the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The World Is Full of Surprises

wow. this has been a very surprising weekend, hockey-wise. first, the ice pilots really made a game of it against the league-leading texas wildcatters friday night (though the 4-1 loss wouldn't suggest that), managed to pull out an overtime win against florida last night in a very exciting game, and lost by just one goal tonight, taking a really crappy game after two periods and making it exciting in the end. overall, this weekend was the best i've seen them play all year (we missed their most phenomenal game of the season wednesday night against mississippi)... and this crappy team has won 3 of their last 5 games. impressive for them. and i'm really digging the new guy, jason bloomingburg. and the not-so-new-anymore guy, bryan esner. i was really stoked when we got him from south carolina, and that trade seems to be paying off. both of these guys are very small in stature (don't let that 5' 11" claim by bloomingburg fool you - he might be 5' 8"... but boy did he kick dan collins's much larger ass in their fight tonight), but they have really great energy.

so after spending much of the weekend in pensacola, i came home tonight to this headline on at&t's hockey page. i never thought i would see 'hatcher leads flyers past' anyone. he is SO NOT a scorer (as his diminutive 80 goals in 1,022 career games will attest)... and he's not that awesome a defenseman, either, if you ask me. but i am quite glad that the flyers pulled out the win over florida. i am also happy to see antero niittymaki finally getting some love - and that he posted a shutout. he should really get more playing time than he does, even if martin biron has established himself as the no. 1 goalie in philadelphia.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Photos

the christmas tree with all the gifts at my aunt jo's house

chad and i are chillin' on the couch before the gift-opening madness begins

my little sis opening her big, huge present...

a sparkly pink electric guitar!

sammi's dog tinkerbell likes to snuggle up with mom

unfortunately, i don't have any cute baby pics, since dylan didn't arrive until after 9:00 p.m. on christmas day, after chad and i had gone home (we had to work, yo). :(

but just you wait. next year, there will be ALL KINDS of cute baby pics. damien will have dylan christmas morning (he'll be 3 by then, so not exactly a baby, but he'll still be adorable), plus we'll have max (hopefully, we'll have max really soon 'cause i'm REALLY tired of being pregnant)! yay babies!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Craft-y Books

i have had this book for a while now, but i just now felt the need to express to the internet how much i love it - mostly because i haven't had a whole lot of time lately to do anything crafty. it has great illustrated instructions for different knitting techniques, and the patterns included in it are really cute. i am currently working on the crib blanket from this book, and i think it's going to turn out really well. there's also a pattern for a really cute wrap cardigan that i want to try (whenever i get a chance).

winter always makes me want to knit up a storm, and i am also in the process of teaching myself to crochet using this book. i find knitting much easier, but i plan to continue with the crochet thing as well. so far, the only thing i've managed to crochet is a sock for my camera. it turned out pretty well. maybe someday soon i'll master something other than single chain crochet (which i really still haven't mastered). hopefully, this book (which i have ordered from amazon but haven't yet received) will help with that. i've heard good things about it.

another book that i've been wanting for a long time but just now bought is one skein wonders. i have a ton of leftover balls of yarn from other projects, and i'm lacking ideas for how to use them. you can only make so many scarves, you know?

on a different note, i do plan to post a few christmas photos, but my phone line is being bitchy today, and i'll have to wait until my connection is more reliable to upload photos. for some reason, we are only getting a dial tone intermittently, and that is screwing with my dsl something fierce. so not only is my dsl not working right half the time, but i can't even use the back-up dial-up service. i have put in a call to at&t, and hopefully they will resolve the issue soon.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bizarre Dreams

i know they say that when you're pregnant you tend to have some bizarre dreams, but this is ridiculous. i'm pretty sure that pregnancy-induced dreams are supposed to be about the baby or childbirth. true, i have had some baby-related dreams, but they've all been normal - about what life will be like once the baby arrives. i've had no weird 'i'm going to give birth to a monster' dreams.

over the past couple of nights i've been having really strange dreams that have absolutely nothing to do with babies. the night before last i dreamed that chad was friends with tom brady and i was trying to get him to go on a date with vanessa on her birthday. that totally came out of the blue. vanessa's birthday is coming up pretty soon, and she is a fan of tom brady, but still. i have no idea where that came from.

then last night i dreamed that i was a gummi bear caught in a tale of espionage while the theme song from the disney cartoon played on a loop in my head. i don't remember the details, but there was definitely a scene in the dream in which i downed some gummiberry juice and barely escaped death by some weird plunger-like bomb by bouncing the hell out of there. i can't even tell you how long it's been since i've even thought about that show, which i did watch pretty fanatically when i was a kid.

bizarre, i say. bizarre.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Getting in the Mood...

for christmas! last night i decided to bake and decorate sugar cookies while i watched the holiday again (gotta love those post-thanksgiving $3.98 dvd's). this weekend i'm going to try a gingerbread cookie recipe that katy gave me... and probably also make more sugar cookies to take over to the 'rents when we head over there for the standard christmas festivities.

after baking up a storm, i decided to take a photo of our wee tiny christmas tree with all the gifts under it. actually, a couple of gifts aren't there anymore, and one hasn't made its way under the tree yet, but you get the idea.

some gifts have already made their way to their recipients. vanessa, deva, chad, and i had dinner at outback sunday night and exchanged christmas gifts there since we won't see each other again until after the holiday (well, we won't see deva or vanessa until after christmas - chad and i see each other all the time since we're, you know, married and all). here's what i scored:

from deva

from vanessa

from chad.

this was not a gift i received at outback (we bought it at wal-mart earlier that day), and it was not a surprise, but it is what i wanted for christmas - a coffee pot that i cannot shatter into a thousand pieces while i am washing it in the kitchen sink. i think that makes it worth the $60.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Have I Mentioned Lately...

that i am SO OVER this whole being pregnant thing? because i am. i have gained a whopping 26 pounds so far, with most of those being concentrated in my middle. and it SUCKS. all the baby books have been talking about swelling and ways to deal with or avoid it for the past couple of months, and i've pretty much been like, "what are they talking about? my ankles are fine." but for the past couple of weeks? my feet and ankles look like freakin' balloons at the end of the day. not to mention the back strain that all that extra weight on the front causes. and bending over? not gonna happen. when i try it feels like all my guts are getting squeezed up where my lungs are supposed to be. and the baby is now big enough to simultaneously press against my hip bone and my rib cage when he feels like it. which is weird. but it's pretty cool (and reassuring) when he moves around in there.

my last doctor's appointment was friday morning, and my blood pressure was high again (156/80), but nothing else looks weird, so dr. g. has still pretty much concluded that as long as i don't have any other symptoms, my wacky bp isn't a big deal. my next appointment is new year's eve. we'll get another ultrasound then to get an idea of how big the baby is. the baby books say he should be between 5 and 5.5 pounds right now (and that in two more weeks he should weigh 6 - 6.5 pounds), but he's been a little smaller than the books' estimates every time they've measured him so far. we shall see, i guess. after new year's eve, i'll being seeing dr. g. every week until max is (finally) born. while i am a bit nervous about the actual labor and delivery part of this, i am looking forward to the moment all that is over, my body is once again my own, i can bend over comfortably, and we have a baby to show off.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Another Hurdle Jumped

so the last big obstacle to getting my ph.d. is officially behind me (well, aside from actually writing and defending my dissertation). today i took the oral portion of my comprehensive exams, and i must say, it could have been far more traumatic than it actually was. i will admit that i did not know everything my committee members asked me (but who really gives a damn about plant signaling pathways that you don't actually work on, anyway?), but overall it went pretty well. and at the end they pretty much sang my praises and told me i could pretty much start writing my dissertation because they're pretty darned pleased with my progress thus far. i still have a fair bit of chemical/data analysis to do before i'll really be ready to get down to business with the dissertation writing, but it's good to know that my committee is ready and willing to see this thing finished and hand me my doctorate.

now to plow through that freezer full of samples...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

What the Hell Am I Going to Do With All This CRAP?

in my mind, i have reconciled the fact that at times i can be an unreasonable heinous bitch. although i have not outwardly expressed these feelings, i am feeling like one right about now. i just sometimes get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of STUFF that makes its way unbidden into my house. the intentions are good. i know that. which is why i feel like an unappreciative and horrible person. but my house is cluttered enough as it is with things that i actually need so that the mountains of extraneous crap that is absolutely non-functional make me crazy. but some people are compulsive shoppers, and they don't consider whether the person they're buying random crap (that will most likely never get used) for has either the space or the use for it. it is how some people show affection, buying things. but it is very hard for me to appreciate this fact when the THINGS in question have no purpose and come in jumbo-sized shopping bags full of small items and 30-gallon totes.

i enjoy a stuffed animal every now and then. but i do not require twelve of them at a time. that sort of makes it impossible to appreciate their individual cuteness. one would suffice, i promise. particularly considering that i just received four of them not three weeks ago. i don't even know what else is lurking in all those bags and boxes.

how exactly do you make someone understand that you love them and you know they love you so it is unnecessary to dump loads of random stuff on you at every visit - tactfully? is that even possible? can you simultaneously express love and affection and reject gifts that you neither need nor want? or do you just sit back and say nothing? believe me, over the years, plenty of unwanted junk has made its way to the local goodwill or been sold one way or another, but the current influx has reached titanic proportions that i lack the ability to deal with. is it feasible to reduce the number and increase the quality of gifts that people insist on buying for no discernible occasion? i mean, i like gifts as much as the next person, but one or two items are much more appreciated than fifteen or twenty.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Baby Items Inventory

well, i said i'd make a list, and here's what we've got so far. i'll keep updating this as we get new items, so i'll post a direct link to this on the sidebar and change the title to include the date of the latest update.

- we're pretty much set
Crib mattress
Rocker w/ ottoman
Changing table w/ pad
Side table

Nursery Decor/Accessories
- we're pretty much set
Musical crib mobile
Small plastic storage baskets (3)
Medium wicker storage basket
Large plastic toy storage tote
Laundry basket
Diaper champ disposal system
Floor lamp
Wooden tree w/ monkey wall hanging
Wooden letters – MAX
Diaper stacker/organizer (white)
Crib bumper pad
Waterproof crib pad
Crib sheets – 5
Dust ruffle
Sleep positioner
Comforter/wall hanging
Quilts – 3
Fleece blankets – 4

Baby gear
- we're pretty much set
Diaper bags – 2
Bottle cooler w/ ice packs
Winnie the Pooh suitcase
Play yard (Evenflo Baby Suite in Zoo Friends)
Play yard sheets - 2
Swing (Fisher-Price Rainforest Open-Top Cradle Swing)
Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker & Bouncer, Barnyard Friends
High chair (Evenflo Expressions Zoo Friends)
Stroller (Evenflo Journey Premier travel system in Zoo Friends)
Infant car seat (Evenflo Embrace)
Cosco Scenera infant to toddler convertible car seat
Sling carrier
Baby monitor

- could use some more/different bath toys and a bathwater thermometer/ hot water indicator
Hooded towels – 9
Washcloths – 25-30
Infant bathtub/ toddler tub seat
Rubber ducks - 3

- bottle warmer might be nice (but not necessary)
Playtex drop-ins nursing system – two 4 oz., three 8 oz. bottles w/ nipples and caps; box of 4 oz. liners
Breastflow bottles – two 5 oz., two 9 oz. w/ nipples and storage caps
One Avent 4 oz. bottle
Bottle/nipple brush
Medela Harmony manual breast pump
Playtex breast milk storage system
Lasinoh breast milk storage bags (box of 50)
Bottle and nipple drying rack
Clear plastic bin for storing sterilized feeding accessories
Bibs – 20
Burp cloths – 4
Cloth diapers – 12
Nursing pillow


Baby memory book
Baby’s 1st year calendar
Baby’s 1st piggy bank set
Baby hand/footprint kit
Precious moments keepsake box
Care bears pillow
Picture frames - 3


Pacifiers – 5
Pacifier attachers – 3
Pacifier cases – 2
Ocean wonders portable mobile
Teethers – 3
Rattles – 3
Stuffed toys – 10 (1 large monkey, 1 small monkey, 6 small bears, 1 large noise-making lion, Winnie the Pooh)
Ocean wonders aquarium gym/play mat
Baby’s 1st Laptop
Puppy Puppet
Leapfrog Colors and Tunes Octopus
Vtech move and crawl ball

- would like more
Winnie the Pooh – Stripes
Sassy Baby’s 1st Books set
Animal Babies in Deserts
Seek and Slide Shapes
Baby Einstein Numbers!
Sweet Dreams (soft bedtime book)
Scooby Doo and the Mystery of the Sticky Money (w/ audio tape)


Newborn/ 0-3 months - no need for more of this size clothing

Onesies –6 short-sleeve, 2 long-sleeve
Side-snap t-shirts - 3
Pants – 4 pair sweatpants, 1 pair blue corduroy
Pants outfits (w/ top and maybe hat/booties) - 3
Footed sleepers – 17
Shortalls - 2
Infant gowns – 4
Hats/caps – 7
No-scratch mittens – 6 pair
Socks (0-6 mos.) – 16 pair
Booties (0-6 mos.) – 3 pair
Shoes (0-6 mos.) – 1 pair

3-6 months - no need for more of this size clothing

Light jacket
Sun hat
Heavy jacket
Onesies – 8 short-sleeve, 1 long-sleeve
Jeans – 2 pair
Pants – 5 pair
Shorts outfits (w/ matching top) – 3
Pants outfits (w/ top and maybe jacket) – 3 short-sleeve, 2 long-sleeve
Footed sleepers – 8
Infant gowns/sleepers - 1
T-shirts – 5
Short overalls – 1
Shortalls – 4
Socks (0-6 mos.) – 16 pair
Booties (0-6 mos.) – 3 pair
Shoes (0-6 mos.) – 1 pair

6-9 months - no need for more of this size clothing

Light jacket/hoodie
Footed sleepers - 6
Onesies – 12 short-sleeve, 0 long-sleeve
T-shirts - 4
Pants outfits (w/ top) – 3
Shorts outfits (w/ top) – 1
Short overalls - 1
Shorts – 2 pair
Pants – 4 pair
Socks - 12 pair

9-12 months

Onesies – 8 short-sleeve
Pants/shorts outfits (w/ pants, shorts, and top) – 2
Sweatsuit (w/ pants and jacket) - 1
Shorts - 2 pair
Jeans -0 pair need this
Polo shirts - 1
T-shirts - 1
Socks - 12 pair

12-18 months

T-shirts - 3 short-sleeve need more shirts
Onesies - 1 short-sleeve
Pants outfits - 0 short-sleeve need this
Shorts - 1 pair
Jeans - 0 pair need this
Socks – 6 pair

18-24 months -
need pants, shirts
Onesies - 2 short-sleeve
Pants/shorts outfits - 1
Socks - 6 pair

- need baby-proofing items (outlet covers, cabinet and drawer locks, etc.)
Receiving blankets – 8
Changing pad covers – 2
Diapers – 1 pack newborn Huggies, 2 packs size 1 diapers (Huggies and Pampers)
Wipes – 1 tub w/ 5-pack of refills, 2 travel packs
Diaper rash prevention – 3 tubes rash ointment, one tube petroleum jelly
Hand sanitizer – 2 large bottles for nursery use, two small bottles for diaper bags
Diaper disposal bags – 2 boxes (50 each)
Baby shampoo
Baby body wash
Mylicon gas drops
Infant Tylenol
Infant Motrin
Johnson's Vapor Bath
Medicine dispensers – syringe and spoon
Nail clippers
Emery boards - 12
Nasal aspirator - 2
Digital ear thermometer
Hair brush
Rounded-tip scissors
Bathroom space saver

Baby Inventory?

thanks to holly, who did something similar on her baby blog, i'm thinking of making a baby inventory list here on my own blog. this probably would have been most helpful a few weeks ago before my baby shower (and my mini baby shower, or baby shower part deux, which is happening later today), but if nothing else it should help me keep track of things we have. i'm pretty sure there isn't a whole heck of a lot that we still need, but i'm sure there are things that would be nice to have. so later today i may take stock of all the baby things we currently have and start a post dedicated to that.

as i mentioned, i will be having baby shower part deux today. i'm excited about it. since there were a few people who couldn't make it to the big baby shower a couple of weeks ago, they decided they wanted to throw me a sort of mini shower today. so we're planning on having dinner at chili's and getting more baby stuff. yay! and this time chad has to go, since both kelly and carly are bringing their significant others. i think he's ok with it since it's pretty much just dinner at chili's with some baby gifts thrown in. but it is very sweet of kelly, carly, and ali to do this for us. riiikka will also be there to join in the fun even though she was at the first baby shower as well. the more the merrier, i guess. plus, she's never been to chili's, so i'm contributing to her quest to experience as many american restaurants as possible while she's here (riikka is a student from finland who is getting her masters degree here, so she'll be in the states for about two years).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kind of Over This Whole Pregnancy Thing

so today was a pretty laid-back day for me. i had a doctor's appointment this morning, and i was planning to work at DISL for a few hours afterwards, but i didn't get out of there until almost 12:30, so i didn't think it was worth the drive down to the island. what did i do instead? i shopped.

actually, i went shopping at target this morning, too. i bought a bunch of baby stuff, and some other random things. then i went to the doctor, and my blood pressure is pretty much just nuts. it's all over the place. today it was 128/92. so my systolic pressure is pretty much fine but now the diastolic pressure is high. geez. but all else still appears ok, so dr. g. isn't too worried about it. i have, however, gained a LOT of weight over the past 2.5 weeks. i knew that before i went and got weighed. i could feel it. i have gained 6 pounds since my last appointment. wow. that puts my total weight gain so far at 21 lbs, which is still at the low end of what all the baby books say i should have gained by now (your pregnancy week by week says that my total weight gain so far should be 21-27 lbs. - i've been running a bit lower than their recommended weight gain, so i guess i just caught up).

with an extra 21 lbs. riding on a short girl (and with additional pounds accumulating every day), i am really starting to feel... uncomfortable. all the extra weight right in front is making my back hurt, and those extra pounds are just making life difficult in general. so i'm pretty much over this whole pregnancy thing. i'm ready for the bundle of pooping, screaming joy that is the end point of all this.

anyway, after my doctor's appointment, i ate some lunch and hit up babies r us for some of those not-necessities i mentioned a few days ago. this time, they had all the letters in 'max' (the first time i looked, there was no x, and katy said when she looked there was no m), and they were far less expensive than the $7.99 letters they had before. these were only $4.99. yay! i also bought a few items of clearance baby clothing. i really enjoy baby shopping. i think chad kind of hates it. but i really love it. if we didn't already have pretty much everything we need, i could spend SO much money. but i'm exercising some restraint (mostly because i realize that if go too crazy with the buying, we'll have no place to put anything).

once i got home i went ahead and packed my bag for the hospital and a bag for the baby. not because i think i'll need them any time soon (my due date is still 10 weeks away), but it's always a good idea to be prepared. and i'm pretty sure i got an email from that said something about packing a bag a few weeks ago. so this time i won't have to call chad and tell him everything i need and where it is... and then have to call him back 5 minutes later because i forgot about something (which is what went down when i got stuck in the hospital a few weeks ago). now he just has to grab the bag.

tomorrow, i'm off to my mom's house to celebrate her birthday and my sister's. it should be fun... and there will be cake. and presents, though not for me. i really enjoy giving presents, though. i'm excited about what i got for them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

29 Weeks Photos +

it's been about a month since i last posted any pregnancy photos, so here are a couple of shots of me at 29 1/2 weeks (that's about a week shy of 7 months). i've been wearing the same t-shirt (i have two of the same shirt in different colors) so the photos will be comparable.

in other news, deva and vanessa hosted a lovely baby shower for me on saturday, and we got TONS of great baby gifts (now i have to get copies of all the pictures from nessa). we're pretty much all set except for a few small necessities (diapers, wipes, baby powder, etc.) and a few small things that are unnecessary but that i just want (and currently have cash and gift cards for), such as a bottle drying rack, some nursery storage baskets, big wooden letters to spell MAX on on the nursery wall, etc.

after the shower, chad and his dad moved the bed out of the former guest room (now the nursery, yay!) and into the office (which is now our guest room/office/media room), which required the rearrangement of lots of furniture. then they put the crib together. yesterday i picked up the crib bedding set that i'd ordered and got that all set up (including a cute musical mobile with jungle animals). i also sorted through the millions of baby outfits that we got at the shower and came to the conclusion that we do not need anything (and by that i mean we need NOTHING) in the newborn, 0-3 month, or 3-6 month sizes. so if anyone out there has the urge to buy us baby clothes, keep it in the 9 month size and larger (we really need the larger stuff, or one day we'll realize that max can no longer wear anything we own and he'll have to go naked). oh, and don't buy warm clothes in the 6-9 month size, because that falls in the range of june to september, and it is HOT here in the summer, guys! so 6-9 month baby clothes should have short sleeves. if by some freak chance it turns a little cool then, i have one little hoodie that should do.

chad's parents generously told us to go out yesterday and buy the other couple of big ticket items on the registry (swing and high chair) and put it on their credit card (they put chad on their visa account when he was in high school, and he still has a card). so we did. we also took back a couple of things that we got two of at the shower and traded them in for a play yard, and we also bought a second car seat for chad's truck and a few general baby care items (medicine dispensers, thermometer, brush, baby nail clippers, etc. - it was all in a convenient kit), along with more baby socks (i just know that we'll end up losing a bunch of those) and a pack of cloth diapers to use as burp cloths and for general baby clean-up.

after all this gift-receiving and furniture rearranging, our house is once again a huge disaster area (it was absolutely spotless for about 6 hours on saturday, after we cleaned so our parents won't know we live like slobs and before we brought in tons of other stuff and started moving things around), so i'll post pictures of the nursery once the furniture in there is arranged to my satisfaction and it is free of empty boxes and plastic wrappings.

to conclude this post, i'd like to send out a general thank you to everyone who gave us baby gifts, as chad and i have had to spend very little money on baby things (and the money we have spent, we probably didn't have to, i just felt guilty about letting other people - read: our parents - buy everything. that same guilt led to me to buy a less expensive [but still high quality] high chair than the one we registered for - if it had been my money i would not have bought the one on the registry, either, though it is very cute).

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sugar is Good for My Blood Pressure, Yo

so here is what i have done today (because i know you just can't live without knowing). first, i got up and took a shower and did not eat breakfast. boo. that makes me cranky. but i was not allowed because of the glucose tolerance test i had to do today. then i worked on the powerpoint presentation that was my last written comps task. then i drank the surprisingly tolerable supersweet-sunkist-esque glucose drink and worked on the powerpoint some more (even though i was feeling a tiny bit queasy and head-achy from a combination of the supersweet glucose drink and the not eating anything since last night). then chad drove me to my doctor's appointment (because he's good like that) where they drew some blood (to test my glucose tolerance, you know), and then we went to my doctor's waiting area and well, we waited. and then the nurse called me in to check my weight and blood pressure. i've gained two pounds since last time, so no worries about not gaining weight like last time, and my blood pressure didn't entirely suck! woo hoo! it was only 136/72, which is still a lot higher than normal for me, but it's a far cry from the hypertensive madness it has been for a while. so i was pretty psyched. and the nurse who took my bp was like, "i guess all that sugar did you some good."

then we waited some more, but this time we did it in an exam room. then dr. g. came in and measured me and we listened to the baby's heartbeat and had a nice chat. she asked how much i weighed when i was born, and i told her (6 lbs, 8 ounces), and she said that's the best indicator of how big my baby will be when he is born. and then we talked about signing up for the various pre-baby classes offered by the hospital. surprisingly, i think chad really wants to take a couple of those. i think he's a bit freaked out about taking care of a baby with ZERO baby experience (which is his own fault - he's been around dylan before but never really took to the whole playing with the baby thing). so anyway, now i'm looking into the various baby prep classes. i'm leaning toward not taking a traditional childbirth preparation class because i think that it will freak me out instead of easing my mind. i REALLY do NOT want to see videos of actual births. i don't mind a little mystery. plus, i'm pretty sure they'll tell me what to do when the time comes, and i'm fine with that. we might take the newborn care class (mostly for chad - i'm pretty confident in my ability to take care of a baby) and the infant cpr class (again, for chad, since i'm already certified). dr. g. told us today that those classes are not really necessary, especially if you've had some baby experience. but like i said, i think chad really wants to take a couple.

so after the doctor (at which point i was pretty much starving), chad and i went for lunch at fazoli's and then went to target and bought zach's wedding present (our friend zach is getting married on saturday, did i forget to mention?). then we came home and i finally finished the powerpoint. which means that after a three day ordeal i am finally finished with my written comps! once again, woo hoo! i just hope i did ok and they don't kick me out of grad school. i wasn't really sure how to take it on monday when i got the questions from dr. v. and when i told him i was really nervous his reply was, "i don't know whether to be nervous for you." i think he said that because two of my committee members asked a bunch of questions about phenolic metabolism and plant signaling (which is heavily biochemistry-based) and seagrass internal anatomy (which i know pretty much nothing about - good thing that was open book), and we are heavily ecology-focused sorts of people (i.e., the big picture without all that pesky small-scale physiology).

now we have to figure out when i am going to do the oral component of my comps. hopefully, that won't be as traumatic as the written exam. and you know, hopefully i'll pass.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Props to Me

i found out a few days ago that my research has earned a spot in the new marine biology textbook. they don't do in-text citations, so my name isn't in it, but i know it's my work, and i'm sure that i'm listed in the bibliography (though i haven't actually seen the book, since it doesn't officially get released until next month - anne got a preview copy and told me about it).

so yeah, i'm awesome, and now marine biology students the world over will know it.

Hyperventilating a Little

oh geez - comps are right around the corner, guys. like, monday and tuesday. i am SO NOT READY YET, and i am freaking out. i have successfully finished reading the two textbooks that one of my committee members assigned, and i have read maybe 25% of the huge stack of journal articles that various other committee members assigned. so for the next 5 days i will be doing nothing but reading and thinking and hoping like hell that i don't fail my comps. if i do i will look stupid, and they should kick me out of the ph.d. program. which they won't even if i do fail, but still.

i was talking to dr. v. about comps yesterday (i had to get his spare laptop to take the exam), and he's going to give me the questions one at a time so no one can say i went home and looked up stuff between days one and two of the exam. he doesn't have the questions from all my committee members yet, but he said that from those he has seen, they "will require a lot of thought, but they don't seem to be off topic. no one asked anything like, 'how do you do know that jesus christ exists?'" so yeah, i'm scared. and i told dr. v. that. he assured me that i will be fine. but i am still not so sure.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Woo Hoo!

so, my doctor's appointment went fairly well this week. my blood pressure still sucks (152/80), but it's slightly lower than last week. and the ultrasound looked really good - i have the right amount of amniotic fluid, and the baby is the right size. he measured at 25 weeks 4 days, and i am 25 weeks 5 days pregnant, so that's pretty much right on. he now weighs 1 pound 12 ounces. i still think it's crazy how they can tell that. oh, and he's still pretty much kicking like a maniac. the ultrasound tech was moving the little wand thing around, and the baby kicked (because they don't like to be pushed on, yo), and she was like, "i felt that." and i was like, "yeah, so did i." it kinda wigs chad out when i poke the baby to make him move. i'm always like, "he's in a cushy fluid bubble, it doesn't hurt him. the doctor presses on him." but chad still doesn't like it...

anyway, so i don't have to go to the doctor next week! woo hoo! instead, i have to go back in two weeks (on halloween). so that's an improvement over this whole weekly visit thing. i am slightly concerned, however, about my weight. i was a little wigged out about hitting the 150 pound mark, and now i seem to be stuck there. i've only gained a pound over the last three weeks (i weighed in at 150 lbs last week, and i weighed the same today... i weighed 149 two weeks before the last visit where i weighed 150 - i am supposed to be gaining a pound per week now). dr. g. didn't say anything about it, but i'm sure that if i don't gain any more weight when i see her in two weeks, she'll have something to say about it. oh well. for now, things seem ok. or at least the status quo is holding - take it easy at home (i.e., leave the housework to chad - though i am SO going to hockey games) and don't do anything strenuous at work.

now i just have to concentrate on studying for comps. those are less than two weeks away!

Friday, October 12, 2007

UPS Should REALLY Fire Whoever Delivers Packages to My House During the Day

mmkay, we've been through this before... several times. i really, REALLY HATE UPS! yes, my friends, they did it AGAIN. the other day i ordered a sweater and a jacket from target, and according to ups's website, the package was supposed to arrive monday. so i didn't think to leave a note on the door so the dumbass who delivers packages to my house during the day wouldn't drop it over the fence (who does that anway?) onto the side porch where krull the warrior king could rip it to shreds all over the yard. but they delivered the package early (something that should have made me happy)... and the dumbass ups driver dropped it over the fence, and krull ripped my lovely jacket (a cute blazer-type jacket, since you know, i cannot currently button any of my other cute jackets) to shreds and slobbered all over the sweater (though it is technically still wearable after a washing). once again, i am not mad at krull. somebody drops something over the fence, that's his territory. that's why we don't leave stuff we don't want chewed outside (and he doesn't really chew on the stuff that stays out there except for his toys).

i am, however, brimming with anger at the stupid ups driver. i've already called them twice about dropping packages over the fence, and i was assured that they were putting a note on our address that would apply to all future deliveries so that any packages arriving when no one is home would be left on the front porch. but i have started leaving a note on the door whenever i'm expecting a package anyway. only this one came early. and now target has to send replacements. chad handled that whole thing for me. i am actually still at the lab, and when i called to tell him i would be a little late he was like, "wanna hear a funny story?" and then he told me about the stupid ups guy... and also how he called ups to bitch them out for me and then called target to secure the replacement sweater and jacket for me. he said the guy from ups was a putz and was no help at all but that the lady from target was very nice and understanding and that my new sweater and jacket should arrive next week. i love my husband. i guess he figured getting all irate and screaming through the phone at somebody from ups wouldn't really help my blood pressure any. so he did it for me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

24 weeks Photos**

i know you've all been anxiously awaiting my next installment of pregnancy photos, so here they are. i'm getting pretty gigantic.

**update 10:15 a.m. - i just got back from my doctor's appointment, and my blood pressure was even higher than last time (the systolic pressure anyway, my diastolic pressure was down a bit) at 160/78. this appears to me to be strictly a doctor's office phenomenon, as my bp at home has been fine, but dr. g. (my ob/gyn) doesn't seem to think so for some reason (i guess a high bp 3 weeks in a row when i've never had a high bp in her office before might have something to with that). she still didn't put me on bed rest, but she has forbidden me to do anything other than sit there when i'm at the lab and lay on the couch when i'm at home. i can still shower, make lunch for myself, etc., but i am supposed to be actually laying down at home, not sitting around or cleaning or going to the mall or wal-mart or whatever. i am, however, meeting a friend for lunch today (shh, don't tell). otherwise, i will be laying on my couch reading/studying for comps. i have to see the doc again next week and the week after that and so on for a long, long time. boo. and i am having another ultrasound next week just to make sure the baby is doing ok and growing like he should and to check the level of amniotic fluid. so, on the plus side, we get to see the baby again, but the only reason for this extra ultrasound is that my bp is crazy. which sucks (though it still seems that i do not have preeclampsia, which is good). and dr. g. keeps talking about the possibility of the baby being born early, which scares me a little. he really doesn't need to be born until january (maybe even on vanessa's bday, the day he officially reaches full term, though that is three weeks before my actual due date). i really don't like all this early delivery talk. dr. g. keeps saying things like, "you really don't need to deliver at 24 weeks, and i don't think that's necessary." but she evidently thinks that i might be having this baby early. but not for ten more weeks. that's what she said today - the baby needs 10 more weeks. which means that if things keep going the way they are, it might be better for me and max if he's born the week before christmas instead of a month after christmas. that scares the crap out of me.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I <3 Daniel Briere

he is SO my new hockey crush. i pretty much love him. he's worth the ridiculous amount of money the flyers are paying him. obviously i watched the flyers' game against calgary thursday night (the season opener for both teams), and daniel briere was pretty much amazing. which i sort of knew already, but now he's a flyer, so it's better. he scored the game's first goal (thanks to some fancy footwork in front of the net to help him control the puck) and the game's last goal (the game winner - a beauty of a goal off a sweet pass by simon gagne). so yeah, briere is pretty much my new favorite flyer. i am not at all ashamed to say that i like him much better between gagne and knuble than i ever liked forsberg. that's gonna be SUCH an awesome line this season.

overall, the flyers look about a zillion times better than they did last year, which is a good start. they sort of let the game get away from them in the second half, but thanks to my boy danny briere (with some help from the always impressive simon gagne) they pulled off the win. the team still has some work to do to achieve perfection (the penalty kill left much to be desired - who thinks it's a good idea to stand still and not even move their sticks when killing off a penalty?), but i was really pleased with their performance as a whole. i think this season will be much better for the flyers than the last one.

oh, and just a note - i've been keeping an eye on my blood pressure at home, and it's been absolutely fine. i actually thought i did something wrong in the measurement this morning because it was really low. but i took it again, and it was still low (111/67). the highest it's been since i've been home is 135/79, which was right after i got home from the lab. so things are looking good on that front. hopefully, it will still be ok when i go to the doctor on wednesday.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Home Again

and most of you didn't even know i was gone. i spent last night in the hospital (don't worry, everything is fine for now), but they discharged me at 5:30 this evening. i've been having some blood pressure issues lately (it was high at my last appointment), and my doc wanted me to pop by her office sometime this week to get it checked again. well, i stopped by yesterday on my way home from the sea lab, and it was high again. so the doctor came over to talk to me and decided to admit me to the hospital for 24 hours to monitor my blood pressure overnight and throughout the day and to monitor the baby. they checked my bp several times when i was first admitted and throughout the night, and they also recorded the baby's heartbeat (though he was moving around a lot, making it difficult to get a steady reading for any length of time) for a while. my blood pressure dropped significantly once i was in bed and not doing anything, which is good, and the baby sounded good.

i don't have any other symptoms, but high blood pressure can be a sign of preeclampsia (aka toxemia). chad's mom had this when she was pregnant with him, which makes me more likely to develop it as well due to a possible genetic connection with the baby (not that there's anything wrong with his genes - the quad screen for chromosomal problems was normal). preeclampsia can progress to a point at which it becomes unsafe for both me and the baby to keep him in there, so the doc is going to monitor things pretty closely from now on to see if i start showing signs of developing the condition (even though i don't have it right now). she went ahead and ordered steroid shots while i was in the hospital. i got one yesterday and another one right before i came home. they do that to speed up the baby's lung development just in case he has to be delivered early (though most likely not in the next few weeks - he needs to stay inside as long as possible). many women with preeclampsia (which once again, i do not have but could develop later on) go on to carry their babies to term, so even if i do develop it, it doesn't mean the baby will be premature. my doctor just doesn't want to take any chances and wants to be prepared in case that should happen.

i'm not gonna lie, i was pretty freaked out when the doc came over and said she wanted to put me in the hospital yesterday. i went straight over to the labor and delivery floor at the hospital from my doc's office (they're part of the same complex, so i just went through the building to get there), so i had to call chad and get him to bring me toiletries and clothes and things. he spent the night at the hospital with me, and he took off work today to be there with me, although he did leave for a couple of hours to take a shower, feed krull and play with him a little bit, and get some food. i was very grateful for that.

i have also been threatened with bed rest if my blood pressure continues to be problematic, since it appears to respond well to bed rest. i guess that's good, since it means it isn't going to require intense treatment, but i dread the very idea of bed rest. i have WAY too much to do, and i would go out of my mind with boredom. one day in the hospital was bad enough. at least i would get to be at home, though.

for now, i am still allowed to work (as long as i take lots of breaks and don't do anything strenuous), but i'm supposed to be decreasing my overall activity level and basically adhering to the bed rest thing whenever i'm at home... which means that chad is taking over the cooking and cleaning and random running around. he seems pretty ok with the idea, and he's doing a good job so far of keeping me calm and taking care of everything for me. the doc told me to buy a blood pressure cuff and keep an eye on my bp from home, so chad stopped by cvs on the way home from the hospital and picked one up for me.

i have another appointment with my doc next wednesday, and she said that if my blood pressure stays high she's just going to keep limiting my activity level more and more, but she said she doesn't want to have to put me on bed rest because i still (hopefully) have at least three months to go with this whole pregnancy thing. but she'll do it if necessary. so let's hope my blood pressure straightens itself out. geez.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Affordable Day Care Is Hard To Find

today, between studying for comps, running HPLC, and being a bum playing solitaire, i made about a million phone calls to day care centers around town. we've decided to try and do day care for only three days a week, since i should be nearly finished with my lab work by the time we need it, and i will only have to do my 20 hours a week at the sea lab. i can do my data analysis/dissertation writing from home. plus, chad's mom can pop over for an extra day a week if we need her to.

sounds good, right? so what's the problem? well, the vast majority of day care centers do not offer part time day care for babies. once they turn 2, you're golden. but before then, options are woefully scarce, and the waiting lists are LOOONG. of the 20 or 30 day care centers i've called exactly three of them offer part time day care for babies. one of them costs more for part time care than many other centers charge for full time infant care, so that's out (because we're not rich, yo, and we can't afford $129 a week for 3 days of day care), one sounded kind of shady (the woman who answered the phone acted like she had no idea what was going on, and there were tons of screaming children in the background) and they don't have any openings and don't know when they will have one, and the last one sounds great but doesn't have a spot until may.

this afternoon i toured the last day care center and went ahead and paid the registration fee to hold the open spot in may. the day care teachers seem competent and caring, the price is affordable ($75 per week for 3 days, $100 per week for 5 days), they work with your child's schedule instead of trying to force all the kids to eat and nap at the same time, and it isn't as far out of our way as many of the others (though there are at least three day care centers closer to our house, one of which is the extremely expensive one). so our kid will have day care guaranteed for the first week of may, but what we'll do before then i have no idea. chad's mom can probably come over a couple of days a week, or we will have to put the baby in a full time day care somewhere else for 4-6 weeks. or maybe a spot will open up at our day care sooner than may. the girl at the front desk said they may have a spot coming open in march, but there are no guarantees about that. she said she'll call if we can get in earlier. i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Little Worried

so, i went to the baby doctor for my regular monthly appointment today. mostly, everything is on track. she measured my belly (this was the first time - she'll do that at every visit from now on), and i'm apparently the size i'm supposed to be. i've gained 5 lbs. since my last visit, which is also good (that makes 12 lbs. total weight gain so far). the baby's heartbeat sounds good. the thing that has me a bit concerned is that my blood pressure was a little high. the doc said it wouldn't really be classified as 'high blood pressure' but it's higher than is normal for me. she said it's probably just because i had a really active day (cleaning tanks and taking apart the flow-through system i used for my lab experiments, going up and down the stairs a lot), but i should go in and let the nurse check my bp again next week just in case. if it's still a little high, i'll have to see the doc again before my next regularly scheduled visit near the end of october. let's hope it's normal then. in the meantime, maybe i should lay off the salt and vinegar chips. and the super easy but sodium-laden ramen in a cup. and even the chinese food. :( i really like chinese food. but it has so much blood pressure-raising sodium. boo.

i also made the appointment for my next regular visit, when i have to take the glucose tolerance test to test for gestational diabetes. blah. an hour before my appointment, i have to drink half a bottle of this crazy orange drink that i hope won't taste awful, and i'm not allowed to eat or drink anything except water (and that crazy orange thing) after midnight the day before my appointment. as a definite 'grazer', i am not looking forward to that. my appointment is for 10:15 (the earliest time they had available), so i won't be able to eat anything until after that. that's gonna be hard, considering i'll be awake for about 3 or 4 hours before then. i'd normally have breakfast around 7:00 before heading for the lab and then have a snack around 9:30 or 10:00, so i'm not sure how i'll handle waking up at my regular time (6:00 or 6:30, depending on what i have to do that day) and not eating until at least 10:30 (i am SO taking a snack to the dr.'s office with me - and i plan to eat it as soon as they draw the blood they need).

slightly more exciting, i also received a packet of useful information from the nurse about childbirth education, newborn care, breastfeeding, and infant cpr classes. most of them are just two-hour classes, but the childbirth one can either be two hours one night a week for four weeks or one saturday. i'm leaning toward the saturday one. next to that one on the info sheet it says that the saturday class isn't made for couples who want a completely natural birth, but i plan to have an epidural (umm, i don't really deal with pain so well, and i'd like to be aware of something more than the pain when the baby is actually born. you know, like the baby himself.), so that's not a big deal. i don't know anyone who has had a problem with an epidural, and everyone i know who had one was completely fine (and so were their babies).

and that was pretty much my day - taking apart and cleaning the flow-through tank system from my lab experiments, setting up an assay to run tomorrow (thus all the running up and down stairs), and going to the doctor. i'll try to post another pregnancy photo soon for all you guys who don't get to see me every week. i'll post at least a photo a month to document the rest of my pregnancy (and how ginormous i'm getting - i have never weighed this much in my life), so you guys have that to look forward to for about the next 18 weeks. after that, you can look forward to baby pictures! and pictures of me being not huge again!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Ultrasound Photos

but not the inappropriate ones. thought you guys might finally like to see what our little max (if we don't change our minds about the name) looks like now (or what he looked like about 10 days ago).

you can clearly see that he is an actual baby and not a vaguely baby-shaped teddy graham in this round of photos. his legs are bent at the knee (so his feet are pointing down - the sonographer also took a photo of just his feet, which i didn't post), and that little blob up by his head is a tiny fist, getting ready to whale on me. the black hole looking thing in his chest is his heart, which we could see beating at a healthy 146 bpm. i kind of wish i owned a stethoscope, since the baby books say that at this point i may be able to hear his heart beat with one (as opposed to the doppler device the doctor used at my last visit - the one before the ultrasound).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Halfway There!

i can see that this is rapidly morphing into a pregnancy/baby blog, but oh well. that's pretty much the biggest thing in my life right now (understandably so, i think). well, that and putting off studying for comps (which i still need to set a date for). oh well.

i know you've all been anxiously awaiting some photo documentation of my pregnancy, and i am here to oblige. to defend myself for not posting photos sooner, i am just now reaching the point where i have any sort of baby belly. chad says it's still not much of one, and he seems pretty impatient for me to look noticeably pregnant. we'll see what you guys think.

here's a front view of me halfway through my pregnancy. as the doc said, not huge yet, but that will come soon.

and here's a side view. the pregnancy is much more obvious from this angle (umm, ignore the random piles of clothes everywhere).

as of last wednesday, i had gained a total of 7 lbs. at my next checkup that should increase to about 11 lbs. and yes, those are my regular jeans (i love those jeans with their cute butt pockets and all). however, they are not buttoned. because the buttoning has become way uncomfortable. but thanks to motherhood maternity's maternity sleeve, i no longer have to button my pants. which i pretty much love.

tomorrow marks the 20th week of the pregnancy - the halfway point! i'm excited about that. and it only took 4 1/2 months for me to look at all pregnant. oh well. hopefully the next 4 1/2 months will pass quickly (but not too quickly) and our little guy will continue to look/sound healthy and happy. one of my biggest fears right now is that something will be wrong and i won't notice. or that i'll feel some small twinge that i should call the doctor about but think it's nothing. i mean, all the pregnancy books say that little aches and pains are commonplace during pregnancy... but they also list symptoms you should call the doc about, and sometimes they seem to contradict themselves (some abdominal achiness and occasional sharp pains and increased discharge is normal, but if you have both you should call the doctor - wtf? you just said these symptoms are normal!). oh well. i've pretty much made up my mind not freak out about anything, but i ask my doc random questions like that at my regular appointments.

ok, enough baby talk for now.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Baby Registry Success!

just a quick note to let everyone know in advance that chad and i went shopping and registering today, and i have posted links to our baby registries on my sidebar for anyone who wishes to buy us sweet baby gifts (which will be much appreciated, you can be sure). chad's mom has already gone a wee bit crazy with the baby clothes buying (chad came home with 14 baby outfits, 9 or 10 bibs, and 2 or 3 wee baby hats yesterday), and soon the in-laws will be purchasing our crib (even though for now it remains on the registry - this is so they buy the one we want and yet do not have to spend tons of $).

when we registered at babies-r-us they gave us a sweet free gift box with samples of diapers, wipes, and creams, as well as a free bottle and pacifier, which is really nice.

ok, i got the point across - we have registered for baby stuff. no pressure to buy things or anything, though.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

It's a Boy!

pretty much everybody who reads this will know that by now, but still, i thought it appropriate to let the internet in on the news. i even have a sweet ultrasound picture to prove it. but i think it's a tad inappropriate to post that particular photo, as i am not into kiddie porn (even when it features yet-to-be-born kiddies). let's just say that the ultrasound technician felt it was a good idea to zoom in on the baby's legs and print a picture complete with an arrow pointing to the relevant parts and labeled 'it's a boy!'. it really is kind of funny, but once again, i will not be sharing that one with the entire world.

actually, i'm not going to post any of the new ultrasound pics just yet, as i'm not really in the mood to scan them right now. so you'll just have to wait.

but you can rest assured that all is well with the baby (kelly is going to have to come up with a nickname other than thetinytina now that we know he's a boy). all parts and organs are present and accounted for, his heart is beating healthily, and he kicks me pretty regularly, which chad seems to find amusing. last night i got the hiccups and was holding my breath to get rid of them when chad said, "you better take a breath or you're gonna get kicked." at which point i laughed then hiccuped and had to start all over with the breath-holding.

i'm starting to reach the point at which those who know me can tell i'm pregnant by looking at me (i swear, i'll post a nice side-view photo soon), but it's still not so obvious that total strangers (or even anyone who didn't already know i was pregnant) can tell. at the doctor on wednesday, she told me to enjoy this month because it's the last one where i won't be huge. lesley (bless her) is supposed to bring me some of her old maternity clothes next week, which is really awesome of her. she's really been a big help so far, lending me stuff and answering questions and all. i've bought a few maternity items of my own so far (a few shirts, a hoodie, a couple of pairs of pants), but i just hate the thought of buying lots of clothes that i'm only going to wear for a few months. so thanks be to lesley for letting me borrow things (plus she said it's hard for short people to find maternity clothes, which i've found is really true. apparently clothing companies think that pregnancy makes your legs five miles long) and answering random questions.

chad and i are going to hit up babies-r-us tomorrow to start registering and maybe go ahead and buy a few baby things (probably stuff to decorate to his room, mostly) now that we know he's a boy. we'll probably also go ahead and register at walmart to make life easier for family members residing in the middle of nowhere without such niceties as target and babies-r-us. kelly gave us our first baby present yesterday (although i know that nessa also bought a baby present in germany - thanks, nessa) - an absolutely adorable blue sleeper with lots of sea creatures on it. i'm very excited about it, and now that i know we're having a boy, i'm getting a little impatient about things. january 25 suddenly seems very far away.

as you all probably know, we've been thinking about names for a while now, and the more i think about it, the more i like max evan. chad really wants to name him maximus (which i absolutely hate as a legal name but would be fine with as a nickname), but i think he would be ok with max. he also said that he'd be ok with maximus as a middle name. i also really like alex as a first name, but i'm not so sure about alexander maximus. max evan is so much better - and so much easier for a little guy to learn how to spell. plus, if we name him max, chad can still call him maximus as a pet name, but if we name him alex, we're going to call him alex. chad said he likes the idea of maximus as a middle name because then when the kid is in high school, he can choose to be called maximus if we wants to. i, on the other hand, am really annoyed when people suddenly decide to be called by their middle names after a decade or so of being called by their first names. so i'm leaning toward max evan, and chad says he pretty much feels the same about either name - they're ok but not as good as maximus.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I <3 Books...

but apparently i have no time to actually READ them. i am busily importing the 5 discs of an audiobook into itunes (so i can listen to it on my ipod, get it?), and i have spent the last few minutes rearranging the bookshelves in my home office. i cleared a couple of shelves so that i could use them for the giant stack of books that i have either bought or received as gifts over the past year but haven't had the time to read as of yet. and they pretty much fill two shelves. 30 books. wow. i have a TON of books. i have read most of them... some of them several times. but somehow i still have 30 books on my shelves waiting for me to open them up and take them in. i think it's because i haven't done any HPLC in the last couple of weeks (i've been setting up that lab experiment, if you remember - a task at which i finally succeeded last weekend). on a typical HPLC day i spend a couple of hours getting everything set up, making standards and stuff, a couple of hours entering data, and a couple of hours reading in between injecting samples into the machine, which i have to do about every 20 minutes. so i get a fair amount of reading done when i do HPLC. i'll have to devote a large chunk of that time to reading a chapter or so per day in those text books i told you about (you know, the ones i have to study for comps).

it also doesn't help that i've spent the last few months re-reading a bunch of books because they precede others that i've bought, and i want to make sure i remember previous events before i launch into the newest book. for instance, i re-read all the harry potters before reading book 7. i also re-read eragon before reading the second book in the series, eldest. i plan to begin re-reading jonathan stroud's the amulet of samarkand and the golem's eye before i finally begin ptolemy's gate, the last book in the trilogy, which has been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year (looks like i'm really in the mood for kid/YA fantasy, eh?). but first i need to finish the time traveler's wife, a book that kelly lent to me a couple of weeks ago. i'm about half way through this book, and so far it is wonderful. i just wish i had more time to devote to it. i've been reading about a chapter every night, and i would love to read more, but i'm just so damn tired at the end of the day....

so what prompted all this book talk? well, i recently started working in earnest on the delta project in dr. v.'s lab (my new source of funding since my fellowship is over), and it looks like i'll be spending a fair amount of time picking samples. that is, picking all the little critters (which are stained pink) out of samples taken from the delta. this is fairly tedious work, and katy has introduced me to a new method of passing the time more quickly when picking samples - listening to audiobooks. i still prefer to actually READ a book, rather than listening to someone read one to me, but she was right - it passes the time.

but, dudes - audiobooks are PRICEY. so i stopped at the library on the way home the other day and procured myself a shiny new library card (i can't believe i've lived in mobile for seven years, including when i lived in the dorms at USA, and haven't gotten a library card). now, i used to check books out from the library all the time... pretty much my whole life until college, when i started just buying any book i wanted. i order a lot of them from amazon, but i also get a lot of them from secondhand bookstores and thrift stores. so, as i mentioned, i have a ton of books. i like them. i like having them around. i like reading them. i like owning them. and now i think i'm going to start checking them out of the library again. see, i can check out a BUTT LOAD at once (up to 50!) and keep them for four weeks at a time, so i should be able to check out a few at a time and have time to read them before they're due back. in fact, yesterday i made a list of books i want to check out and list of audiobooks that they have at the branch closest to my house (the west mobile branch) that i'd like to listen to. not to mention the fact that i did some quick browsing on my first visit and checked out 5 audiobooks that day (candace bushnell's trading up, dean koontz's brother odd, meg cabot's queen of babble, sophie kinsella's can you keep a secret?, and agatha christie's the a.b.c. murders). i should have time to listen to those over the next couple of weeks.

but before i start checking out library books to read, i need to put a dent in the 'unread' shelves in my home office.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Life for the Last Couple of Weeks

so it's been a while since i last wrote anything on here, and i think it's about time i let everyone know what i've been up to. well, for the most part i've been trying my hardest to get my stupid lab experiments set up - unsuccessfully. see, all the seagrass that i have lovingly cultured over the last couple of months is indeed dying and, thus, unusable. so tomorrow i'm off to perdido key AGAIN to collect some fresh turtlegrass. that is, if the guys from buffalo rock have come in and moved their snack machine from in front of the breaker box that controls the lights in the room i'm setting my experiments up in. if i can't turn the power on in that room, i can't set the experiment up yet. which sucks. but i also still have to go back to perdido key either saturday or sunday to collect more amphipods (one of the grazers for my experiments). the damn things keep dying on me, and i'm not catching as many on each collection day as i should be. so the world seems to be working against me as far as getting my lab experiments behind me.

i've also been procuring the books i have to read to prepare for my comprehensive exams, which i plan to take in late september or early october. those are, like, TEXT books i'm talking about, and i'm supposed to familiarize myself with the entire contents of two of them for one of my committee members. see, during comps each of my five committee members gets to ask me a series of questions that are in some way related to my work or the general field of marine science - a pretty daunting event. there is a written portion and an oral component to these exams, and they basically scare the poo out of me. for the other members of my committee, i will (hopefully) have to review 10-15 papers covering topics relevant to my work to ensure that i am familiar with the foundations of what i'm working on.

today, i am reviewing a paper that dr. v. sent me last week. i know some people who find it annoying to review papers for scientific journals, but i kind of enjoy it. dr. v. (and sometimes ken) sends me papers he gets to review that are relevant to my work, so i get the first glimpse of new publications. plus, i get to put in my two cents and make suggestions to the authors. i also have to work on entering some data and doing some statistics. but what i might do in addition to this is hit the mall and start checking out maternity clothes (even though i don't really need them yet).

i had my last check-up last wednesday, and everything is good with thetinytina. i think i'm supposed to start gaining more weight now. so far, i've only gained three pounds, but i can definitely feel the waistbands on my jeans tightening, especially when i sit down. i might go ahead and get one of these. i hear these belly bands are pretty sweet, not to mention handy. it just looks like a tank top underneath your shirt, but it functions to hold up unbuttoned pants (handy for when your jeans are a smidge too snug). i think in the next week or so i might need that. when i talked to my doc last week, she said around week 16 is when most first-time moms-to-be move up a size or two in their clothes but don't really need maternity clothes. i am currently in week 15 (i'll be 15 weeks tomorrow). so i'm starting to notice the changes, but to the untrained observer, i don't look pregnant yet. give it another month.

oh! i also set up my appointment last week for the next ultrasound. it will be happening on august 29 (when i will be 18 weeks pregnant, or about 4 1/3 months), and we'll get to find out if thetinytina is a boy or a girl! i'm excited. then i can start going crazy buying baby stuff. well, not too crazy since i want to wait and see what all we get at the baby shower that nessa and deva are planning on throwing before figuring out what we'll have to buy ourselves. but i can at least go crazy registering for stuff. i think we're going to keep all the big stiff gender-neutral (so if it's a girl, i don't want to get a pink stroller and car seat or anything, just in case we decide to have another kid at some point in the not-at-all-near future who might not turn out to be of the same gender as the first). so neutral colors for the car seat, stroller, play yard, etc. but bedding, toys, clothes, nursery decorations, etc. will definitely be tailored to a boy or girl. i really WANT to buy about a million things, but i'm exercising some major self-control over here (those who have been shopping with me know how i like to go on a big spending spree every now and again). i actually haven't bought ANY baby stuff yet. see, i can't buy just one little baby item. when i finally buy something, i'm going to want to buy several somethings, and i would really like to know the baby's gender when that happens. i mean, i COULD go ahead and buy some really basic stuff like a pack of white long-sleeve onesies (the kid WILL be born in the winter, after all) that will come in handy for either gender, and part of me really wants to do that just to have some baby stuff, but another (larger) part of me wants to know the baby's sex first. so, come the end of this month, i'll be buying lots of baby stuff. but don't worry. you can't have too many baby clothes, so anyone else who wants to buy tons of those should feel free.

but it would be bad if everyone i know decided to buy a stroller or a bouncy seat or a swing or a play pen, all of which are things that i plan to register for. i say this because chad's mom has already bought a crib (without consulting us first), which i thought was jumping the gun a bit. i felt sort of bad, but i told her that i'm looking for specific things in a crib, and if she was buying one for us, she should have mentioned it to us first. then i found out that she bought it from someone she knows and only paid $20 for it, so i don't feel so bad anymore. but i can now see that she's going to go nuts and just start buying things willy nilly, whether it's what we want or not. i really wish she would at least wait until we register for stuff. or ask me to go baby shopping with her. then she gets to buy whatever she wants and i get to make sure that what we get has the features we need. sometimes i'm a little indecisive and unsure of what i want, but when it comes to my kid (even though it's my first) i really want chad and me to be able to do things our way. which is why i plan on making him go baby shopping with me as soon as we find out the sex. we might not buy much, but i really want us to look at these things together and figure out what we both want. i mean, i've been looking at this stuff for weeks, but i want chad to have some input, too. i mean, it is his kid too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Stupid Karma

so if you spend three years killing seagrass by infecting it with the wasting disease pathogen, does that automatically mean that you are destined to kill seagrass forever and ever? after five weeks of perfectly healthy and green seagrass in my culture tanks, it is starting to die. :( and i am sad. see, i need it alive for another two weeks. i have my suspicions as to what has gone so horribly awry - i think these stupid high july temperatures are starting to get to my grass. some of it still looks really green, but some shoots are just goners. pretty much all of the hated Halodule that i collected from PSJ is brown. most of the stuff from perdido key looks ok, though. i just hope i can salvage enough green shoots for my lab experiments, which i'll start in a couple of weeks. i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


ok. i've been a little out of touch with the echl world lately (because i've been spending so much time in the field), and i've just been checking up on happenings around the league and with the ice pilots (who, btw, have not really been sending out their email updates to my satisfaction). so when i just cruised around, i was quite surprised to learn that the team is planning to start up a cheerleading squad. wtf? cheerleaders? in hockey? pretty much the only time cheerleaders would have anything to do during a game is at intermission when there is nothing to cheer for. there are no sidelines from which to cheer the team on, and spreading out in the crowd is really ineffective (i know this from experience, as that was basically my job when i worked for the mobile wizards, mobile's complete failure of an af2 team. we put on stupid purple crushed velvet outfits - no room for body perception issues in those - and spread out in the 'crowd' trying to pump people up and doing the ymca and chicken dance in spotlights whenever those songs were played).

i know that a handful of nhl teams have cheerleaders (the carolina hurricanes come to mind), but i have always thought that cheerleaders at hockey games is a pretty ridiculous concept. it works for things like football and basketball, where those peppy people can stand on the sidelines and cheer on the team, and baseball could probably use some cheerleaders just to give people something to watch during all that down time. but in hockey? i just don't see the point.

on a different note, i also looked at the official list of players to whom the pilots extended qualifying offers. most of them, i was ok with. i think pretty much everyone knows that i kind of scoff every time i think about the fact that the team insists on keeping steward around, but i think the same thing about byfuglien. seriously? i mean, i like making fun of his name, and he did have the occasional moment of adequacy last season, but for the most part, his qualifying offer rates another 'wtf?'. i hate to say this, but i would rather have seen metcalf get a qualifying offer. i also hate to say that 'the calf' was really showing signs of improvement and made me go 'wtf?' and 'dammit, metcalf!' pretty rarely as last season progressed. were they just trying to fill up space and extend qualifying offers to the maximum number of players? because i don't think anyone would have minded just keeping four or five of those guys around and trying to build a new team around them.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Teddy Graham

so, chad and i went to the doctor today for my ultrasound and to talk about the results of all the lab tests i had done last time. basically, everything was (and is) fine. i've gained exactly 1 pound since my last visit 2 weeks and 2 days ago (which seems ok since you're only supposed to gain 3 or 4 pounds over the first trimester - and it could have been because i wore shorts last time and jeans this time), i don't have any std's or other infections (not that i thought i did or anything), i'm not anemic, my blood sugar and pressure are both fine (even though i think a bp of 126/58 is a little weird), my blood type is O+, and the baby looks amazing. the ultrasound technician likened it to a teddy graham, which i kind of liked.

they gave us 4 pictures from the ultrasound, along with a video. here, have a look at thetinytina (as kelly has taken to calling it).

you can't really see a whole lot, but i like how they conveniently labeled the head (which looks ginormous!) and the body. it's probably about the size of a teddy graham right now, too. i was really relieved when i saw the baby on the ultrasound. all the books i've been reading have been freaking me out over what all can go wrong. but thetinytina looks pretty much perfect, just like an almost 10-week old embryo (soon to be fetus) should. we could see him/her waving his/her little arms around, and we could hear the heart beating (at a healthy 167 bpm - man, that's fast!). it was pretty amazing. chad was surprised that we could hear the heart beat this early. he said it seems small to have such a strong heartbeat already. then i informed him that heartbeat begins at 18 days (i saw it on an anti-abortion billboard along I-10).

so anyway, that was pretty much my day. i guess you can tell that i'm going to be posting tons of baby pictures later on if i'm rushing to post an ultrasound photo. at my check-up in 8 weeks, we'll get to find out the sex. i can't wait!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


i know, i know. it's been quite a while since the last time i bothered to write anything, and for that i apologize. i've just been a bit... uninspired lately. i've been spending all my time in the lab at USA running samples or at DISL checking on my seagrass culture stuff (still going strong, knock on wood!). i went back to port st. joe this past weekend, and i'll be heading back there on sunday. but this time it will be for fun... well, there will be a small amount of work. but it will mostly be for fun. chad's parents wanted to go camping for the 4th (because they bought this camper when their house got messed up by hurricane ivan, decided to keep paying for it after their house was fixed, and have used it exactly once since then, which leaves them feeling that they aren't getting their money's worth - which they aren't. and for some reason they insist on not using it unless chad and i go on a trip with them. only they never want to go anywhere but gulf shores, and to me gulf shores is just not worth staying overnight). anyway, chad suggested port st. joe would be a good place to go camping, and the in-laws have never been there. so we're going over there on sunday and coming back on wednesday. we'll probably also drive over to st. andrew's state park in panama city one day and go snorkeling along the jetty there... and i'll make a stop at the NOAA lab to pull up the shoots i marked for growth measurements last sunday.

yeah, so that's pretty much it here in latina-land. i have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, and i'm kind of excited about this one because i'm having my first ultrasound. i mean, the baby's like, the size of a grape or something, but still. exciting.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Flippin' Out

so, i'm sorry to break big news here on my blog and then fall into silence for so long, but man have i ever been busy since then. kelly and i went over to port st. joe last weekend to collect samples, then we went to perdido key to do the same thing on wednesday, so it's been a long and tiring week or so, but i had three really good field days. i also got my seagrass culture system set up, although it still needs a little tweaking before i'll be satisfied with it (i know, me and my stupid high standards...). i ran into a few problems with the water system clogging up and stabilizing the salinity, but that seems good now, and hopefully the system won't require a lot of intense maintenance.

but enough about work. damien brought dylan down this weekend (his divorce has finally been finalized, though the custody arrangement for dylan leaves much to be desired and will have to be reworked in a few years when the little guy starts school), so i went over to my mom's house to see the little guy yesterday. he just turned two a couple of weeks ago, and let me tell you, they are not called the 'terrible twos' for nothing. dylan seems to have entered that phase where he likes to say 'no' to absolutely everything. even when he really means yes. and he absolutely hates to have anything done for him because, by god, he is convinced that he can do everything himself. he might eat his pizza upside down, dropping pepperoni and cheese into his lap, but that is his way and to him it is right. and besides, he is impossibly cute! how can you not want to hang out with him?

moving on, i have my first prenatal doctor visit tomorrow. i've been reading all this stuff on webmd, and it's freakin' me out, man! i am totally flippin' out over all the things that can go wrong early on in pregnancy (when i apparently have a 15-25% chance of having a miscarriage just because), even though there is absolutely no sign that i should be worried. the weight of everything just seemed to hit me today. i guess because i've been too busy to really worry before now (which is a good thing, or else i'd be a total basket case by now). so when i finally get to the doctor tomorrow, i'll be horribly nervous and will probably have convinced myself that my kid will be born with all sorts of terrible birth defects, even though there's no history of that sort of thing in either my or chad's family, and i'm perfectly healthy.

another pregnancy-related thing that has been a lot worse for me today than ever before is that whole nausea thing. i refuse to call it morning sickness (because it's actually been worse for me in the late afternoons/evenings than any other time). i have managed to avoid vomiting at all (so far, knock on wood), and the nausea bit has been pretty transient (thank heaven). i think i've been pretty lucky with all of that so far. but today i've pretty much been having the same conversation with myself all day. it goes like this:

weak me: "oh god, i'm gonna hurl!"
strong me: "no you're not! think about something else!"
weak me: "no, i'm really going to vomit. this sucks!"
strong me: "you just feel nauseous because you haven't eaten in a while. you're just hungry. have a snack."
weak me: "but if i eat anything, it'll just come right back up."
strong me: "oh, stop being such a baby. suck it up and eat something."
weak me: "fine, i'll try a little something."
strong me: "good. and you aren't going to puke."

so i haven't been eating much for the past week or so, but i also haven't vomited in about 3.5 years either, so i'm ok with that. i don't know if i should be concerned that i seem to being eating less instead of more now that i'm pregnant. but as chad accurately observed, i'm just afraid that if i eat too much i'll puke. part of this stems from the fact that when my mom was pregnant with me she puked off and on for the entire 9 months, including labor (and she gained so little weight that the docs thought i was gonna weigh something like 4 pounds, but i came out a healthy 6.5 lbs, don't you worry). i don't think i could possibly handle that kind of upchucking action.

oh, and something that people don't really mention about being pregnant is that you're always tired, no matter how much you sleep. i mean, i guess supporting another human being is tough on a body, but still. i have never napped so much in my life - and i'm still falling asleep by 10:30 every night. chad made fun of me when i went to bed at 10:30 on a saturday night, but i couldn't possibly have stayed awake any longer. sad, right?

i guess with all this normal pregnancy stuff that's going on with me, i shouldn't really be flipping out so much over tomorrow's prenatal exam, but somehow i can't stop myself from imagining the worst.