Monday, May 30, 2005

Whedon stuff

I haven't checked the Slayage site in a while, so I didn't know until now that volume 16 is out (only two months after the fact).

It includes an interesting article on the last season of Angel (including what season six would have been about) and another on the character of Spike.

There's also an episode guide to Firefly look for the link on the left hand side), as well as lots of quotes from the DVD commentaries of the show.

It's good to get my fix.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Natural Born Killers

This is a movie which never appealed to me when it first showed at the cinemas, and which we only have on DVD because the boy reckons its a great movie, a classic (actually, I bought it for him for Christmas). I only watched it for the first time last night, and I have to say it was one of the more unpleasant movies I've seen.

I get that Oliver Stone was trying to make a statement about the imbecilic glorification of serial and mass murderers. All the same, I didn't enjoy the relentless violence used to make his point.

The killers, Mallory and Mickey, are horrible to everyone else but totally loving to each other. It's this romanticism of theirs, and possibly also their youth and physical attractiveness, which allows them to pump bullets into innocent people (that is, when they aren't raping them, knifing them or beating them senseless) and yet become popular heroes. I get that.

But I would've felt better if they'd come to a sticky end. I always prefer to see a bit of justice being done.

Getting prepped

Thirty weeks and a bit, and it definitely feels closer to the big day. The belly seems to have undergone another growth spurth, resulting in my constant feeling of squashed-up-ness.

I knew from the diagrams that, as the uterus gets bigger to accomodate the growing baby, your lungs, intestines, stomach - just about everything else - is displaced into the ever-decreasing available body space. I just didn't realise quite how uncomfortable it was going to make me.

My mum's getting psyched too. She's been less and less demanding of me for weeks now; mum's advised me to get the boy to hang out the washing for me because our clothesline is up several steps, and even offered to stump up the cash for taxi fares so I can get to work in greater comfort (although I'll keep bussing and walking for as long as possible, just for the exercise).

We had another look at the baby gear shops and once again left without buying anything, only this time at least we have a list of the big-ticket items we'll get when the boy gets around to actually buying anything:

1) one of those vibrating baby chairs, as seen on Sex and the City (not one of Samamtha's sex toys, Miranda has one for her son)

2) a car seat of some sort for 6 months and over - we'll probably rent an infant-sized one from the Plunket Society

3) a portable cot which comes with 2 mattress layers (the higher one for newborn and the lower one for over 6 months) and a nappy change platform

4) several punk t-shirts, 'cos the boy just won't be able to resist

5) a buggy which can accomodate both infant-size and older

We went to a kiddie-gear fair today, a fundraiser for a local playcentre. I was disappointed that most of the stuff was clothing (although there were three buggies for sale), because I was hoping to know, gear. Still, I managed to spend over one hundred bucks on used clothing and a couple of new fleece blankets. Everything was just so cute that it was hard not to buy stuff.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Misery, or The Perils of Enforced Starvation

I suppose there are several reasons why the act of fasting is so unattractive to me.

My upbringing, of course, has much to do with it. In my family, food is an opportunity to show love and an excuse to have friends and family around.

Food isn't just fuel, it's important enough to be particular about quality even if it means spending large amounts of time and money on obtaining and preparing it.

You all know about my sweet tooth. An anticipated trip to the bakery is sometimes all it takes to turn me from a grumpy-drawers into someone pleasant to be with. You also know about my inability to go more than about three hours without food, without getting Shaky, Grumpy and Weakly (the three hypoglycaemia dwarfs).

And this is why I felt so much suffering this morning, when I had to get some blood tests done for possible gestational diabetes.

It was one of those tests where you can't eat for about twelve hours prior. In the three and a half hours I was at the laboratory, I had blood drawn from my arm three times, one hour apart. Between 9.30 last night and 10.30 this morning, my food intake consisted solely of a glass of sickly sweet drink (part of the test) which made me feel nauseous. Nausea on top of severe hunger, on top of tiredness because I had to get out of bed half an hour early, is not a pleasant thing.

Between leaving the lab and getting to the bus stop, all of ten paces, I inhaled two small bananas, followed by a large cheese sandwich. I stopped shaking after I got to work and had a cup of tea and a meat pie.

I'm going to be so disappointed if the results come back positive.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I've been trying to read Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. Because I'm enough of a book snob to sneer at those lightweight romances, family sagas and run-of-the-mill thrillers, I thought I'd try something a little more literary.

There's really something quite off-putting about a novel in which every sentence requires me to pick up my dictionary. Especially when some of the words in those sentences aren't even in the dictionary.

I wonder, could I just toss the book aside as pretentious rubbish which only the most high-brow member of the literati would appreciate?

Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake is proving to be much more forgiving.

Dominatrix Bear

The raciest thing since Transvestite Barbie, here is Dominatrix Bear.

Not as furry as I've have expected

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Too sweet

What a tragedy. I've been instructed to lay off the sweets, because the results of my Glucose Challenge Test (which sounds like a reality tv show, but isn't) indicate that my blood sugar levels are a teensy bit higher than they ought to be.

When I found out, I thought back guiltily to the pillow-sized French pastry I had for lunch. And the chocolate bar I snacked on last night, which was a preggy prezzie from a friend. And the giant blueberry muffin in the fridge. And the biscuits and gourmet ice cream.

For I have a sweet tooth matched only by the that of the boy, who is English and therefore has a very sweet tooth indeed.

To add further suffering to this Lent-like sacrifice, I have to go for more tests on Thursday - this time I have to fast. That means nothing except water may pass my lips between 9.30pm Wednesday and whenever the tests finish on Thursday (hopefully no later than 10am).

Fasting of any sort is a minor catastrophe for my metabolism, because I'm the sort of person who has to eat frequently in order to avoid feeling weak, lethargic and horribly grumpy.

Meanwhile I'll cross my fingers and hope I don't develop gestational diabetes.

The once-fashionable body pillow

It's been recommended to me by some of you commenters that I try sleeping with a body pillow at night, to help fix my frequent insomnia. I still haven't quite figured out how it's supposed to work, but I want one anyway (despite the boy's assertion that he is a perfectly adequate body pillow for me).

Well, the little buggers are proving hard to come by.

In the weekend we tried three different bedware shops in town - none sold them, although they all used to. Apparently they were all the rage just a year or two ago. By the time I'd been disappointed that many times, my bump had started to complain so we went home.

I rang a few places. Bedpost has two shops - the more distant one definitely has them, the nearer one possibly has them. I did a little dance of triumph and resolved to drive over to the nearer shop.

The man at Bedpost shook his head and told me they used to have them, but not any more. But he did promise to get one for me overnight.

The other positive thing to come out of my unsuccessful trip into town was that I didn't have to come home empty-handed. Just a couple of doors down is a French bakery, its display case crammed full of highly edible goodies with unpronouncable (unless you can speak French) names.

Far from having made a completely wasted journey, I returned with booty - a large, round, almond-topped, vanilla cream-stuffed eclair - almost the size of a pillow.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Ten things I've never done

Draic has invited me to take up the Ten things I've never done baton. Since I'm incapacitated with the snottiest cold I've had for quite a while, and I'm not likely to be doing anything exciting instead, I may as well run with it.

1. I've never watch a live rock concert from the shoulders of a boyfriend. This is kind of unfortunate, because I'm only five feet tall and fate always puts tall people with afros in front of me at concerts. That's why, when I went to see Prince in Edinburgh, I didn't actually get to see him.

2. I've never broken a bone, although I have suffered ankle sprains (from aerobics), severe bruising (from playing cricket) and knee problems (from playing Ultimate). If you've ever watched the tv show Kath and Kim, then you'll know what I mean when I say that this makes me sound worryingly like Sharon.

3. I've never been married. I do, very occassionally, give the boy a hard time about the fact that he still hasn't made any moves toward rectifying the situation; with a baby on the way though, it's hardly good timing for an ultimatum.

4. I've never been rollerblading. But I have been rollerskating, and managed not to sprain anything. I figure that I'm too old for learning skills which require balance, after unsuccessfully trying to learn to ride a pushbike at the age of twenty.

5. I've never bungy-jumped. Not that I'm scared of heights, but I am scared of my eyeballs popping out on the rebound.

6. I've never belly-danced in public. I was quite happy to dance at the classes (in my tracksuit pants), but when we had our end of year party at a local Turkish restaurant, I was one of the very few who didn't turn up with a spangly bra and shake my booty in front of strangers.

7. I've never seen myself on television. However, I have been caught onscreen during a news segment about student unemployment. I did wonder why there were so many bright lamps on in front of the job notices. Anyway, I do not have a television face, so I'm grateful I never saw myself - the pysychological damage would have required years of therapy.

8. I have never been mugged. When I was in Africa I kept meeting backpackers who'd been mugged in Johannesburg. By the time I got there myself, I was so paranoid I refused to leave the hostel after dark unless it was as part of a group. Well, that worked.

9. I have never given blood. The only time I tried to, I was refused because I was underweight (that was certainly a silver lining in the cloud!). Then I put on weight and couldn't give blood because I was always on medication for hayfever or something else. Now I can't give blood because I was in the UK during the Mad Cow years.

10. I have never been to a male strip revue. Somehow the hens nights I've been to weren't that kind of hens night. But I have had a male stripper at my birthday once. That was probably enough.

Friday, May 20, 2005


If you had a mate who was going to Asia and offered to bring back cheap, pirated copies of any DVDs you wanted, because it was only going to cost you a couple of bucks each, what DVDs would be on your list?

DVDs ain't cheap, which is why I tend to leave the DVD buying in this household, to the boy. That's why we have so many movies based on graphic novels, and huge gaping holes in our Buffy/Angel collections. So if money wasn't an issue (and in my mind, it usually is), what would I ask for?

Firstly, fill that damnned gaping hole - that means getting Buffy Seasons 5 and 7, and season 6 part two.

It also means getting Angel season 5.

Secondly, the entire Baby Genius collection, for the little one who is to come.

I wouldn't mind supplementing my favourite comedy, Zoolander, with some more of Ben Affleck's wonderful work - Meet the Parents and Dodgeball would be a good start.

I loved The Emperor and the Assassin, so I'd get that just to show the boy that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ain't all that.

As yet I can't decide whether to go for Star Trek season two, or the entire Seinfeld series. Sometimes nostalgia just isn't what it used to be.

Maybe another X-Files season, I'm not sure. We already have the seasons 1-4 and I know that by the time the whole alien conspiracy story arc was wrapped up it was only a matter of episodes before I stopped watching the show religiously.

Oh, and also Best in Show, The Mighty Wind, and that one about the two crooks who arrive in town masquerading as little-girl pageant coaches.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


I seem to have finally hit that stage when it's really really obvious to people that I'm pregnant. It's hard to look pregnant in the winter, because I've got my big bear-sized coat on when I go outside and I probably just look blubbery.

For the last couple of days now, when I get on a crowded bus I don't even have to say 'Excuse me, I'm pregnant - can I sit down?'. I might have to excuse myself, but that's it. And yesterday a young guy offered me his seat even without me looking in his direction. It really helps to unbutton my coat and let it all hang out (so to speak).

In the weekend, one of my neighbours whom I don't really know except by sight, walked past me as I retrieved my recycling bin from the footpath. We said 'hi', as neighbours do, but then he carried on and congratulated me on my mother-to-be-ness. This from a guy who usually doesn't say a word to me.

On the other hand, when I'm sitting on a park bench gorging myself on a giant-sized potato-top mince pie, I wonder if people walking past are thinking that I'm eating all the wrong food for a pregnant woman - maybe they're silently lambasting me for not eating home-made salad and hummous.

Today I bought a book called Bestfeeding, recommended to me by my GP. Amazing that something which is supposed to be such a natural thing i.e. breastfeeding, is so un-simple in practice that it takes a team of experts to write hundreds of pages on how to do it properly. How on earth do women in third-world countries manage?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Gawd, I've got months of getting bigger, heavier and clumsier to go and already I feel sick of being so big, heavy and clumsy all the time. Every time I get up to walk around I can feel a load of weight pressing on my bladder. Eating a sandwich and reading the newspaper at the same time is uncomfortable just because that particular activity requires me to lean forward.

The boy has been very understanding; he gives me hugs, encouragment and - today - pink roses.

I visited another child care centre today, after work. This time it's one that's just down the road from work. Like the previous one, it's noisy, separated into one space for babies and another for preschoolers, full of toys and craft materials and staffed by young women with qualifications in Early Childhood Learning. Unlike the last one, the toilets weren't seem to take up a large part of the space, so there wasn't that faint toilety smell around the place. That's got to be a plus.

I dunno. Thinking about putting my kid into a place like this makes me feel a little depressed, because it means thinking about getting my baby out into the big wide world already - before I've even given birth much less bonded with it, learned to live around it's sleep patterns and taught it to enjoy being with other people. I should really stop thinking so far ahead, and concentrate on looking for cute, yet practical, baby strollers, cots and nursery decor.

Think pink roses.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Starbuck's a girl

The boy bought three DVDs over the weekend - The Punisher, Battlestar Galactica (the pilot of the re-make of the 1970's series) and The Dark Crystal.

Thankfully I was spared The Punisher. Most films based on graphic novels I can do without. John Travolta was in this one, but that wasn't enough to entice me.

The Dark Crystal was okay. Probably the funniest thing in it was the girl-Muppet's pet, which looked like the head of a homeless man (just the head), encased in fur and yaps instead of talks.

Battlestar Galactica was actually more fun than I'd expected, although just a little too military. Apparently changing star fighter-pilot Starbuck into a butch girl (who is yet still Hollywood-pretty) and giving the other star fighter-pilot Apollo some father-son angst, were two major changes from the original.

Of the original, I only remember that I thought the title was ridiculously cheesy and that the commander was played by that old guy from Bonanza (Lorne Greene. Anyone get the Angel connection?).

The boy was indignant that the show's "villain", a computer genius whose lust for a blond in a painted-on red dress eventually leads to humanity's fall against the robot race, had an English accent. He thinks the Americans always make the villains English. Not true - they're usually Middle Eastern, German or Asian. English accents are more likely to be given to campy gays, snobs and, if Cockney, streetwise crooks-with-a-heart.

Monday, May 16, 2005

I'm not bad - I'm just drawn that way Posted by Hello

I thought it would be oh-so boring to simply take a photo of my big preggy self and post it to the blog. A drawing is so much more subtle (and, comfortingly, a lot less accurate). It took me six attempts to produce the version on the right - one in which my body parts aren't completely out of proportion. That's what happens when you stop drawing for more than a year, I guess.

So anyway, this is more or less what I look like at nearly 29 weeks. Actually, I'm a little bigger than I look in the drawing because I couldn't quite get the rotundity right.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Hitichhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I wasn't going to go see this at first, because I've always been a devotee of the BBC radio series (which I had recorded on cassette tape), the tv series and the books (including a book of the radio series scripts). I'm almost a Hitchhiker-nerd, except I don't tend to quote the funny bits (because I can't remember them word for word) and I've never felt the urge to attend a science fiction convention dressed as Arthur Dent (well, once...but I didn't go through with it).

I'd read bad reviews and good-ish reviews of the film. In the end the only reason we went to see it was because the boy wanted to watch it anyway, just to confirm the negative reviews.

It sure was important to have low expectations beforehand.

Lots of the funny bits from the books etc were in the film - unfortunately for me, they didn't make me laugh because they were so familiar and yet somehow not the same. I suppose it's like going to a pantomine and finding the performers have changed their lines just enough to jar you. And I was so used to hearing various characters speak in a certain way that it felt strange to hear it said differently, by different actors - wrong, somehow.

There were a couple of new funny bits - like when the white mice are about to feel Dent's wrath and exclaim "Bollocks!" (you'd have to be there). Also, the Vogons look really good as hunch-backed beauracrats - but Marvin looked a bit too cute. I was disappointed, too, that the Golgafrinchans didn't get a look in.

Probably the best part was the tour of Slartibartfast's work floor - really nicely done. Probably the worst parts were the lovey-dovey bits.

It wasn't a complete waste of time and money then, although it was just long enough for my infamous sore-bum afflication to return.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Third trimester opera

There's an opera coming up - Don Giovanni. I've never been to this particular opera, but it's the boy's favourite (he loves Mozart, which is surely a little unusual for a Metallica and Marilyn Manson fan). He's really keen for us to go, and I would be too, except there's one small thing which makes me hesitate before plonking down the credit card and committing us to a couple of not-too-cheap, non-refundable tickets.

By the date of the performance, I will be around 35 weeks pregnant; there's a good chance I'll have to pee during during acts (a big no-n0), and an even better chance that the kicking will distract me from the warbling. There's even a small chance that I'll go into labour in the middle of the show - wouldn't that be embarrassing. What if there's a fire? I'd have to get my hefty and not-too-agile self down all those stairs in the midst of a crowd of panicking non-pregnant people.

I asked the midwife whether she thought it would be a bad idea to plan to go to a three-hour show at that stage. She wasn't too helpful though; it depends on the individual and can't be predicted how comfortable, or not, something like this would be.

Then my boss told me that, at 35 weeks, she got on a long distance flight between Singapore to New Zealand. That's 10 hours in the air plus transit time in airports. Travelling in a plane doesn't quite compare, since once you're in the air you can get up and go to the toilet or whatever (though tight-fitting, apparently it is possible to manoeuvre a third-trimester tummy into and out of an airplane toilet). Still, I bet she spent a lot of time sitting in a cramped space though.

So I took the plunge. I was careful to choose aisle seats though, because even if the boy can stretch out his long legs in front of him, I'll be more secure knowing I can get to the ladies' without accidentally hitting someone with my bum or my tum.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

a weighty matter

Apparently it's no longer routine to get weighed during midwife visits. After reading in this book and that, that I can expect to put on about 10 kgs more up to the moment of childbirth, I've been extremely curious as to how I compare.

I don't own any scales at home. I never saw any point in knowing my weight when I could tell very easily by the fit of my jeans whether I'd been overindulging from the bakery section at Pak'n'Save. Pregnancy's different though, because supposedly all the weight I put on is weight I'm meant to put on. During pregnancy, there is no such thing as overindulging. There is only the act of keeping up one's blood sugar levels.

So I asked the midwife today whether I could weigh myself on her scales. I've put on about 6kgs. Doesn't sound like a heck of a lot, does it? But then, I was no lightweight to start with; the books say that you put on more, the lighter you were to start with. The midwife assured me that regardless of how much I put on, it will all come off after the birth and a bit of breastfeeding. Right then, I could think of several women who, a year or more after giving birth, still had a pregnancy tummy. I'll believe her, but thousands wouldn't.


It's really strange. In my mail today I found a cheque for a nice amount of money, presumably from some transaction involving shares. I don't recognise the name of the firm, and don't as a rule go around buying shares all over the place. It's so bizarre. It's possible that it's a mistake of course, and the cheques was meant for someone else, but I think I'll bank that cheque before that's confirmed.

The great childcare hunt. Already.

I've been told that it pays to get in early when it comes to finding childcare, so I've started my search already. Despite the fact that I won't be needing it until next January at the earliest, I've already made up a tentative list of places near work or home, and I visited the first one this afternoon.

I really don't know what to expect from a childcare centre, or what kind of criteria to use when deciding on the merits of this place I visited, unannounced. It was smallish, but packed with toys, kiddie furniture and crafty stuff. All the staff had qualifications of one sort or another, in early childhood learning; the woman who gave me the tour said she had six grown-up offspring of her own, so she's obviously had a lot of practice.

Allergies and health-specific instructions are noted each time a child arrives, and I noticed on the whiteboard in the toilets that if a child needs all-over moisturising after each nappy change then it's all there for the staff to see. It's also five minutes walk from my house and, importantly, the daily fee is less than my daily earnings.

It's also kind of noisy - not the kind of place I myself would be happy to spend all day in - but then if I were a little child this might be exactly the kind of place I'd want to spend all day in. Kids seem to love expressing themselves at top volume, and the under 2s have a little noise-proof room to nap in.

One thing I really liked about the place was that each child has a scrapbook in which the staff record what the child's been up to - milestones are noted and photos and arwork are pasted in. I can imagine that would be bloody useful for parents who work full-time and would otherwise miss so much of their child's development.

I've already put my name on the waiting list (and yes, there already is one), but in the next few weeks I'll be visiting some more places just for comparison (in case there is such a thing as a childcare centre with sweet-smelling toilets, tons of room and low noise levels).

Anyone got pearls of wisdom to add?

Monday, May 09, 2005

mother-to-be's day

Until recently, Mother's Day was all about my mum; my mother, my brother and I always had a big dinner, for which she'd spent a couple of hours or more preparing. We would have bought expensive gifts, none of which she liked unless it was either something which massaged a body part, or cash.

In the last couple of years, the day has been celebrated separately by all of us; my brother and his family did Mother's Day in their home, my mother celebrated at her church, and all I had to do was buy a nice card and put some cash in it.

Now that I'm mere months away from being a mother myself, I found myself wistfully thinking that this time next year I'd be getting The Boy's equivalent of breakfast in bed (whatever that's going to be).

So I was a bit surprised when the boy jumped the gun somewhat, and asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day yesterday. We were strolling around the museum shop fingering the possum-mink jumpers and eyeing up the greenstone jewellery and fabulous art pottery at the time. I couldn't bring myself to point to any of those items because they were really really expensive (there's a greenstone thingamajig for over 16 grand in there). I told him to buy me a cake instead, but here's the thing - what the hell am I going to ask for next year?

Hmmm...probably a paid cleaner.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

a labour story

The Editter put me onto this madlib - you enter an assortment of words and it constructs a wee story for you. And below is mine...

"Is that milk or did my water just break?" The boy wondered aloud.
"shit! Call the foot," shouted Mum, grabbing the town and running into the bathroom.
Holding her arms, The boy pissed like an huge shoe toward the bag.
"Remember what they said to do - to get through the contractions, you need to hit, hit, hit," Mum said painfully.
"Calm down! If this is labor, I'm Johnny Depp."
"But we have to be ready! Do you have a focal point?"
"Yes," The boy said. "The trolley."
"I'll go see if I can slowly fit it in the toyota camry. You stay here and dribble," yelled Mum, and ran out the door.
The boy shouted back into the bathroom and sniffed. Maybe it was milk, after all.

Go on, have a try for yourself and send me your stories.

Friday, May 06, 2005

unreality tv

We've been watching Lost religiously, and even though I wonder whether the series will ever resolve all those peculiar and unexplainable events which seem to happen on the island, I still find it compelling to watch.

Now, I know it's a fantasy - after all there're monsters in that show, as well as paraplegics who can suddenly get up and walk and drug addicts who can go cold turkey within the space of a couple of episodes - so I don't know quite why I was so surprised to see...

Claire, the heavily pregnant woman, sleeping on her back.

Oooh, that's such a no-no. Obviously the actress isn't really pregnant or else we'd be hearing her moan a lot more when she's moving around. She's also be trying to sleep on her side, and maybe not succeeding. Also - though maybe this is because she's quite a bit younger than myself - she walks and runs like a normal person i.e. without waddling or feeling the need to hold up her large belly away from her bladder.

That's tv for you.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Florence in '94 - them were the days

I don't have an awful lot to write about today (though some of you will wonder what's the difference between today and every other day that I blog), so I thought I'd rummage through my old travel diaries and pick out what happened on the 5th of May, 1994 (not quite the last time I did anything exciting).

On this day I arrived in Florence. I'd nearly missed the train getting there, because it'd arrived at a different platform than expected, and left earlier than expected. The youth hostel was really pretty, like the one in Verona - it had carrara ceilings and ceiling frescoes, and looked really grand.

My first touristy stop was the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge apparently once full of jewellers' shops; now it's full of souvenir stands. Then, while I was wandering about looking for the Thomas Cook office and a place to process my 14 rolls of film (I was about five months into my travels by then), I bumped into a guy whom I'd met on the bus to the hostel. Once a mid-Westerner and now a Seattlelite, Mike was in the midst of a Kurt Cobain makeover (without the Prozac, the rock chick girlfriend, and the record deal). He seemed really interesting because he played in a band back home, made his own movies and shared my love of Utimate (some call it frisbee football). We followed each other around the green-, pink- and white-striped Duomo, shared calzone and talked in the freezing cold hostel garden until curfew at 11pm.

It was in Florence that I was "caught short" and went into a cafe solely to use its customer toilet. Being an honest sort of person, I made the effort of buying and imbibing an expresso first so I'd qualify as a legitimate customer. Having added dangerously to my already full-capacity bladder levels, not to mention the diuretic effect of the caffeine, I was not at all pleased to discover that this cafe had no toilets.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

It's the little things that make you want to go postal

I wish I was one of those can't-be-fazed people, but I'm not. And it's always those little irritations that make me mad.

Like the fact that, even though I have a fairly large mailbox designed to hold A4-size envelopes, the postie always manages to deposit my mail half-in, half-out. This wouldn't normally bother me, but it's been raining cats and dogs for the last couple of days and all my mail got soaked.

Or when I take my mother to the chemist to collect her repeat prescriptions. Being old and having the kind of fragile health which afflicts those who're old, she has a million types of medication. Sometimes the doctor omits something essential from his prescription, and other times the pharmacist misses something. So every time she collects her pills and what-not she has to pour all the boxes onto the floor before poring over them, just in to ensure everything is there. And I, the one who can no longer bend with ease, am the one who has to squat down and move those pill boxes around for her. If there's a discrepancy, I get to hear about it for the next hour.

Not to mention being really keen to get home and put my feet up, but being stalled at every controlled intersection. Some traffic lights are unbelievably quick to change, and sometimes it seems that I'm the one doomed to get every yellow light because the driver in front of me didn't know whether he wanted to turn left or go straight.

Whew - I feel a little better now. Thanks for listening.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The end of the second trimester

According to one of the pregnancy books I've been reading, the second trimester ends with the beginning of week 28. I'm almost 27 weeks, which means that I can now officially say hello to swollen body parts (apart from my tummy which, of course, has been swollen for a while now), breathlessness, lower back pain and the inability to walk quickly or without an accompanying pressure on my bladder.

I'm already on quite good terms with sleeplessness, nosebleeds and taking five minutes to change positions on the couch. Last week I was introduced to light-headedness and inconvenient fainting.

The latest bit of terrifying information I've read about it episiotomies. This is when the surgeon makes a cut down there to give the baby a bigger opening to come out of. Apparently if the cut isn't made, sometimes the woman can tear from clitorus to anus. Yikes. It made me think of that bit in Up the Duff where, after reading about caesareans and vaginal births, our pregnant heroine decides she doesn't want either.

I've also started reading books on what to do with the little blighter after the big day. One, What to expect in the first year, is a great big telephone directory-sized book. No doubt everything in there is both useful and accurate, but it makes me wonder why there aren't diplomas in parenthood on offer. After all, looking after a baby is supposed to be very important, and it sounds really hard; yet woman are generally expected to just pick it up somehow, eh?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Swoon II - the Internet lookup

Following my mysterious blackout on Wednesday, I decided to look up fainting and pregnancy on the Internet.

Babycentre says that it's not uncommon because the heart rate goes up, more blood is being pumped and the amount of blood in the system expands (by 40-45%). Apparently, now is about the time my blood pressure is at its lowest.

Then I found a discussion group, in which one woman says she's been pregnant fifteen times! When I saw that number, I stopped looking for stuff about fainting.

So I looked up parenthood records...

- Most number of children - 69, over a period of 40 years. 67 of them survived past infancy
- Youngest mother - 5 years, 7 months
- Youngest father - 12 years
- Oldest mother - 63 years, 9 months
- Oldest father - 93 years, 10 months

And a couple of rather interesting FAQs here:

- Highest number of children given birth to at one time - 9 (none survived past a week)
- It takes longer to give birth to boys than to girls