Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Weekend in Philadelphia

This weekend we packed up the Pilot and drove up to Philadelphia for my baby shower! My aunts and mom threw it for me. It was a lot of fun. I felt like I should look more pregnant though - is it really a baby shower unless the pregnant girl is about to burst? Anyhow, we had a baby duckie theme in full force:

It was really cute. And holy crap, was that cake good. Cream cheese frosting and a layer of fresh raspberries in the middle. Yum!
We got lots of great baby gifts, so I guess we really need to have the baby now. Yikes. For sure, we're going to have one well-dressed baby! If you're ever in need of a clever shower gift, here are two.
1) My cousin made a 'diaper cake'.

All of the layers are made up of rolled up diapers arranged around a central support. Then she used receiving blankets to surround each layer, and stuck a bunch of little baby stuff in for decoration. It was really cool, and a big hit with everyone.
2) A laundry-themed gift. I don't have a good picture of this one, but my mom's friend came with a covered up laundry basket. When I went to open it, she read a cute poem she had written about doing the baby's laundry, and two volunteers pulled out a big clothesline she had pinned a bunch of little clothes and socks and stuff too. Another big hit at the shower!

It was a lot of fun, and of course I love being the center of attention. I'm glad I got to have a shower too - I thought that being down here away from my family, I might not.

Over the rest of the weekend we visited with everyone. We stayed with my cousin and her husband, of baked bean fame. Speaking of baked beans: Now, I don't know who would do something like this (actually, I do!), but someone set this up on their patio.

My aunts and uncles all came over on Sunday and we ate and hung out. It was really nice to see everyone! We also got some practice for having a kid - we watched a million Baby Einstein videos and a Barbie movie. I'm ashamed to say that the Barbie movie wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

The weekend was nice, and a bit emotionally overwhelming. It was the first time I had driven this route since we did it the day after Ed died, so I kept reliving that day and remembering how I felt and what was happening. Then we saw all these people who I hadn't seen since the funeral. And my mom and dad gave us some nice stuff for the nursery, but it all had some sort of Ed connection - a dresser that we had all used (as well as our friend's two girls) where my mom had written all of our names and birthdates on the back, some antique airplane prints that had been up in Ed's room, a wooden plane that had been Ed's (my brothers each had one of these, but this one had Ed's name on it), several blankets that they had used to bring us all home from the hospital (one my dad even came home in). I'm glad Brian came with me, because it would have been hard without him.

A few links

Hey! I thought I got some strange searches leading to my blog (Yesterday? I saw one for "fried cervix". Eew). This guy's got us all beat.

Hm. Maybe just one link. I guess I forgot the rest.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Shampoo myths?

The Consumerist linked to this 'Ask Metafilter' post about shampoos. Do all the different, fancy shampoos really make any difference?

Several people mentioned one that I also think makes a difference: The Brilliant Brunette line from John Frieda. I love John Frieda anyhow, because he brings me Extra Strength Frizz-eaze. I don't know what I would do without Frizz-eaze. I used to use Brilliant Brunette, and I also noticed that it made a big difference in the shinyness of my hair. I've been using the Radiant Redhead lately, just to keep my red color from fading so fast, but I don't think its quite as good as the Brilliant Brunette.

Another hair products thing that I've noticed is the utility of the repeat step in 'Lather, Rinse, Repeat'. I try to skip at least one day in between washing my hair because it really isn't good for your hair to wash it every day - especially if its already all dried out from coloring it. By the end of the second day my hair would start to look and feel greasy. Now I wash twice before I condition. It makes a big difference. My hair looks fine on the second day, and I can even skip another day if I want. I always thought this was a ploy on the part of the shampoo manufacturers to get to you use more shampoo, but I really think it makes a difference (one you wouldn't notice if you always wash every day). I also heard this as a tip from some hair stylist or something, which is why I started trying it. I also heard that it helps to make sure your hair is really wet before you start lathering - most of us don't get our hair wet enough before we put the shampoo in and it isn't as effective. I do notice that on the second wash, its a lot easier to distribute the shampoo throughout my hair, and I'm guessing that this is why. Either that, or it lathers better when you have less build-up in your hair.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Pregnant or hitting the ice cream a little too hard?

This morning Brian and I went to Bruggers' Bagel shop before work - if I'm going to go into work on Saturday, I need a bagel and chai tea to sweeten the deal. When we went to sit down, there was a little girl (uh.... 3-ish?) and her father sitting nearby. The little girl kept saying to me 'You have a baby in your belly!'. Her father didn't really look up, but I'm guessing he was thinking 'Please, please, let her be pregnant and not just fat.'

When you're pregnant, all these things are going on with your body that you're not familiar with. Its kind of crazy. But we have all these books (not to mention the internet) that try to explain to you what is going on, so I feel pretty educated. Maybe too educated, because I find that I am also able to convince myself that something terrible is wrong with me. About 6 weeks ago I was sure I had an incompetent cervix. I was feeling some unfamiliar pains, so rather than conclude that it was stretching ligaments or something, I decided it was an incompetent cervix. Which is pretty rare. Anyhow, that obviously wasn't true. This week it was gestational diabetes. I've been concerned about that because we have a family history of type II diabetes and other blood sugar issues (one risk factor for GD) and i was a little overweight before i got pregnant (another risk factor, although I'm guessing they really mean being significantly overweight). I was really, deathly thirsty earlier in the pregnancy, around the time the books said that your blood volume was increasing dramatically. So that made sense. Then last week I was really thirsty again for a few days. Obviously I had GD. So I made my first rather panicked phone call to the OB nurse. She reassured me that I was fine, and probably going through a growth spurt. Phew. I hadn't had any unusual results on any of my tests so far or the size of the baby, which are two indicators of GD. So, again, I'm just crazy. At least for now. I've got my regularly scheduled glucose tolerance test in another month.

Friday, August 18, 2006


I sort of love this letter written by a... I'm assuming a disgruntled Wal-Mart employee?
Someday, you too might have to write a letter of complaint to the higher-ups in your company. I hope you can use this letter as a sort of style guide, in order to help you communicate your ideas in the most effective manner. Its just a public service I provide. Enjoy!

*A bonus style tip comes out in the comments section of the post: The letter was not just written entirely in CAPS, but also in italics and in red. Gives it a little extra punch, I think.

(from The Consumerist, of course)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Time for Brian to get up on his soapbox

Brian decided that my blog should be a place where he can complain about stuff. Tonight while we were watching TV, he found a lot to talk about.
1. Sell This House! We love the show 'Sell This House' on A&E. One of my favorite parts of the show is seeing what people thought constituted 'ready to show' (the other is seeing what crazily accessorized outfit Tanya Memme will be wearing, or whether Roger's freaking huge arms have gotten any bigger). I mean, people have so much crap, its astounding! And sometimes they don't bother cleaning! Seriously, one woman had her open house with dirty dishes in the sink. On one of the eps we saw tonight, this girl was trying to sell her house with several unfinished remodeling projects - like, the kitchen cabinets didn't have doors or drawer pulls. Mostly its just that people have insane amounts of clutter. Brian's fairly anal retentive, and I'm a reasonable decorator, so our house always looks good when we are selling. When we tried to sell this house last year, all the realtors who I interviewed said it showed like a model. Thank you, thank you. But really, when we do put our place on the market? We seriously de-clutter. We're like the freaking masters of decluttering. Brian more than me, but I help. Anyhow, on this show, the people have always had their house on the market for like, ever, and can't figure out why its not selling. Brian's soapbox moment for Sell This House is: What is wrong with these people's realtors?? Seriously. Are they high? Why have they not told the sellers what some of their problems are? Usually when they show the front of the house, you can see the sign advertising who the real estate agent is. Brian hopes these agents are suitably embarassed.

2. Sixteen Freaking Children! When we ran out of 'Sell this House' episodes in the DVR tonight, the TV was tuned into the Discovery Health Channel (which I secretly love). This show was on called '14 Children and Pregnant Again!' This family is 'letting God dictate how many children they have'. Super. Not to spoil it for you, but the next episode is called 'Raising 16 Children', and this woman hasn't hit menopause yet, so I'm sure this won't be the end of it either. The dad's name is Jim Bob. I'm just saying. Oh look. They have their own website. Brian's soapbox moment here is: ... Oh...actually, I'm sorry, his head just exploded.

One thing we can't figure out is, what happened to this woman? Look here. She's cute. Now, lets look here. OMG, the hair. And this picture is 4 years old, the hair has really only gotten worse. People, its a mullet. Its a mullet/1980s pouffy bangs combo. And its like twenty feet long. How do you have time to deal with this hair when you have 16 children? I don't understand. Also (and you're really missing out here by looking at that picture, because its so much better on the show), how do you have time to apply 6 inches of pink blush and garish red lipstick when you have 16 children? Really, the blush was out of control.

Also we're wondering how you have time to handmake all these dresses for your children? Because really, handmade is the only thing that can explain this.

Ok: Brian's soapbox moment for this is: These people seem to be being supported in large part by the generosity of others, which is great except: IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD IT, STOP HAVING FREAKING KIDS! Actually, I'm not totally sure about that as we really could not bear to watch the mullet anymore, and we turned the show off. But we did get that impression. And would it surprise you, really? I mean, who COULD afford 16 children?

One thing I will say is that the woman didn't appear to be crazy. The whole thing reminded me a little bit of Andrea Yates, the woman who killed all of her kids by drowning them in the bathtub. She was clearly suffering from a bad, extended case of postpartum depression. I always had the feeling that her husband was forcing her to continue to have kids. It obviously affected her mental state significantly, but he seemed to also have this attitude of 'letting God dictate how many children they had', despite what it was doing to his wife. So anyhow, she didn't seem to be as forced into it as I always felt like Andrea Yates seemed to be.

I'm sure there was another soapbox issue that Brian wanted me to discuss, but I can't remember it.

Spitty snorgle

Thus far, Milo (the dog) has been a bit of an outcast among the pets in the family. Cherry tries to be his friend, chasing him around and rubbing her head against him, but mostly just seems to be afraid of her. He sits there while she's rubbing up against him with a look on his face like 'If I don't move, maybe she will think I'm just a piece of furniture and go away.'

This morning I was on the computer and Jasmine (the new kitten) jumped up onto the desk to 'help'. She was partially soaked. Half of her head and some of her back was all wet, and I couldn't figure out why. Tonight, while I was getting dinner ready, I figured it out.

Apparently Milo likes one of the cats!
Look, she's completely covered with dog spit.

(Oh also, yes, I totally need to vacuum. Love the black rug and all, but with 4 cats and a long-haired dog? Vacuuming can be a full time job.)

I've finally made it.

Remember how Melissa used to get people finding her blog by searching for 'candid braless'? People don't find my blog with such exciting and illicit searches. I get the people looking for 'girls wearing flip-flops' or how to make a sidecar. Until now!

One little post about my ultrasound, and I start to get all the freaks! This week I've had:
Someone in Chesapeke, VA found my blog searching for 'picture of a little penis'
Someone in Williamsburg, VA found my blog searching for '"bachelorette" "uncircumcised"'

Hm. Actually its just people in Virginia. Well, all right then.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Field Guide to Sweaterboy

I haven't posted about Sweaterboy in a while, because he hasn't done anything any stranger than normal. That is... until now.
My lab mate said that last night she had had to come back into the lab. When she was right out in front of work, she saw a guy wearing shorts and no t-shirt, pulling a rollerboard suitcase behind him. Huh? I mean, when do you need a rollerboard? When you're traveling. But who travels shirtless? So, she was intrigued... and a closer look revealed that said weirdo was in fact Sweaterboy.

I'm really struggling to explain what the whole point of this is. Apparently this isn't the first time he's been spotted doing this - I don't know where I was when the first person told her story though, because I would have remembered that for SURE. Obviously I was out of town or something. Its really surprising because usually Sweaterboy is so overdressed for the weather. I mean, I don't know if you've heard? But its HOT here. Holy crap. This does not deter him from wearing jeans, a polo or t-shirt, and a sweater. So I'm surprised that in the after-hours he'd go practically naked. Also, whats in the rollerboard? I guess its probably the sweater and jeans of that day, but still, this is so bizarre.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Table!

Kendra just emailed me to tell me she had solved one of the great mysteries of our time: she figured out what the Table Channel was! She writes:

I figured out last night that the table channel was actually a portion of a swiffer commercial that must have gotten stuck somehow. I was watching T.V and I saw the Swiffer commercial for the carpet vac or what the hell ever it was and then the table channel picture came up!!!! And that thing that looks as though it’s part of a funky ‘80’s table really is a vacuum cord pulled too tight!

It was stuck like that ALL WEEKEND. Thats hilarious. I'm going to have to watch for this now. Now that we've got DVR, I never watch commercials anymore!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Tomato rice soup

Here's my mom's tomato rice soup recipe, which is my absolute favorite soup ever:

4 cups fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 sprigs parsley, roughly chopped
6 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
about half an onion, roughly chopped
3/4 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until everything is mushy. Remove the bay leaf (and cloves, if you can find them!) and puree in the blender. Add boiling water to the puree to bring the volume to 2 cups total. Add to this:

1/2 tsp baking soda

Meanwhile, make a thin white sauce. In a saucepan melt:

2 1/2 tsp butter

Whisk in:

2 1/2 tsp flour

Cook until it gets golden and nutty smelling

Whisk in:

2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp salt

Cook until thickened. Add to the white sauce:

1 cup cooked rice

Stir the tomato puree into the rice/white sauce mixture and serve.


We've got a family of three foxes that we've been seeing recently hunting something in the ex-drainage pond (now filled in) in our backyard. I got a few pictures.

Pictures of Studs Chadwick

Okay folks, brace yourselves. We've got photo proof that an alien is living inside of me.
Here's the BOY picture I was telling you about.

Here's a picture of the baby's head in profile.

Here's a similar profile shot, but the baby's MOUTH IS OPEN. Holy crap. It moves. Also, you can see a hand near its head (towards the top - left side) in this one.

Here's a picture of its feet.

And here's a totally freaky picture of its face from the front.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Sky King, cats, and tomato season

I'm a bad, bad blogger. I know. Things have been busy! My mom left on Sunday and finally made it home, after a long delay for her connecting flight in DC. She was flying United, and the pilot for that flight hadn't shown up, and they couldn't find him either. They did finally find him, but he was like, an hour away from the airport (although, in DC I imagine you could be 5 miles away from the airport and still be an hour away). I think an alternate pilot ended up showing up and doing it. They finally got into Manch-vegas at 12:45 am, so poor mom didn't get to the house until after 1 am.

We had a lot of fun buying stuff for the nursery. Brian and I had decided that a boy was going to get an airplane theme, so I cashed in all my Pottery Barn gift certificates (from our Citibank Rewards card!) on some cute airplane bedding, and a matching rug.

Aaaand, since they had it, and it was being discontinued, we bought the matching Full/Queen Quilt and pillowshams for the transition to a big boy bed. The airplane theme is especially applicable, because my mom clarified that my dad is not kidding about the whole 'Sky King' thing. I really thought he was just winding me up. So, we're going to have Grandmom (actually, her title hasn't yet been determined) and Sky King... Sky for short.
We also went to an actual Gap Maternity store in Raleigh, where my mom bought me some more clothes, and I got a bathing suit. My current suit is still workable, but we're going to the beach in September for our departmental retreat, and I'm bound to need something different then.
On Saturday, we went to USA Baby and I found a crib I liked on sale. That was a relief, even though we still had plenty of time to order it. I hadn't found anything that I liked.
My mom and I also came up with a good baby name: Studs Chadwick. This name came from a list of English baby names that Brian had printed out for us. I think its a winner! Also suggested has been Chadwick Chadwick, or Chad Chadwick for short. Thats nice, but I think I'm going with Studs. Remember also that in 4th grade I was in love with Steve Studley. If I had married him? Studs Studley.

So, many baby things are taken care of. Thats good, because before the baby comes, I've got two papers to try to get out (one from this lab, one from my PhD which is STILL LYING AROUND!), a grant due, and a review to write. I'm happy to get as much out of the way now as possible. Next up is PAINT.

Speaking of baby, about 2 days ago I felt a definitive baby movement. Yesterday I could feel it again while I was working on the microscope.

Other than that, I've just been busy at work.

Our tomatoes are starting to ripen, which is exciting. The summer tomato season begins! This morning I had my traditional tomato season breakfast of sliced tomato on english muffin with cheese, plus the rest of the tomato with salt and pepper. And I made the traditional tomato season dinner of tomato rice soup (my favorite soup ever!) on Wednesday. And we had the other traditional tomato season dinner while my mom was still here, pasta with tomatoes, basil, garlic and pine nuts.

I knew this was going to happen eventually, given that we've got 4 cats, but we're officially up to a three-cats-in-the-bed total now. Luckily Jasmine still doesn't take up much room. Between us, three cats and my snoogle (allowing me to blissfully sleep on my left side), there's not much room in the bed. Of course, Beamish the Invisi-cat doesn't figure into the 3 cat total.

It is hot here. I know its hot everywhere, but thats not going to stop me from complaining. In the winter though, when I'm not shoveling my driveway? I'll be glad about it. At work, we're all very excited about taking a lunch field trip to the institute across the lake from us, which is rumored to have a way better cafeteria, but this is going to have to wait until a day where we will not spontaneously combust doing so. My poor friend Deb is about 35 weeks pregnant right now, and I do not envy her. In fact, I'm feeling a little bit glad that I didn't get pregnant right away, or else that would have been me.

Still trying to get the ultrasound pics up. We don't have a scanner, and I keep forgetting to get Brian to bring them into work.

We're going on a date tonight to Starlu, which Brian has been to before and like a lot. I've never been there, because we forget about wanting to go there until we're nearby, on our way to Foster's dressed like scientists (i.e. jeans), which is not dressy enough for Starlu. The menu looks good, so I'm excited!