Thursday, May 29, 2008 - 03:50 p.m.

So tomorrow we were supposed to go in for the big ultrasound. We were going to find out if everything was developing normally, and we were going to find out the sex. But today they called me to say their ultrasound machine is down and won't be back up until late tomorrow. And when I called to reschedule, they told me they can't fit me in until next Thursday.

To say that I'm disappointed would be the biggest understatement of the entire effing year.

Anyway, we took another belly photo the other day, and even I'm somewhat shocked at the difference three short weeks can make.

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Pictures from the Weekend
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 - 09:54 a.m.

Saturday, we went up to Knoxville to visit Todd's family. Todd ended up being sick for the entire weekend, but we still managed to have a pretty good time. It's funny, although I have family in Oak Ridge and Kingston, I don't remember ever visiting downtown Knoxville. We ate lunch on a yacht that took us up and down the river, then spent some time wandering around downtown and the old city before we went in to watch Indiana Jones (BTW, don't waste your time - it's awful...and boring). I really enjoyed the area, especially the square with all the shops and the little park. After the movie we ate dinner at Patrick Sullivan's, which is another neat old building. I had no idea Knoxville had personality.

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On cameras, dogs, and home improvement
Wednesday, May 21, 2008 - 02:20 p.m.

Our dark red, cave-like master bathroom of doom is no more. In its place we have an almost shockingly bright room, with light beige paint, a new maple vanity, new light fixture, and new faucets. We ended up reusing our old countertop and sinks, and we haven't done anything with the floor yet, but we'll tile that in early June (hopefully). There's still work to do, but it's finished enough to use again. Which is good, because Elizabeth and Josh are coming to stay with us all next week, and it would have been awkward to try to run four people through one bathroom in the mornings.

Of course, this success comes at a price, and for me, it's at the expense of my ability to stand upright. My SI joint issues seem to be getting worse as things go along, to the point where bending over to do anything, even routine household chores, is becoming very painful. I didn't think I'd done all that much to aggravate it on Saturday, and yet, the last two days have been Not Good. There's not much to do about it, except keep using ice packs and be careful of how I stand/sit/sleep. There's just a limit to what I can do, nothing will change that, and honestly, it's depressing. I mean, you tend to take emptying the dishwasher for granted, you know? But some days are good and some days are bad, and it'll all be over in October. I hope.

Moving on, Monday after work, I took a few minutes before dinner to continue my ongoing struggle with our Canon Powershot S2IS. And I came to an unhappy conclusion: I really dislike that camera.

I loved it in the beginning. It had great reviews, the price was reasonable, it sounded like everything I needed, I lusted after it so. But now that we have it, I'm learning more and more that it just can't do what I want. See, here's the deal: I know very little about photography. I'm only just beginning to grasp how to make things turn out the way I see them in my head, and part of the learning process is discovering the limits of a point and shoot digital camera.

For instance, I love photos with a nice, shallow depth of field, but that's nearly beyond a P&S due to the small size of the sensor. You can sometimes get a shallow DOF for portraits and the like, but it takes some work. That's something I'd have known if I knew what questions to ask back when we were looking at cameras. Also, the auto focus on the S2IS, well...it sucks big hairy donkey balls. My Olympus C750UZ (the Precious) has a very reliable auto focus, but this one? It simply WON'T WORK, no matter what setting I happen to be on. AF assist beam? Single-point? Continuous? It doesn't matter. Sometimes it just totally shits the bed and doesn't focus at all. I dream of RAW format, manual focus, and a wide range of aperture settings, people. But until we can hork up a couple thousand for a REAL camera (and the time to learn how to really use it), I continue to struggle with the S2IS. While weeping softly for all the lost photo opportunities.

Not to say I hate every picture I take with the thing. I'm learning how to make the best use of it, but sometimes that involves coercing the dogs into not trampling me for two freakin' seconds so I can use them for practice. This is usually a failure, but occasionally I get a picture that isn't of a great slurping tongue barreling towards me at light speed.

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Take your stereotype and...
Wednesday, May 21, 2008 - 10:31 a.m.

This might come as a suprise to, oh, a LOT of people, but Hillary Clinton doesn't speak for me. In fact, I find the idea that just because we both happen to have tits, we should automatically agree, to be insulting. The very definition of sexism is discrimination based on someone's plumbing. If I were to automatically support someone just because they happen to have a vagina too, that would pretty much undermine the whole concept of equality. So all these women's groups yakking about how "Hillary speaks for all women" can just cram it.

(Not that I really disagree often with Hillary, I just agree with Obama more. It also helps that his campaign isn't staffed by a bunch of drooling morons.)

I get that having a woman in the White House would be a great step towards closing the gender gap. But what's more important than any historic milestone is if a candidate can convince me they'll do the job the way I think they should. Hillary hasn't done that for me. End of story. And, personally, I think it's a much greater step for equality to judge a person based on their brain than on their bits, anyway.

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More random bits
Friday, May 16, 2008 - 05:04 p.m.

1) But I thought more guns = more safety! Apparently the Secret Service disagrees. I can't imagine why.

2) Hey, look, Huntsville was ranked one of the top 10 cities in which to live. I kind of wish we could keep it a secret, though. Growth is necessary and all, but I preferred Huntsville the size it was about five years ago.

3) Joe Biden calls bullshit on Bush. I call Godwin's Law.

4) I really really really want to get out and take some pictures, but it sounds like we're going to be working on the house ALL WEEKEND. We're finally painting our dark red bathroom (hallelujah!) and we can't decide if we want to go ahead and install our new vanity or not. That promises to be a lengthy project, especially since we'll need to purchase a new counter top, so we may postpone a bit longer. But if we don't mess with the vanity, then we'll be laying hardwood in the dining room and front entry. It's a lose-lose, people.

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Random Bits
Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 05:20 p.m.

1) There's a Fraggle movie coming out. No, really.

2) Battlestar Galactica is so completely, unbelievably terrible, it makes me want to stick a fork in my ear every time I watch an episode. And yet...I'm still recording it, and I'm still watching. I tell myself I can't stop because I so desperately want to see the Cylons win (well, I want to see all the human characters die - same thing, right?). But really, it's because the show has become such a total train wreck, I just can't look away. Every week, I think it can't possibly suck any harder. And then it does.

3) Today's my sixth anniversary with my company. Woah.

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I'm a lucky girl
Monday, May 12, 2008 - 04:23 p.m.

To celebrate our upcoming anniversary, Todd planned out a pretty awesome weekend. First, we went to see Iron Man, and if you haven't sen it yet, GO, because holy crap, it's a fun movie. We decided to go to the Monaco at Bridge Street for the first time, and I don't know that we'll ever go to another movie theater again, it was so nice.

After the movie, we drove downtown and checked into the Embassy Suites. I actually did some of the drilling for the hotel back when I was a geotech engineer, and seeing the final product was pretty neat. Then we got dolled up and went downstairs to spend a nice, relaxed evening working our way outside of a massive, wonderful dinner at Ruth's Chris. Delicious steaks? Check. Sides so tasty you want to roll in them? Check. A slab of chocolate mousse cheesecake the size of my head? CHECK. And the best part was, after dinner, all we had to do was stagger back upstairs. Which was good, because I couldn't for the life of me have fit in a car at that point.

After an interesting night of being awakened by tornado sirens and some pretty wicked storms (during which I was sure the cats and dogs were all going to die without us there to stuff them in the half bath), I finally made it the best part. My Mother's Growin' a Baby Day gift from Todd was a full day at Spa Botanica.

Now, I've never done the spa thing before, the last time I had a massage was YEARS ago, and I've had exactly ONE manicure IN MY LIFE, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Turns out, I should have expected nothing but bliss. The day started out with a massage, then a nice long soak in a pretty incredible bath, then a facial (during which I nearly fell asleep, it felt so nice), lunch and dessert from Ruth's Chris (again!), and finally a manicure and pedicure. By the time Todd returned to pick me up, I was on an entirely different plane of relaxation. I can totally see how that sort of thing can be addictive.

So, to sum it up: Todd, on his own initiative, without any comment or ideas from me, planned out an incredible weekend of fun and relaxation. Yeah, he's that awesome. And he's mine.


(On a side note, Todd got a neat Growin' a Baby Day reward of his own when he got to feel the baby kick for the first time. I never expected him to be able to feel anything this early, but apparently our offspring is going to be a hockey player like her dad. Also, ieeeeeee, it feels weird.)

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Belly Watch 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008 - 08:57 a.m.

We'd planned to do the week-by-week belly photo thing, but we're almost halfway through this deal and we've taken...uhm...two. Not that it really matters, because up until about two weeks ago, the photos would all have looked the same anyway. But now there's visible progress, so last night we finally took the second one. I initially had some serious qualms about posting photos of mai belly on teh intarwebs, but eh, what the hell.

At least it's in black and white, so you're spared full knowledge of just how terribly, terribly white I really am. Also, I chose those pants because I thought they might be able to make it through all 40 weeks, due to the elastic waistband. After last night, I'm entertaining some serious doubts. I might still be able to squeeze into the pants come September, but it's also entirely possible that the waistband could explode.

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Monday, May 5, 2008 - 12:03 p.m.

For the good of mankind, I am currently hiding in my office. I want to go throw away the remains of my lunch, but I can hear people talking outside the door. It's those coworkers - you know, the ones who, once they start talking, find it impossible to STFU. They're lurking just outside, and I know that if I leave the safety of this office, they will attempt to engage me in a pointless, mind-numbingly boring conversation on a topic about which I could not possibly care less, and today, I just can't take it. I am not in the mood for talking. In fact, I am in a foul mood, and my current attitude can best be described as poisonous. I'm honest enough to admit that it's just me being pissy, but that doesn't keep me from seriously wanting to boot someone in the face if they so much as blink once too often. So, as I said, I've locked myself in my office for the good of mankind, and I'm self-medicating. With SKITTLES.

(Hey, at least I know I'm batshit crazy, and I'm actively trying not to take it out on the innocent. If I were more like some other women I know, I would just be an unholy bitch and make everyone around me miserable, then blame it on hormones or something stupid like that. But that's a seriously cow thing to do, and I know it. Honestly, I think I deserve some sort of shiny medal for such admirable insight and restraint. Or a Hershey's dark chocolate bar cautiously prodded in my direction with a 10-foot pole. Whatever.)

On the upside, today I discovered this and this, both of which perform a valuable public service. Then I found this, and suddenly the sun seemed to shine a little brighter.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 02:08 p.m.

Today we had another OB appointment, just the routine once-a-month sort. As usual, everything looked great. Healthy baby, healthy me, everyone on track for, as my doctor puts it, an October 5th birthday party.

But even though this pregnancy has been routine, healthy, and about the lowest risk anyone could ask for, I have to admit I work myself into a frenzy of worry before every single appointment. Last time it took the nurse an eternity to find the heartbeat, and after the first few minutes, I'm pretty sure my heart stopped beating entirely. I thought I'd never be more relieved than when we saw that first ultrasound, but that day, when we finally heard the heartbeat, I reached a whole new plane. And today, when she found the heartbeat INSTANTLY, I was even more relieved than before. Against all logic, as things progress, the fear that somehow something is going to go wrong intensifies exponentially.

(My doctor assures me THIS NEVER STOPS. In fact, he says, it pretty much gets worse after birth.)

So, I've been out of town for training, and now that I'm back in Huntsville, I decided to sit down and go through some of the websites I read. They're all strangers, I don't know these people, but I follow their stories because some of them write well, some are just funny, and others I can identify with. And yesterday, one of the women posted about the 10-week miscarriage she found out about on Wednesday. She went in for a minor complaint and walked out with the knowledge that her baby died two weeks ago, only a few days after their perfectly normal ultrasound. She's living my worst fear, and my heart broke on her behalf, even while another part of me wanted to close the window and pretend I never read it.

I have only the faintest idea, the tiniest hint of what it would feel like to go in with all my worries, and leave with all of them confirmed. It makes me want to stop time, right now, when I know everything is going so well, so we never have to face that possibility. Every time we go in and I walk out of that office after hearing a strong, healthy heartbeat, I am entirely, achingly aware of just how blessed Todd and I really are. Even though I joke, and laugh, and make light of things, I take nothing about this for granted.

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