entertainment. Annnnd shortly after that the game resumed and the Ducks kicked our butts from one end of the field to the other. But I gotta admit, it was one of the more interesting college games I've seen in a while.

I can't wait to check the weather for the Florida game.

September Morning Can Still Make Me Feel That Way*

Where have I been this past week? Why, out enjoying some semblance of fall, of course.

If you've ever been to East Tennessee in the June/July/August/September months, you'll know that we do hot. And humid. And sticky and sweaty and...well, it's hot. And this year, we've have more hot than usual. This year we've had 74 days above 90 degrees, when the past summers have only averages 34 days of scorchers. And I love hot. I really do. I'm a warm weather girl through and through, so I was fine with hot.

But then something strange happened. Football started. Kids went back to school. The air smelled fresher and crisper. And glory hallelujah, the temperature dropped 10 degrees. And I, much to my own surprise, discovered that this year rather than mourning the end of summer, I am all excited about this early sneak peak of fall.

I realize for those of you living in other parts of the country/world that a high of 80 degrees may not exactly scream fall weather to you, but trust me, the difference has been noticeable here. It has awakened a long dormant desire for me to wear boots and soft sweatshirts and kick up piles of leaves as I stroll along shady tree-lined lanes on my way to pick apples or carve pumpkins or something.

(Yes, I know that 80 is still too hot for sweatshirts and boots. And no, I'm not even sure if this is the right time to pick apples, or where to do it if it is. And yes, I know that there are exactly three leaves on the ground at the moment, which may or may not have been forcibly plucked off of a tree in the back yard and tossed in the air by a certain someone just so she could dance around while they fluttered back to earth, but hey, it's still early, and sometimes Mother Nature needs a little help. Shut up.)

Okay, Okay, so I may be rushing the fall thing a bit. The calendar says autumn doesn't actually start for two more weeks. And chances are this week's weather is just a fluke and it will go back to being 80 bajillon degrees soon. But there's this feeling around. And it feels like football, and back to school, and that certain crispy smell in the air, so I still say it counts.

There's something delightful about the change in the seasons, isn't there? Long before we've gotten tired of the cold, or the heat, or the rain, or the endless raking of leaves, there's a fresh excitement about the new things each season brings. A giddy feeling that makes us throw open the windows or linger a little longer on the sidewalk just to see and smell the coming changes in the wind. They're new and refreshing and timeless and comfortable all at once.

So that's what I've been doing this week. I've been on the back porch, eating the apples I picked up at the grocery store (seriously, can you pick your own apples now?), surrounded by three little still-green leaves, waiting expectantly for the signs of a newly approaching season. I can feel it coming, and I can't wait.

*A Neil Diamond song for the title reference? Oh yes I did.

My Baby Does Not Look Like Excrement!

I don't know about you, but I'm not thrilled with week 10's baby tracker fruit picture here. It's supposed to be a prune, but I think it looks more like a space rock or petrified dog poop or something. Not complementary for baby AT ALL. My other fruit-to-baby ratio site says week 10 is a "kumquat", but I'm not sure I've ever seen on of those either.

(Poor Baby. Week 10 and already in that awkward stage).

The good news is that I think week 11 goes back to something normal, like a fig. (I shall call him "Newton").

Bye Bye Clothes

Hmm. Ya'll, I may have discovered a down side to this pregnancy thing.

I mean besides the nausea and bloating and super-sniffer, which I have pretty much become resigned to having FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.

No, I mean it has just occurred to me that I'm going to miss out on some really cute fall clothing.
(And if you know me and my non-existent relationship with fashion, you have no idea how weird it is that I just typed that.) But it's true! For the first time in sweet forever, the season is overrun with cute fall clothes! And I'm going to miss them!

See, I was digging through a bunch of stores yesterday, looking for a summer robe (which is apparently a figment of my imagination because NOBODY has light-weight summer robes, which really makes me wonder just what exactly the rest of you are lounging in while you read your blogs on Saturday mornings when it is already 900 degrees outside and that heavy fluffy winter robe just won't do. Hmm? HMM?). Anyway, the search for the holy grail of robes had led me through several stores, and while a light cotton tie-front garment with pockets remained elusive, I could not help but notice all the really really cute fitted fall jackets and tiny little vests and beautiful sweater dresses that BEGGED for me to pick them up and take them home.

And I had to tell them no. Because by the time it gets cool enough to wear those cute little fitted jackets and vests and sweater dresses, I will be in maternity wear. And I have yet to see a fitted motorcycle jacket in maternity.

Now don't get me wrong. I love being pregnant. And I love how comfortable maternity clothes are, even if I don't have the belly bump to completely warrant wearing them yet. But maternity wear will always look like a circus tent maternity wear, and it will never be all fitted and fall-ish and swishy. (Because pretty soon, I will not be fitted and fall-ish and swishy). And I'm okay with that. There will be other falls, and other times to be fitted and swishy, and not only will I be cute in them, but I will have a new baby to dress in fall swishy fun also.

But I do wish that the plaid peacoat with tailored waist and classy buttons would have waited a year or two to make its season debut so that I wouldn't have to look at it while I become roughly the size of the Hindenburg.

à la prochaine fois, my pretties. Promise me you'll wait.