Thursday, 29 March 2012

No One Told Me About This...

When I took the first pregnancy test at the end of January, it was very early on a Saturday morning. I sat in our bathroom and watched the ClearBlue test waiting to see if a '+' sign showed up, because if it didn't I was seriously confused about what was going on with my body.  Instead of a clear blue '+' sign though, all I got was a very solid vertical line, and the faintest, almost imperceptible, blue horizontal line.

With shaking hands I turned the instructions over and over, but it was early morning and the instructions were all in German so I ran into the bedroom and told Dan I thought I was pregnant.

Then I cried.

Out of sheer disbelief and happiness because after having been on medication for so long, with a 'no loittering' sign put on my uterus by doctors, I couldn't believe this finally got to be real.

SO WHERE THE HECK WAS MY PLUS SIGN?

Dan was hyped up on adrenaline too, and collectively we became a sound argument that higher learning won't necessarily make you smarter because we couldn't figure out if this test showed a positive or if it was a dud. I took another one with the same results, and we decided to subdue our excitement and wait until Monday to see the doctor.  Dan came with me to the appointment, I gave a urine sample to the doctor's lab techs, and then went back to the waiting room to be called to see the doctor. As we were waiting the lab tech came into the waiting room and announced in front of everyone the test was positive. Everyone stared at us while Dan and I beamed from ear-to-ear.

After we saw the doctor and left, we wondered when I'd start experiencing morning sickness. We assumed it would be the next day. See above for earlier example re: higher learning and street smarts. So the next day I woke up, all ready to hurl my cookies, and....nothing.

And the next day, nothing.

And the next, and the next, and the next.

WHAT WAS HAPPENING? WHY WASN'T I SICK?

The only change I noticed in myself was I was really out of breath walking up stairs, I was thirsty all the time, and if I didn't eat a banana at 2 a.m. I would probably try and eat a hunk out of our headboard. Despite these changes, I worried that the lack of nausea and puking meant something was wrong.

When I saw my OBGYN she asked how I was feeling.

"Terrible, I feel fine!"

Then she laughed and told me to enjoy it before doing an ultrasound where the little cellular blob that is our baby revealed itself on the screen. At that appointment we determined I was about nine weeks along, and she thought if I was to feel any sort of nausea or sickness it start soon. But it never came, and so I emailed my expert baby friend with a poorly disguised attempt to pretend I wasn't pregnant but if I was should I be sick?

The only thing I've ever heard from family, friends, and other pregnant ladies is how sick they were during the first trimester. How they couldn't eat anything, they puked up water, and the only thing they wanted to do all day was sleep. Why wasn't this happening to me?! I wanted this to happen to me as reassurance that all was well, but my expert friend assured me that not feeling sick was also normal.

I wasn't too reassured though, so I was very grateful when I was feeding the cats dinner one night (as I do every night) and the smells of their regular food became so disgusting to me that I threw up.

FINALLY!

I'M NORMAL!

After that I became a human bloodhound. I could smell all the smells! I told a friend that if someone was missing a dog, they should give me one if its toys or its blanket and I could track that hound down!

Here is my official (incomplete) list of how the world stinks:
  1. Grocery stores. Ugh. The only good smelling part of the grocery store is the bread section. I gagged in the produce department trying to pick out some lettuce, and I almost puked in the seafood section. I literally had to run away to prevent a public display of puking.
  2. Pet stores. Oh gross.
  3. Buses. Humans with their breath and bodies in tightly packed spaces are gross. Now excuse while I get off three stops earlier than I have to so I can quietly gag into some bushes.
  4. The spring thaw. Rotten grass is unbearable.
  5. Department stores. It's too much of everything and everyone.
When I went for my second OBGYN appointment (the one where we saw a baby that looked sort of like a baby!) she told me this smell sensitivity would probably go away soon.

I was disappointed.

Did this mean I had to start feeding the cats again?

(Dan took over that job. We didn't let them starve! Be serious. They are still my babies!)

But as she predicted, this keen sense of smell--my only pregnancy symptom--has now disappeared and I am back to feeling completely normal. Why doesn't anyone tell you that even though a human being is growing inside you it is completely possible to feel as though there isn't one? It is worrying and unnerving since I have been raised on a diet of sensational pregnancy nightmares, so I have always just assumed that once I got pregnant I would immediately feel different and weird all the time.

Is the baby still in there?

I think about this a zillion times a day.

And where are my pregnancy cravings? I have none. The only thing I do crave is McDonald's cheeseburgers, and hell, there's nothing new about that. Those are delicious.

So today Dan and I have started to document what my growing stomach will look like from week-to-week as a reassurance that despite a lack of all other symptoms my growing stomach is a sign that yes a baby is in there; it's not just a gluttonous gut.

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I'm about 17 weeks here.
Maybe it's only 16?
I've lost count already.
Is this bad?


The moral of this story friends and strangers, is if you know of someone who is/has been pregnant who wasn't sick, please spread that story around because no one tells it. I suspect it's for reasons of not wanting to appear righteous, but if all we hear are the stories of those who were so sick, it makes the non-sickies wonder what's up with them?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Inspiration

First some housekeeping:

Keep your book recommendations coming in! Just in case anyone is shy to make a suggestion (and let's face it, for some reason people can be embarrassed about what they read) because they think they read something "too fluffy" I call rubbish, because it's crap that anyone would be pretentious enough in the first place to turn their nose up at your choice of reading material.

Nick Hornby (a very funny writer) has a theory that if reading is to survive as a leisure hobby, you can't force yourself to read only books you think will enlarge the cerebrum; you have to embrace whatever you find entertaining. You don't watch television shows you don't find entertaining, so why hang your head about what you read for pleasure?

A journalist was quoted as saying, "It's not just that you read, it's what you read that counts." This claim was stamped on by Hornby by this most marvelous line: "In Britain, more than twelve million adults have a reading age of thirteen or under, and yet some clever-dick journalist still insists on telling us that unless we're reading something proper, then we might as well not bother at all."

Isn't that great?

Anyhow, let me know what you're reading. I need to load up the Kindle!

***

And now onto baby matters:

This Saturday Dan and I bought our very first item for the baby, and it was so exciting! I have been browsing Etsy whenever I have a free second (and even when I don't have a free second...productivity is at an all time low, is what I'm saying) and I decided that I wanted a nursery that was gender neutral and Dan was on board with this.

This isn't to say that I don't love princess rooms or car-themes--well, actually I don't like car themes but I couldn't think of anything else stereotypically male--the truth is I just can't wait five more weeks (when we find out the sex) to commence planning. I need to plan, NOW.

So I have spent copious hours poking around every nook and cranny of Etsy and I came up with a theme we are crazy about. Cut to this Saturday when we were in Bern and we stumbled into this very cute basement store that has baby stuff, and what did we find but a baby blanket that embraces my thematic idea!

The blanket was sort of an outrageous price because we were in a speciality store, but then again you only buy your first item for your first baby, once. What I'm saying is, we got crazy excited (well, Dan is more reserved but his eyes did sparkle, I saw) and I clutched that blanket to my chest because it was coming home with us.

"No question," Dan agreed.

We went out for coffee after that and put the blanket on the table for inspiration and then on the back of receipts we planned the baby's entire room.

Here's a sneak peek of our inspiration.

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We're a little bit excited.

Monday, 26 March 2012

A Perfect Storm (And It's A Long One)

Like a good egg I prefer to be sunny side up, but there are times when I can be prone to anxious, gut-churning, worry. I come by this trait quite honestly for it is a blighted apple growing on both sides of the family tree, but that doesn't mean I give myself a free pass on the matter. To be frank I really, really hate it when something I have no control over, something that is not worth losing sleeping over, is something that makes me feel sick to my stomach as I dwell on it for hours or even days. Over the years I've developed little tricks to release myself of these apprehensive thoughts, but I will confess that in the last few months of being pregnant I have been more susceptible to angsty thoughts of "what if", and as I relayed to a friend this weekend, lately there has been a perfect storm of reading material that has left me feeling like I need to reach for a paper bag.

And no, I'm not talking about What To Expect When You're Expecting.

The first book I'd picked up for pleasure reading was Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. If I had to choose one favourite writer, of all the writers, it would be Capote; for me, his words are perfection and I've devoured anything of his I can get my hands on, but I'd never read In Cold Blood. I knew it would be different from anything of his I'd read before, and that this story is the pioneer of the true crime genre. I read it very early on in my pregnancy, and knew going in that it was the story of two men, Hickock and Smith, who had murdered the absolutely innocent Cutler family of Kansas. 

What really left me feeling vulnerable was how these men preyed on the Cutler family, as a former prison inmate of Hickock mentioned that Mr. Cutler had thousands of dollars in cash on his farm, so with no personal knowledge of the Cutler family, going only on hearsay, they chose to victimize the family. The most chilling realization comes early on when it is made abundantly clear that Mr. Cutler did not ever carry any cash on his person, or have some in his home, because he preferred using cheques as a way to keep track of expenditures down to the last penny. Despite realizing this, Smith and Hickock still murder the family.

I read the book in its entirety, and when I set it down I stared at my ceiling for awhile with a hand mindfully placed on my stomach and felt generally very uneasy but was not able to articulate what so profoundly bothered me by this story, even though it clung to me like spiderwebs for days afterwards.

So in a move that makes little sense, I followed up In Cold Blood with Lionel Shriver's We Need To Talk About Kevin. It is a book I'd wanted to read for a few years, but it was one I never quite remembered when I walked in to the bookstore. But as I lay in bed one restless Friday night, I picked up the Kindle with the intent to buy a new book and downloaded this one.

I have not been able to read this book in its entirety.

Never, ever, have I been so bothered by a book that I had to skip pages and whole sections because of the feeling of panic that the story churned up in me. Whereas Capote paints Hickock and Smith as being men of circumstances (the reader is left to the conclusion that their unstable backgrounds have made them the callous individuals they are, though the narrator does have a soft spot for Smith who is portrayed as being less violent than sociopathic Hickock) Shriver makes it clear that Kevin comes from a stereotypically good background, and has at least one devoted parent.

When I started the book I did find it odd that Eva wanted to start a family only because she felt her life's personal narrative was getting a bit boring; having a child would be an interesting way to add another chapter. Upon finding out she's pregnant, Eva is less than thrilled and she resents the baby for it becomes apparent that her husband's devotions shift quite quickly: she is still his wife, but more importantly she becomes the carrier of his child. What I found chilling was her reaction to the baby after it's born: she emotionally rejects it in the same way baby Kevin rejects her breast.

It was hard to read about what a difficult baby Kevin was, and it became even more difficult to read as Eva recounts how his unlikeable personality slowly emerges. There's no doubt that he's cold (what he does to his mother's study as a little boy is calculated!), and it's hard to read how she has no support from her husband who can't, or won't, see Kevin for Kevin, and will not listen to her concerns about Kevin's apathy. It was also really hard to read about little Celia, a character that reminded me of a shell-less turtle. Eva calls herself a cold mother, a bad mother, and yes there's an argument for that (with a good counter argument, too), but it was the father who frustrated me, and it was Kevin who made me feel anxious because what if you have a kid like this? I mean, FUCK. And what won't come as a surprise, school shootings figure very prominently into the narrative for, as is obvious from the book's blurb, Kevin calculates and carries out a school rampage of his own, with a twist that made me want to throw-up. I could not read about the rampage and I skipped that entire section and went straight to the end where I inferred the twist and had to throw the book down in horror.

There is an irony in that Kevin does the shooting because he says America is watching people like him. He has "plot". The whole reason his mother conceived him is because she too wanted plot. The literary merit of this book is outstanding, but it was a story that for me, a pregnant woman expecting her first child, could just not handle.

This is a book I would recommend for group discussion as it provides excellent fodder, I just can't participate in that discussion at the moment.

But what I wouldn't recommend is that if you are pregnant, have never given birth before, and have no idea what to expect, do not spend your Thursday reviewing court cases that focus on actions against hospitals and doctors for delivery room negligence.

Pass the paper bag, please!

So Internet, I guess what I'm trying to get at is I can't handle any more of these dark dramatics at the moment and I need to read something pleasant. Do you have any recommendations? What are you reading?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

On Birthdays

I have so much to say on this little blog, but not enough time right now. Though I am in the home stretch of being done with this extra dealy-o I've got, and then...WATCH OUT.

It will be all rambling all the time.

Or some of the time.

And hopefully there will be pictures. My camera literally has a fine layer of dust on it at the moment.

But I quickly wanted to do a poll of all three people who check in here from time to time and ask what are your birthday traditions? Yesterday was Dan's 31st birthday, and I like to make birthdays special for him. Rather than have him eat his regular 6:30 a.m. bowl of cold cereal in front of Spongebob Squarepants on Nickelodean for Kids, I made him a hot breakfast of bacon, eggs, fresh bread, and coffee and then we actually had a conversation instead of the usual morning grumbling that happens around here.

Dan is not huge on big birthday celebrations and he prefers eating a home-cooked meal. The small birthday worked out in my favour this year because I COMPLETELY forgot to invite friends in a timely manner (aka I remembered on Tuesday) but he was happy as a clam just the two of us, so I made spaghetti bolognese, caesar salad, and garlic bread. One of his absolute favourite meals, and oh man, it was good. Especially the garlic bread. I have no idea why, but I don't think I've made garlic bread since we moved here. We couldn't remember the last time we'd eaten it, at any rate.

I always think a homemade cake is a really special way to end the day, and for Dan the only cake that should ever pass his lips is a chocolate cake and so that's what I made. It is absolutely enormous so if anyone wants to come over for cake, feel free.

In terms of gift giving, Dan and I come from two different ends of the spectrum: Dan grew up giving and receiving very practical gifts, whereas I am wildly imaginative and I never give somebody something they need. I always prefer to give them something they will want.

When we were in Vienna this year, on that particularly freezing first day, our noses were running like leaky taps. This prompted Dan to become more insistent that his idea to carry around a cloth handkerchief was a good one. Let me repeat: my thirty year-old husband wants to carry around an old man hanky. At that moment I became very concerned that Dan was unawares that carrying around a snotty piece of fabric would reduce his sex-appeal by 10,000 points. I decided on that cold Viennese street that he was getting some sort of hip, sexy birthday present he'd never think to buy himself but which would serve as a reminder that he is a young man in his prime and not an octogenarian sitting in an easy chair honking his nose into a gross hanky THAT HIS WIFE WILL HAVE TO LAUNDER.

So I squirreled away my francs, had some unbelievable research help from a tech-savvy friend, and on Monday I went out and got him the iPad 3.

When he opened it he was absolutely gobsmacked and speechless, but then he worked his way up to giddy merriment as he danced around and wondered over and over if it was for real. It felt wonderful to have been able to give him that and get that sort of reaction out of him.

For me, that's what birthdays are all about and the reason I started to think about our birthday traditions is because I want to create some special ones for our family once the baby comes along. Of course each birthday celebration will be specific to what each individual prefers (For example, I *must* eat it in a restaurant on my birthday. I don't want to eat at home.) but I like the idea of always having a homemade cake, or maybe waking the birthday girl or boy up with a cupcake to start the day, as a homey way to let the person know that on this day you were born and because of that, you've made a difference.

That you are important, you deserve something frivolous, and you get always get to pick the flavour of the cake.

So tell me Internet, what birthday traditions do you celebrate (or wish you celebrated) that leave you feeling extra special?

Friday, 16 March 2012

My Subconscious Could Be A Bouncer At A Bar

So I just need to clarify, in case you're all wondering, that this blog is probably going to get baby heavy. Well, heavy with my baby. Much like what is physically happening to me right now. I'm sorry if you think this is really lame because man, why can't I just keep talking about yellow icicles? Why do I have to talk about a baby?! Babies aren't as cool as yellow icicles!

Well my baby is the coolest so you are just going to have to deal!

But I do promise to not be one of those people who talk about the power and amazingness of birth and pregnancy. Because, gross! I hate it when people do that, and that's probably because I'm still an emotional sixteen year old and have a hard time taking things seriously. But I really hate it when people go on a sanctimonious power trip telling you about how spiritual or enlightening a first-hand experience is that you can't relate to.

"You have no idea the power behind birth. You can't even comprehend its ancient magnificence. How rooted to the earth you are, and to all the mothers before you. I can tell you don't get it, but it's the most special experience ever."

"But what about that time I went to Disneyland? That was really special."

"GET OUT OF MY SIGHT, LESSER PERSON."

So even though this blog will likely turn into a detailing of our baby and baby related stuff, I promise it will be in a non-alienating vein.

And with that disclaimer out of the way, we will now talk about booze.

So like every responsible and educated adult who is growing a human, no alcohol has passed my lips in over three months. It sucks. What really sucks is I'm used to not being able to drink, since the last four years of my life have involved different arthritis medications that all carry no-alcohol warnings. The difference with those, however, is one glass of wine a week was really not going to destroy my liver (which is why you can't drink when on certain medications). But with this baby there's no way I'm having a glass of wine a week.

I'm living a life of temperance, and I want a medal for it.

Dan and I were not huge wine drinkers to begin with, but I would say I averaged about three glasses of red a week. So if we were in France, I would basically have been considered the hugest prude of all time and no one would want to hang out with me. Admitting in Canada you drink up to three glasses of red a week will cause some people to look at you like you're the hugest lush of all time and you need to dry out. Ah culture, I'm glad there are so many to choose from.

So even though I wasn't a huge wine drinker, it has been so nice that this past year I was off medication which meant I could enjoy a glass of wine whenever I felt like it (which was three times a week, on average). I do miss settling down with a glass, but I never realized how much I missed it until, for the past straight week, it's all I dream about. Except, whenever I start to dream about a glass of wine, my subconscious bodyguard busts in on my dream world and ruins all the fun much like when Lindsay Lohan walks into, well, anywhere.

So the first dream I had was a celebratory occasion. I was drinking champagne and I was so delighted to be drinking those dry bubbles that I was consuming that delicate brew out of a brimming liquid measuring cup. Dan was in this dream and we were sitting outside and I was happily slugging back the champagne when all of sudden Dream Dan yelled at me, "YOU'RE PREGNANT."

Oh Internet, how Dream Caitie did cry. She just started shuddering with sobs, wrecked with guilt, over having forgotten she was carrying a little baby. Dream Caitie smashed the liquid measure and started wailing that her baby was going to be taken away from her.

That was dream one.

I had a really good laugh about it when I woke up.

The next dream I had involved me sitting at a picnic table at my old high school with both my sisters and some recognizable faces from those zitty teen days. There was an open bottle of wine at the centre of the table and we were laughing about how we could drink on school property and no one could arrest us. Don't even get me started with that line of thinking. Dream Caitie is weird. Anyhow, Dream Meghan poured me a glass of wine and just as I was going to take a sip, THERE WAS AN EARTHQUAKE. My subconscious saw that none of my dream friends were going to be responsible and remind me I was carrying a baby, so it intervened in the form of a natural disaster that left us all scrambling under the picnic table.

That was dream two.

I was perplexed when I woke up.

The last dream I've had (that I can remember) Dream Caitie had a really sore ear and didn't know what to do about it. Dan was in this dream again and was drinking some wine (duh) and I wanted a sip. Dream Caitie told Dream Dan that a sip of wine would make her ear feel better so Dream Dan got up and went into the kitchen and poured the bottle of wine in to a saucepan and warmed it up. Then he poured the warm wine...in my ear. What?! Thanks a lot, subconscious!

I was scared about my mental health when I woke up from that one.

I just want you all to know that if you are planning on hitting the club scene and need some protection from creeps and lurkers, I'm pretty sure if you bring me along in a sleep-walking state my subconscious will protect you.

Just don't offer me any wine in gratitude.

Things could get ugly.

Oh, and if you could refrain from psycho-analyzing these dreams that would also be swell.

Juuuuiiiccceeee

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

My New Super Power Is Crying

I'm never afraid to admit when something has reduced me to tears. I really don't see crying as an act of weakness, and sometimes it can help you get what you want as frankly, it just plain scares the shit out of some people. They want to make you stop! It's ingrained. Though I would refrain from crying at work because really, no one takes you seriously after that. Have a quiet cry in a bathroom if you think you need to, but refrain from sobbing all over your keyboard.

It makes everyone feel uncomfortable for you and then they will always look at you as the person who cried.

"Oh right, you were the person who cried because you can't handle constructive criticism. Awkward."

Now that said, I am not normally much a crier. Of course I had moments when Dan and I were moving here when I would have a pathetic pity sob if it felt like too much, and the same goes for how sometimes I've had a weep fest after getting here because I do find myself homesick at times and really missing family and friends.

But would I generally characterize myself as a crier?

I would not.

I never cry in movies, I don't get emotional about other people's tragic stories, and I'm rarely swayed by those sad advertisments on television where the old man reads the Hallmark card from his long lost relation and realizes he's really not alone.

I think what this means is I'm a cold-hearted so-and-so and you probably want to stay away from me. I remember leaving the theatre after watching Marley & Me and everyone around me was blowing their noses into soggy hankies and wiping their dripping eyes on their jacket sleeves. I felt like a total ass for being totally dry-eyed. But people, THE END WAS OBVIOUS. The entire movie, whenever the puppy did something cute, I would think, "Yeah, but it really is only going to end in one way. DEATH." Whenever you see a movie about animals, they usually always die in the end. Just be prepared for it because seriously, it's almost a cinematic rule that the animal doesn't get to live.

So though I obviously do cry, I just don't do it that often.

Or at least, I never used to. But now there's this little girl or guy taking up residence in my uterus and this little being has caused me to become an emotional wrecking ball.

I cry all. the. time.

And I hate it! I hate it! Because there is the non-pregnant part of my brain that is yelling at me to keep my shit together, but I just can't stop.

The first time I realized something was up was when watching Sophie's Choice. This was prior to me knowing I was pregnant, and I spent the entire movie wondering why everyone raved about it so much. But then...Sophie made her choice. And oh my goodness but I bawled! I just started sobbing and Dan asked incredulously, "Are you crying? Over a movie? You never cry!"

That was the beginning of the end of being able to keep my emotional cool.

About a week later Dan and I were reading and I looked over at him and just had this complete and overwhelming, almost crushing, realization of how much I loved him. Obviously I knew this before! Be serious! But this feeling just crashed in to me and I started sobbing again. And he looked at me, almost terrified, and wondered what I was reading.

"Nothing! I'm not reading anything. I just...I just...ah, I love you so much, you know? YOU KNOW."

And then he was really afraid because people, that was very out of character for me.

And four days later I peed on the stick and it all became clear but it also became a lot weirder, too.

About a month ago I was applying mascara when I stopped and looked at my hand in the mirror and was convinced it was swollen to twice its normal size. I was convinced that maybe the baby just sort of migrated to my hand and decided to hang out and grow there. For some reason, I thought my regular sized hand looked enormous.

So of course, I burst into streaky mascara tears.

By this point Dan had read the books and he was ready for me.

"My hand looks SO FAT," I cried. "And it's just my right hand! My left hand is normal. What's wrong with me? I'm turning into a science experiment!"

"Your hand is normal! It's totally fine! It's not huge. Your fingers might swell as things progress, but right now it looks totally normal."

"NO IT DOESN'T. YOU'RE JUST SAYING THAT TO MAKE ME FEEL BETTER. I'M A MESS."

Well, he really couldn't argue with that. I am an emotional mess.

Last Sunday Hidalgo was on television and so we sat down to watch it because I'm a sucker for (a) horses, and (b) Viggo Mortinson. I've seen the movie before so I know that this one is in fact a rare exception to my 'the animal always dies' rule and I was prepared to not cry. But then I did. Hard. Because at the end Viggo's character does the most selfless thing possible which is letting a wild thing you love, go free.

I couldn't handle it and spent twenty minutes crying over how amazing the relationship between people and animals can be, and why can't we all be so selfless? Does this mean I need to let Cosmo go free? Am I a bad person for keeping him when he's so restless? I am a bad person, aren't I?

SOB.

It didn't help that Cosmo sat at the door yowling the entire time I emotionally wrestled with this question.

I know that there are a lot of women out there who take offence to pregnant women being stereotyped as emotionally irrational. But you know what, I'm learning that for me I really am not exceptionally rational at the moment. Are all pregnant women like this? NO. Of course not. Am I like this? YES. Case in point, Dan and I went for a walk the other night and I remembered a fight we had EIGHT YEARS AGO. He didn't even remember the fight, but I remembered it in exact detail and I felt just as enraged that night as I had eight years ago and then I just surfed that wave of emotions all the way to tear-town.

Do I realize this is RIDICULOUS behaviour? I do, I do. I really, really am not that unpleasant to be around. But in those seconds I was incapable of being rational and thinking, "Be cool woman. This fight happened eight years ago and you dealt with it then, have since gotten married, and now you're having a baby. Chill out."

This morning it was confirmed again that a friend is moving away in about nine months, but remember I did already know she was leaving. I came home, was working away, and then it suddenly dawned on me leaving means leaving and I cried. Of course I did.

Gah!

So can someone please reassure me this crying jag doesn't last the whole nine months?

Until then I'll just be sitting in the corner, crying...about something.

Actually, I'll probably be crying about my bedding because I hate it at the moment, have cried about how much I hate it, and irrationally feel that I'm completely powerless to solve the problem. Who wants to come over?! I'M A DELIGHT.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Dan + Caitie = Baby

So I might have been a tad misleading when I said my life is pretty dull right now. If you think about regular everyday life stuff, then yeah life is sort of same-ol', same-ol'. But that's pretty much everybody's reality.

But then if you look at this...

DSC_0508
Baby's first picture on the fridge!

...well, nope life isn't dull at all. And I apologize for misleading you.

But does anyone else out there have mothers with ESP(N)? Well my dad has ESPN, but my mom has ESP and I swear she would have guessed we were having a baby LONG before the three months were up that Dan and I decided to wait to spread the news. I had to be misleading!

But finally, after three long months, I was able to call her very, very early on Friday morning to break the news she and Dad were going to be grandparents. The first thing she did was scream in excitement while simultaneously flinging the phone at my confused and sleepy dad, while she took a moment to hyperventilate.

Friday was the best day.

So if your mental math skills are sharp and functioning at a grade three level (don't worry, mine aren't) this means that I'm just over three months pregnant and the baby is due in September.

To say that 2012 is shaping up to be an amazing, life-changing year, would be an understatement. Sorry to get all sappy and cliche on you there. I promise to not pull that again. Until I do. But until then, I'm going to keep it light because I'm finding pregnancy to be weird and emotionally hilarious.

How about tomorrow I tell you all about the time I sobbed because I thought my hand looked fat?

Because yeah, this happens a lot now.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

International Women's Day

According to my Google home page, today is International Women's Day. To be honest, I didn't know this day even existed. And when I Googled it, I discovered it's been around since 1909. I was embarrassed to not have known this day existed, and over lunch Dan and I had a brief chat about its significance. Our conclusion, most humbly summed up, is it is about remembering there is a constant need to create and preserve equality between the sexes.

When I meet women who say they aren't feminists, I don't really know how to respond to that. Aren't you a woman? Don't you believe that there should be equality between the sexes? Because that's all being a feminist means. It means you believe men are as good as women, and women are as good as men. It means that you do not support ideas like, "Feminazis, stop your bitching. It's nobody's fault but yours if you can't do as well as a man. Take responsibility for your own life." I assure you that is a real quote by a male telemarketer who was angry because he makes less money in his job than all the women he works with, so by extension all women need to shut-up about how they earn less than men. I'm assuming this wordsmith was in fact born to a woman and isn't the product of some science experiment in failed humanity. Nice.

Because that's what Dan and I also talked about today. Do you have daughters? Do you have wives? Do you have girlfriends? Do you have friends who are girls? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you too should be a feminist. And I'm sorry, but I personally feel any other answer than 'yes' is a disgrace. Feminism is about equal opportunity. What the individual chooses to do with that opportunity is all on them.

What is ironic about Dan and I having this discussion over lunch is that later when I was on the bus, there was a crazy sitting behind me. A loud mouthed, foul opinioned, crazy who happened to be speaking English so I could fluently understand him.

When I got on the bus he was yelling, "STAY AWAY FROM ME. STAY AWAY FROM ME. STAY AWAY FROM ME."

Obviously I did.

Sitting three rows in front of him (please note no one would sit in a three row vicinity of him) I found out that what he was actually yelling about was back in his country he approached a woman who told him to, "STAY AWAY FROM ME. STAY AWAY FROM ME. I DON'T WANT YOUR BABY."

Then this crazy guy collapsed into giggles.

"What a stupid! What a stupid! She can't tell me what to do. I will give her a baby if I want. Then I will throw that baby away! What a stupid! STAY AWAY FROM ME. STAY AWAY FROM ME." Then he burst into hysterical laughing again before confirming again that no woman will tell him what to do.

Everyone on the bus looked irritated, and the teenage guys were laughing at him. I was enraged. It was etched on every line of my face. I spun around and shot fire out of my eyes at that man and I wanted to tell him to shut the fuck up before I kicked him in the teeth. However, I said nothing because his reaction could have been dangerous, and I didn't want to find out. But he saw me, and for three seconds he was quiet before laughing again. How DARE he think it was funny that a woman said 'no' to his sexual advances. How DARE he find it amusing. Because the attitude towards women that may or may not have been 'acceptable' in his home country is absolutely not acceptable here, but he will persist with his opinion of women. It doesn't matter where he lives.

***

Over a month ago I was at a Coop where a man slapped a woman cashier because she didn't understand what he wanted. He slapped her. The police were obviously called. Everyone was stunned.

***

Last year when I was in German classes I was partnered with a guy who told me, "I was smart for a girl."

In no particular terms I told him he wasn't that smart for saying such a stupid thing. He got up and left in anger because clearly hadn't I understood he was complimenting me? In his own misogynistic way. He would not work with me for the remainder of the course.

That's fine. I'd rather work alone than with the ignorant.

I had another guy in the course tell me that women shouldn't have jobs. They should only be in the house. I told him he better remember the phrase "happy wife, happy life" or he was basically fucked.


***

So though I have been shamefully unawares that there is an International Women's Day, the events of today, coupled with a handful of experiences from the last year, have prompted me to want to draw attention to it in a way that is bigger than a Google home page.

Because there should not be another person left on this earth, man or woman alike, who thinks women don't have the right to say no to sexual advances, that women can be slapped!, that women can be 'surprisingly' smart, and that women should not be allowed to work outside the home.

That is so far from okay, I can't even....;AKDHFH!!! It makes me furious with inarticulate rage.

I am a feminist and proud of it.

Are you?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Stars On Ice

I have said a few times on this here blog that Dan and I are terrible at planning our vacations. That we book our flight, sometimes our room, and *boom* that's it. Then we show up and figure out what to do and where to eat. Well, I need to rescind this comment because what this trip to Vienna proved is that Dan is not the terrible planner in this relationship.

No he is not.

It's me.

It's all me.

I'm the lazy one who always says, "Yeah, yeah. We'll figure it out later. Yeah, yeah, we'll worry about that when we get there." I thought Dan too was like this. But no, he is not. When left to his own devices, he is a master planner.

Dan started planning this getaway at the beginning of January, and he had our three days completely mapped out as to places we'd eat, sites we'd see, plays we'd watch, and piano bars we'd hang out in. There was no 't' left uncrossed nor 'i' undotted. He was all over this.

My favourite thing we did when there (that he'd obviously planned) was the morning we spent ice-skating in Vienna's parliament park. This park is in the shadow of the parliament building, and there is a large NHL sized rink directly at the base of the building, with skating trails branching off from this rink and winding throughout the park, some of which trails led to a second rink. I haven't skated in years and I've definitely never skated on ice trails that wind through a park; needless to say, I was excited!

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This picture has nothing to do with skating.
Just seeing if you're awake.

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Though I never got a photo of the large rink itself, you can sort of get an idea of the set-up of the rink's location in relation to the building.

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This was the very start of the skate trails.
Though admittedly, the ice looks like snow.
But it's ice!

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See! These people are skating.

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As were these people!

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This is the second rink located in the park, that one of the trails leads in to.
It was a lot smaller than the first rink.

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Here we are, skatin' it up.

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One of the more secluded trails had this beautiful view of the peaks of parliament.

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Here we are again.

I don't have the greatest photos of the trails, as my main concern when skating was trying to avoid the kamikaze school children who, about twenty minutes into our skate, poured onto the trails and managed to scare the bejeezus out of me as they would go flailing past me with a speed and confidence that suggested they were in control, but then they'd wipe out almost beneath my blades with reckless abandon only to hop up again and try to go even faster and crazier than before.

The obvious lack of a self-preservation gene in these 6 to 8 year olds was really alarming.

Another bonus to this morning of skating was that there were speakers strung up near the start of the trails and on the main rinks, blasting music to really get those kamikaze kids fired up. It also fired up one other person...

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The dancing cowboy!

The dancing cowboy was hanging out by the main rink, and he was putting on a show my friends. He was line dancing like we were in Texas and Tim McGraw was singing just for him.

Except, he was line dancing to Madonna.

And Adele.

And Rihanna.

But never-the-less, he went for it with gusto, only stopping every few minutes to yank up his pants so the school children wouldn't get anymore of show. By the end of our morning, he had some fans and he was teaching them his moves and taking pictures with them.
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Keepin' the fans happy.

I sat on the benches, sipping a hot chocolate (while Dan returned our rental skates) and watched this man tutor some teens in the fine art of step-right-one-two-three-four-step-left-five-six-seven-eight (didn't everyone learn line dancing in elementary school gym class?). I decided that this dancing cowboy has flare and I was glad I saw him perform.

And I'm glad I have a husband who rocks at planning, because if this trip was in my hands? We would not have skated, and we would not have seen the dancing cowboy.

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Good job, sweets!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Because Your Inner Tween Needs To Be Let Out

So here's the deal, I'm horribly behind in recapping Vienna. I just haven't been able to get to it, which is really lame because man, why don't I do that instead of watching television at night? Right?! Except, I haven't been watching television at night because at night is when I have to turn my attention to something else I've got on the go right now.

Did you know I went to bed at 8:30 last night but then I woke up at 2:30 a.m. so I decided to log on to my computer to get shit done? Instead of sleeping.

MY LIFE IS SO DULL RIGHT NOW.

I do have more to say about Vienna, and also about a little excursion I took last Saturday, but I'm just done this week.

And I don't know about you guys, but when I'm feeling as over-cooked as my first ever roast chicken (I accidentally cooked it with the bag of giblets inside, and as a result left that bird in the oven for over three hours because the red juices were freaking me out) I like to find the lightest most boppy tune that has ever been bopped to.

Then I bop around and let go of all my tension.

For real.

Here's my bopping tune this week. And just for fun, I'm going to show you the video of the song that features Justin Bieber and all his friends rocking out, too!



 All right, inner tweens get boppy!