Bad move, buddy
Thursday, March 20, 2008 - 03:29 p.m.

I just sauntered limped into the kitchen to prepare my usual 3:30 snack / second lunch, and you know what? Some ASSHAT stole my leftover pizza!

I ask you, what kind of an idiot steals a pregnant woman's food out of the work fridge? I'm pretty sure there's an official Surgeon General's warning about that sort of thing.

Now I'm pissed AND hungry. Anyone want to bet how well THAT goes over?

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Asking for advice
Thursday, March 20, 2008 - 09:56 a.m.

Okay, so aside from the usual morning sickness routine, over the last five weeks I have also found myself dealing with another pressing issue. I call it THE ASS-CRAMP FROM HELL.

It all started back on February 15th. I was walking around OfficeMax with my boss, looking for a new office chair, and all of a sudden, my entire left hip (and pretty much everything connected to it) was ON FIRE. My leg buckled and I might have uttered a few entirely inappropriate words while scrabbling at the nearest piece of furniture. After a few moments the pain subsided, but things haven't been right ever since.

I've had a constant dull ache way down in the back of my left hip that randomly flares up into excruciating pain. Exercise doesn't make it better or worse. Stretching doesn't make it better or worse. Sometimes walking feels good, sometimes my hip starts twinging right off the bat, sometimes my leg buckles for no reason. Often it flares up if I shift in bed, or change positions when sitting on the floor, or sometimes just because I had the temerity to breathe.

Most of the time, I'm fine walking around, but occasionally I end up limping, especially if I'm walking over uneven terrain. Sometimes I feel nothing until I try to get out of a chair. Sometimes it's not until I try to sit down. Often I notice it when I start to bend over to pick something up. I can't lift heavy objects without it twinging, and it really flares when I sneeze or cough. It's very random, but pretty much omnipresent to some degree.

I have a physical therapy appointment scheduled for April 1st, so I'm hoping to get some kind of answer or relief. But my question to any of you who have been pregnant before is, just what the HELL is going on? IS it because of the baby thing, or am I just broken? Did any of you have anything like this? If so, what helped? I'm desperate here, people.

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Nice Job
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 - 02:32 p.m.

Five years later, they may not have electricity for more than five hours a day or water fit to drink, they may not be able to get by without paying bribes to corrupt government officials, and they may be afraid to leave their homes, but hey, they're living FREE.

...In Kirkuk residents received an average of twelve hours of electricity per day. Residents in rural Hawijah, by contrast, received only four hours daily, according to the U.S. State Department. Baghdad received 9.2 hours in November 2007. Yet despite the record output, production capabilities are still hovering at around 50 percent of current demand, U.S. officials say.

...An Oxfam International report concluded upwards of 70 percent of the country did not have access to clean water in July 2007; 80 percent still lacked "effective sanitation."

...The State Department says data compiled by the Iraqi Ministry of Health show that over 50 percent of the country’s medical staff has fled Iraq in recent years. Oxfam International paints a dire picture. "Health services are generally in a catastrophic situation in the capital, in the main towns, and across the governorates," the July 2007 report notes. "Of the 180 hospitals countrywide, 90 percent lack key resources including basic medical and surgical supplies." Oxfam also found that nonprofits were increasingly taking the lead on "complex emergency surgery" and other procedures, once the exclusive provenance of Iraqi hospitals. The organization says as many as 43 percent of Iraqis suffer from "absolute poverty."

- Council on Foreign Relations, "Rebuilding Iraq", January 17, 2008

Yep, we definitely liberated the crap out of Iraq. No wonder they love us so.

On a related note, as a forecast for the way things seem to be going in Iraq, here's a little recent history lesson:

Hamas devotes much of its estimated $70-million annual budget to an extensive social services network. It funds schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues. "Approximately 90 percent of its work is in social, welfare, cultural, and educational activities," writes the Israeli scholar Reuven Paz. The Palestinian Authority often fails to provide such services; Hamas's efforts in this area — as well as a reputation for honesty, in contrast to the many Fatah officials accused of corruption — help to explain the broad popularity it summoned to defeat Fatah in the PA's recent elections.

- Council on Foreign Relations, "Hamas", June 8, 2007

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Where's the nearest bus station again?
Friday, March 14, 2008 - 04:40 p.m.

Right now Todd is sitting in an airport in Pennsylvania, waiting on the airline to take his plane for a quick test flight. They apparently had a maintenance issue they've just fixed, and they want to test it out first.


I don't know about you, but that would at the TOP of my list of things I don't want to know about the plane I'm about trust with my life.

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Friday, March 14, 2008 - 01:18 p.m.

Oh man, this week has been an adventure. Remember how, back on Monday, I said the nausea had subsided. HAR! Joke's on me!

It is, in fact, much much worse now, and has been since Tuesday. My shoulders and throat are aching from constantly locking up every time a particularly strong urge to hork rolls over me. My office trashcan is now located immediately beside my chair, just in case, and I've spent an inordinate amount of time face down in it. I can't even think about food, except for Saltines, although I'm hungry enough to eat a horse. If a horse sounded even remotely appetizing unnngh.

I don't know what I expected exactly out of pregnancy, but buddy, this ain't it. I never appreciated just how long a gap there is between that little blue line showing up and all those glowing, smiling women with their cute little round bellies. I never really thought about this part, where you feel like a hammered dog turd for a couple months, but you don't look any different. I don't feel pregnant, I feel like I've developed narcolepsy AND caught the stomach virus from hell.

So now I'm wondering just when all of this will start to seem real. I thought the ultrasound would do it, but even that feels like I was looking at someone else's video. It just doesn't seem possible that my body is currently producing an entire human being ON AUTOPILOT, and aside from the above-mentioned symptoms, everything else is business as usual. The bottom line is, my brain can't wrap itself around how ORDINARY this whole miraculous thing feels.

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Common sense
Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 01:06 p.m.

So yesterday was Not a Good Day, and I left work early to go home and try to sleep off the nausea, allergies, and pounding headache I woke up with that morning. I snuggled up on the sofa (with my trusty trash can at my side) and flipped on the TV for some nice background noise to fall asleep to. I was having trouble nodding off, so I eventually changed the channel to CSPAN, because what better to lull one into a coma? And there was Senator Chris Dodd in the middle of a speech about the sorry state of our nation's infrastructure.

I'm a civil engineer. Infrastructure is one of my pet peeves with this country. We'll spend $275 million a day on Iraq, and endless hours yakking about teh gays, what governor screwed which prostitute, and which candidate called who a worse name. But infrastructure? The stuff we rely on every single day for damn near EVERYTHING? That, no one seems to care about. And God forbid you try to spend money on it.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that there are actually members of Congress who Give a Shit. Even more, Chris Dodd and Chuck Hagel have actually been trying to Do Something about it. I had no idea!

I couldn't help it. I had to actually listen to his speech. And it was so nice, I just had to share.

"I believe this is an urgent priority for our nation for two fundamental reasons.

First, because the safety and health of all Americans is directly and adversely affected by the deterioration of our roads, bridges, mass transit, drinking water, wastewater removal, and other vital components of our national structure.

...The second reason why renewing our nation's infrastructure is of utmost importance is that our national prosperity is at stake. From the days of the Roman aqueducts to the present, a nation's ability to grow and prosper has always relied upon its ability to effectively move people, goods, and information.

...When 33 percent of all urban and rural roads are in poor, mediocre, or fair condition, we can do better. When the United States invests less than two percent of its Gross Domestic Product on infrastructure while countries like China and India invest between seven and twelve percent, we can do better.

...Let us be clear: the cost of meeting this challenge will be great. But the cost of failing to meet it will be even greater."

Senator Chris Dodd - March 12, 2008

Man, I was thrilled to hear that. Now if he'd only included the words, "you morons" in there, I'd have probably cheered.

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On food and the consumption thereof
Monday, March 10, 2008 - 05:04 p.m.

Starting right smack on February 8th, I made my acquaintance with "morning" sickness. I spent every day thereafter in a state of constant nausea for which the only cure was an UNGODLY amount of cheddar cheese and saltines. Later on, I made the helpful discovery that even though I might be craving soft-boiled eggs, they were pretty much the dietary equivalent of jamming a couple fingers down my throat. We're talking INSTANT TURBO HURLING. It was...shocking.

Fortunately, over the last week or so, the nausea has subsided somewhat. I'm nearly functional at work, I can almost choke down a normal breakfast, and my lust for cheese has finally been sated (although my arteries may never recover). But now I'm dealing with horribly specific cravings coupled with near-constant hunger. I'll be completely nauseously hungry, and everything I think about eating makes me feel sicker until all of a sudden, my mental catalogue of All That is Edible on the Planet flips to The Perfect Food. And once I've decided on The Perfect Food, I feel as if I will DIE IMMEDIATELY if it is not found and forced into my gaping maw.

I've also developed a sad and troubling aversion to most sweets, especially chocolate brownies. Even ice cream, the pregnant woman's staple, is off the list. (Fortunately, it appears that my love for Samoas remains unaltered.)

When it comes to food, I am clearly NOT the entity in charge at the moment, and it's kind of driving me crazy. I can barely plan meals, because I have no idea what will or won't sound good at any given moment. I'm frustrated because although I've been doing okay so far, I still want to eat healthier, but it's a serious fight (often with terrible terrible consequences) to choke down something that doesn't sound good. I'm afraid of eating out (partly because nothing greasy or buttery can be tolerated and partly because there's still that disturbing tendency to hurl without warning), but at the same time, cooking is Not Fun. Grocery shopping has become pure torture. And still, nearly every waking moment is given over to thinking about what I'm going to eat next. Well, that, and generally freaking out over the whole "holy crap, I'm having a baby" thing.

I know millions upon millions upon millions of women before me have lived through this stage, and I know it's all for a good cause, but for the love of God, is this REALLY the most efficient way to grow a human being? Because right now, I'm pretty sure my child's skull will be formed entirely from cheese.

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It's official
Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 05:21 p.m.

Sometime around October 5th, my spawn will enter this world. Alert the Four Horsemen!

(Please note that the label does, in fact, say baby and not doom of all mankind. that something an ultrasound would reveal?)

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So helpful
Monday, March 3, 2008 - 03:57 p.m.

"Forgetting something?"

I spent all of last week in Tennessee attending a class on traffic noise modeling, basically for the purpose of checking to make sure that I did the modeling correctly back during the brain-eating project in January. I'm actually glad I went, but only because I'm pretty sure that given how completely broken the FHWA modeling program is, I'd never have figured out the design sections on my own. So, my time wasn't wasted. Hooray!

But before I left, Nala had to help me pack. And by help, I mean, "distribute as much cat hair as possible, so that when mom gets to the hotel and opens her suitcase, a cloud of fur flies out and settles on every nearby surface, so it'll be just like home."

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