Friday, April 25, 2008

Out of Pocket

Why do maternity pants not have pockets? It's already odd enough that they don't have a zipper or snap or a waist, really. But why do they insist of putting fake pockets on the front? They give the illusion of pockets, with seams to seal up holes that don't exist. That seems to be an awful lot of work for very little return.

Don't pregnant women need to carry things, too?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thanks to the cereal, it's a boy!

Even though Keith and I don't want to find out the sex of the baby for sure, that doesn't stop us from constantly guessing what it might be.

We both suspect that it will be a boy, not for any specific reason. Strangely enough, we were surprised last week when we tried several of the old wives' tale methods of telling the sex (wedding ring on a string, etc.) and they indicated "girl" more often than "boy." Maybe we really do need to pick a girl's name.

However, my faith in our hunch was restored by an article my friend Amy sent to me today. According to a British study, a diet high in calories, and particularly one that includes cereal for breakfast, leads to a greater likelihood of having a baby boy. When I got pregnant, I was training for the half-marathon. So I was eating a LOT of calories. And I always eat cereal for breakfast. Always.

So maybe we'll paint the nursery blue after all. This seems like a pretty definitive study to me!

Also, because I haven't posted any yet, here's some belly pics. I can't believe how much bigger it's gotten in the past month. I can only imagine what the next picture will look like!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Perhaps I Should Define "Chopped"

Maybe "chopped" is too strong a word for my new hairstyle. Keith chastised me after my last blog entry, because he felt my choice of words was misleading.

It is true that my hair is now the shortest it's been in over ten years. But, to be fair, my hair is usually well past my shoulders. At times, it has stretched halfway down my back. So before when I've gotten it cut, I never really went higher than my shoulders.

Because, as those who know me can attest, my hair is really, really curly. I joke that, to grow my hair out an inch, I actually need to grow it three "straight" inches to account for how much it curls up. So I get really tentative about chopping off an inch or two of hair, because that represents a significant time investment. Plus, the less my hair weighs, the more it curls up.

So what if I expect it to end up at my shoulders, and it ends up at my ears? I honestly have no idea what my hair would look like really short. But I'm afraid of of looking like Little Orphan Annie, with tight ringlets all over my head. I already get accused of being younger than I am, and the last thing I want is to take another 5 years off my appearance.

But I did get it cut short—for me. I probably got at least 6 inches cut off. The picture above was taken last week, of me and my Mom in our fabulous purple outfits. So you can judge for yourself whether my hair is "chopped" or if it makes me look like a teen-aged mother.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rise and Shine

I really think Spring has arrived! The average temperature is rising, everything is in bloom, and there's people out EVERYWHERE. Working in their gardens, walking their dogs, running, etc.

Keith, Beckett, and I have also become a little less grudging about our morning walks than we have been through the cold, dark winter. For the past couple nights we've slept with the windows open, and we can hear birds chirping before we get up in the morning. By the time the alarm goes off, there is even the beginning of daylight starting to work its way past the dark curtains. When asked if he's ready to go outside, instead of playing dead under the covers, Beckett's hops off the bed, stretches, and heads downstairs. One of us follows closely behind—or sometimes not so closely, hitting snooze one more time if we got to bed too late the night before.

It was my turn to walk the dog this morning. We were out the door by 6:20, and already the world was awake and alight. I wore just cotton pants and a hooded sweatshirt. Really, I probably could have done without the hooded sweatshirt except for one thing: my hair.

A few weeks ago, I got my long, unruly hair chopped off. It's now the shortest it's been in the past 10 years, at least. I did it because I wanted a change, it was getting too heavy, and I just kept putting it back all the time. I fell into the classic trap of, "If I can't put it back, then I'll have to do SOMETHING with it, right?"

Overall, this has worked pretty well. I love the way it looks when it's down, and I do find something to do with it more often than not. But there's still a day or so each week when I'm running late and I would give anything to be able to slap it back into a ponytail without half of it escaping by the time I sit down at my desk.

Plus, another downside of short hair became apparent to me this morning on our walk. Now that it's actually light outside in the morning, people can see my bedhead. Bedhead that had previously been hidden by 1) the darkness, 2) a winter hat, and 3) pulled back and somewhat tamed. But now it's out there in the morning, for every innocent passerby to see.

I suppose, in theory, I could do something to my hair before Beckett and I walk. But that's like saying that world peace is possible. In theory.

So I either need to find some way to tame my hair in 2 seconds before I head out the door, or find a nice, summery hat.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Is It Really That Hard? IT Upgrades

We just recently had some changes done to our server at work. Primarily, our network drive got moved to a much bigger server, and therefore everyone in the office had to be re-mapped to the new server.

Except apparently that's not all that it was, because when the IT guy was done with my desktop it looked different. A lot of my preferences/display options had disappeared. How did that happen?

I would consider myself somewhere between computer literate and technology-disabled. Hopefully more toward the literate end of the scale. I mean, I have a blog, right? Surely that counts for something?

So I'd like to think that I'm at least somewhat savvy about computer upgrades and such. That it's not a complete mystery to me when IT appears and and does something on my computer. And yet ....

Here's what bothered me so much about this transition to the new server:

  1. My boss tried to tell them that it would NOT be a good time for us to have any downtime, and we would much prefer to wait until the end of the fiscal year (June). That was ignored.

  2. I was slated to be the first person mapped to the new network, because it's imperative that I have access to it. This just turned into me being the guinea pig, so I lost use of my computer AND the network for nearly a whole day while our IT guy found out everything that was wrong with the process while he was trying to get me set up.

  3. This process wasn't tested before it was inflicted upon me. Or rather, it sort of was ... at one point, our IT person called the campus help desk about an issue and I heard him say, "This didn't work last week when I tested it. I called and left you guys a message, but I never heard back ..." So in other words he'd started testing it, got far enough to know the process didn't work .... and then just did it anyway.

  4. Plus, there were all sort of smaller issues that were just seriously annoying to fix:
  5. An Internet Explorer shortcut showed up on my desktop. I NEVER use IE. And I HATE icons on my desktop.

  6. My quicklaunch toolbar, which (sadly) took me months and careful guidance from Keith to discover, yet only minutes to love, had disappeared.

  7. My Firefox plug-ins were gone.

  8. My outlook set-up preferences were gone (reading pane, don't categorize the inbox messages, etc.) As I said, not earth-shattering, but it still takes me a good deal of searching and trial-and-error to remember how to restore things.

  9. What was, to me, the most annoying thing of all, is that he took my left-handed mouse and switched it to right-handed. Physically he moved it to the right-side of the desk, and he also switched the buttons. I understand that many people are perplexed by the left-hand mouse, so that's fine.

    But he LEFT it that way. I just think that's rude, don't you?

I'm sure this is one of those perpetual problems. IT/help desks complain about inept users. And the users complain about IT taking too long to respond to complaints or resolve issues. All I know is, the LEAST he could have done is switch my mouse back to being left-handed.

he made my mouse right-handed and LEFT it there, with the buttons switched

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Penny for My Thoughts?

In general, I wouldn't call this blog "incendiary." "Meek" or "mild-mannered" might be more appropriate terms. I don't talk politics or religion or morals; I just talk about the minutiae of daily life. And yet ... some issues must be discussed, even if my readers might find them upsetting.

I think you all should know that I'm for abolishing the penny. There! I've admitted it. Sometimes, a person just has to take a stand. And I say, the penny has long outlived its usefulness.

Does anyone remember that episode of The West Wing where they discussed this issue? Some people wanted to do away with the penny, but then everyone in Illinois was going to be upset because Lincoln was getting the shaft, so the idea always stalled out. They quoted all sorts of statistics of how much money is being wasted in America every year because the handling of pennies in retail transactions is more expensive than the financial gain of receiving one cent in payment, if that makes sense.

I just wanted to go on the record and say, with the current state of the economy and quickly-rising prices, I think the penny is silly.

Although ... what would that do to gas prices? Maybe I need to reconsider my stance after all. So much for me being a hardliner!;)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Name Game

Alright, I think I'm getting to the point where I might be asking your opinions on names, because I really have found anything that absolutely grab me. I'm not against falling in love with one slowly, once we've really gotten to know each other. I think that's more my style, anyway; I'm not a love-at-first-sight type of person.

But anyway, I'm not ready for serious advice quite yet. I just had to share, though, a name that's popped up lately that I find quite amusing. Years ago, Keith and I sometimes played this computer trivia game at my parents' house called "You Don't Know Jack." * When we played together on a team, we made up a team name from both of our names; and thus, we became Keegan.

This past weekend, I saw the name "Keegan" not once, but TWICE on two different TV shows. Once as a man's first name, and once as a woman's surname. How crazy is that?!? I thought it was just a made-up name! My sister said I should consider using it. I do like the way it sounds, but I think I'd have a hard time explaining to little Keegan that she was named after our high score in a 1998 computer trivia game. Although there's worse inspirations for a name, right?

*A game which is, apparently, still around. Who knew?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Two Hearts that Beat as One

A week or so ago, I claimed that I was going to start running again, with the goal of maybe even running a 10k race in early May. I made it clear that finishing time was not a priority—I was just hoping to attempt to maintain a certain level of fitness. Sadly, this is not going to happen.

Last week I checked in with my OB-Gyn. He said I was definitely allowed to keep running; I would just have to keep my average heart rate in the 130s-140s. Now I could do intervals, and let my heart rate get up into the 150s, but then I'd need to really slow down and let it come back down to the 120s to maintain the right average. This, of course, is to keep my heart from working too hard and possibly diverting blood from the baby to other parts of my body. Obviously, this is an important and worthy goal, and I agreed immediately.

Here's the thing, though: That "exercise" heart rate range is REALLY low. I had no idea, because I've never tracked my heart rate before. But just running with a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) of easy effort sends my heart rate soaring into the upper 160s or low 170s. Definitely off-limits!

Again, because I've never measure my heart rate, I also hadn't realized that my resting heart rate during pregnancy can rise 10-20 beats per minute, just because of all the extra blood my heart is pumping. So the upper threshold is lower, and the lower threshold is higher ... leaving me with very little room to raise my heart rate at all without exceeding my doctor's recommendations.

I did try running once within the guidelines, but it just frustrated me more than anything. I could jog easily for maybe 2 minutes, and then I'd have to walk for 5 to get my heart rate back down. It didn't feel like much of a workout, and I got so irritated at how slowly I was going. If I had planned on a walk, it would have been fine. But I wanted to run!

So I think I'm going to have to scrap the running plans and focus on walking and Pilates. I know others may pursue more aggressive exercise plans, but I don't really think I'm comfortable going against the advice of my personal physician. But at least the dog will be happy, to get so many walks!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Little L: Month 6

Okay, I think I'm finally done talking about MY birthday, and am ready to focus again on the upcoming birth of my child.*

Earlier this week, I went to the doctor for my usual monthly check-up. It's funny because it actually has become much more routine, strange as that seems. Even though I'm getting closer to the due date and so much is happening, I feel less nervous now about the doctor visits.

I think it's partly due to the fact that, if I've made it this far and everything looks good, my chances of continuing to have a healthy pregnancy and birth rise dramatically. In contrast, every one of the appointments in the first trimester and beginning of the second trimester was nerve-wracking because I just felt like I had no idea what I might learn—good and bad. I think it's also different now that I can definitely feel the baby kicking, hiccuping, elbowing my bladder out of its way. I get constant feedback that the baby is there and having a great time, so I'm not as reliant on the doctor for reassurance.

So it was a pretty routine visit. I said I felt good, he said everything looks good, and I'll see him again in a month. I said, "Is there anything I should be on the look-out for in the next month?"

He said, "Not really! Just enjoy it because the second trimester is usually the most comfortable time for women."

And of course, that's when I realized that, at my next appointment, it will be the beginning of my third trimester. Third. As in LAST. As in, the baby could possibly be born at any time, and the nursery isn't painted, the crib is in bits and pieces, I've barely started knitting the baby blanket ... we still have no idea what girls' names we like!

So maybe next month the visits will start becoming more of an event, again, and less routine. As each visit means the Big Event is drawing that much closer.

* I took a break here for about 5 minutes of breathing into a paper bag.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

I hope you all are enjoying the 30th anniversary of the date of my birth. (Or I guess it would technically be the 29th anniversary celebration?!?) Here it is cold, but very sunny. So I'm happy for the sunshine!

I am at work today, since I have a hard time justifying taking a day off in the middle of the week. Especially after being home sick with a cold on Monday. But I can't say I'm getting much work done, or that I feel *too* guilty about my lack of productivity. I forget things, now that I'm older! And I'm slowing down, too.

Tonight I'm going to go home after work and do NOTHING. I'm going to try my hardest to resist the urge to wash dishes, or throw in a load of laundry. I'm going to lay on the couch with a good book in one hand and a champagne flute of sparkling fruit juice in the other. I will then cover myself in cat treats to make Gomez pay me some attention while Keith and Beckett are out for their walk.

Once Keith gets back, we're going out for dinner (Mexican) and a movie. I'm really looking forward to going on a date with him— we don't do it nearly often enough. I'm even a little giddy, trying to figure out what to wear!

After we get home from the movie, I will NOT check my email. I will still avoid the dirty dishes and piles of laundry. I will NOT do any work for our side business. I will relax, maybe knit a bit more of the baby blanket, and go to be a relaxed, refreshed 30-year-old.