27 February 2007

family dining experiment, night two

Another reasonable success, though not as good as last night. Clearly it is going to take me a few weeks to come up with dishes all three of us will eat. Tonight it was stir-fried veggies and tofu with rice. Oliver ate a bit of everything except the vegetables, of course, even using a spoon for the rice. He did try a bite of red pepper but made a face and that was it. He didn't eat nearly as much as last night but I'm not worried. We seem to be moving in the right direction.

26 February 2007

the great family dining experiment

Our typical schedule is to feed Oliver his dinner around 6pm, after we get home. After I put him to bed, around 7:30, I would cook for CD and me. CD generally prefers a later dinner. I don't like to eat so close to bedtime but I've adapted over the years.

Oliver has turned into a somewhat finicky eater of late, likely of our own making, having more to do with manipulation and power than food. We would ask him what he wanted for dinner, make it, and shortly thereafter watch him throw it on the floor and ask for something else. The more we obliged, the more difficult mealtimes became. A few days ago I suggested to CD that we try family meals when we move to the new house. It's been a hot topic on a few of the blogs that I read and all the arguements in favor made a lot of sense. Yesterday, much to my surprise, he suggested we start immediately.

Oliver has been stretching bedtime a bit so we decided dinner could be around 7pm for all of us, in the dining room. I made veggie raddiatore with chicken sausage. The results were amazing. Oliver ate plenty of both pasta and sausage. He was happy and engaging, and didn't try to throw anything.

I have to assume this was just first-timer's luck and the novelty will wear off, but I hope to enjoy it for a while.

23 February 2007

trains are fun

It's been way too long since I posted a picture of Oliver. I've been taking pictures of the house but keep forgetting to get it out to capture Oliver's antics. Will try to do better.


This photo is of the master bathroom shower. I love the tile (thank you JT!!). More photos of the progress on the house are at Flickr.

Tile is about one third done in the kids' bath too. The kitchen backsplash is the other major tile project and it hasn't started. It has to wait for the countertops and no one knows when those will arrive.

The move is in 27 days.

22 February 2007

do I need a new obstetrician in week 33?

So the fun just never ends with the UTI. I went to the OB yesterday and was prescribed an antibiotic. I picked it up on the way home. Two pills a day for three days and it cost less than 3 bucks. The pharmacist said it was rated "C" for pregnancy, meaning there were insufficient studies on humans to make a safety judgement. He also passed the buck, saying my OB probably knew what she was doing. Hmmm....

Before I took any of the pills I did a quick check on the web to see what I could find out. Safefetus says it's really a B, though that changes to D near term. I kept searching and found far too many seemingly-valid sites that said this drug should not be given to pregnant women, especially in the third trimester. The risk seems to be extreme jaundice resulting in brain damage, but I also found cleft palates and a few other things mentioned. Seemed like brain damage would be a good thing to avoid so I called the OB office back.

When they called me back (since it is always phone tag with them) they said not to worry, of course, and to take the drug. It's the only one for what I have, since I can't have penicillin, it's only three days, and if I were in week 38 or 39, they would not give it to me.

After thinking it over, I took the pill this morning. Though the UTI is asymptomatic, it has the potential to turn into some really unpleasant situations. I am not generally this trusting of the medical community and it's leading me to seriously consider whether I'm using the right practice. Everything was fine with Oliver, but that was a very easy and uncomplicated pregnancy. It feels like this one has been just plain icky from the start. It's not the doc's fault but they haven't done much to make it easier. I haven't seen my primary OB in months. I know I don't get to choose who is on call when I finally go into labor but she's the only one I am truly comfortable with. Granted, she wasn't around much during Oliver's delivery but my confidence level isn't high with the others in the practice.

Looks like I need to keep thinking about this. I'll probably go into labor before I make a decision.

20 February 2007


TMI warning -- bodily fluid alert -- bail out while you still can!

My OB called this afternoon to say a urine sample I gave two weeks ago came back positive for an infection. Back on January 3rd I peed in a cup for an insurance company. About three weeks later they told me a decision on whether to give me a policy was "deferred". They knew I was pregnant but apparently do not know that it is pointless to test cholesterol levels in pregnant women. A letter from my OB should solve that problem, though why they can't just do a Google search like the rest of us is baffling. It took me less than a minute to discover this handy tidbit.

When I saw the report they also flagged a tiny amount of red blood cells in my urine. I asked my OB about it and they decided to do a culture at my last appointment. The result is I've had a UTI for who knows how long (at least since Jan 3rd) without any symptoms, and now I get antibiotics, one of my least favorite meds in the world due to the inevitable yeast infection I will get for my trouble.

I hope this is why I've been so tired but I'm guessing it's really just this 30 pound bowling ball someone strapped to my stomach.

could be worse

It could be worse, I guess. This baby isn't due until May or June, 2008.

19 February 2007

the one with Denzel Washington

Unlike last time around, I haven't had many crazy, celebrity-laced dreams during this pregnancy. I had a few during the first trimester but until last night, until I found myself watching a play with Denzel Washington, I had forgotten about this phenomenon entirely.

I have no idea what the play was or where it was being staged. None of the pertinent details survived to morning. All I know is Denzel Washington was sitting in the seat to my right and I could not stop looking at him. Other than an earring, I don't even remember what he was wearing. We were not there together.

Thankfully, I woke up before I did anything truly embarrassing.

18 February 2007

New York food, part two

Now that I am sufficiently recovered from my ordeal, here are the last three New York restaurant reviews. The brief synopsis is good food at all three, acceptable service at the first, unacceptable service at the second, and outstanding service at the third.

Sunday brunch was at Country. It felt a little pretentious going in, but I got over it quickly. My virgin mary ran circles around the one I had in Pittsburgh at Lidia's the week before. We were off to a good start. After we ordered JT noticed some lovely looking fries heading for a nearby table. We needed some....and we were not disappointed. We should have split an order of bacon (from very happy and contented pigs, JT noted) but otherwise, no complaints. She gushed over the decor, plotting how she could get similar light fixtures made for her house. I think next year we will aim for some variety, like Country for dinner on Saturday and Artisanal for Sunday brunch.

Dinner on Sunday was at Rosa Mexicano (Lincoln Center location). We arrived somewhat late to find a huge crowd at the entrance, but our reservation, made through OpenTable, meant we were taken immediately upstairs, past the big blue wall of water, to our table. That was the end of the acceptable service. While the waiter was attentive to JT, I seem to have dug my grave by inquiring if any of their yummy cocktails could be made without alcohol. I got a very curt, "No." and that was the end of his wanting to be of help to me. The guacamole, prepared tableside, was fantastic. Entrees were good too. We decided to splurge on some dessert but the waiter never asked if we wanted coffee. Foolishly, we were too stunned to even ask for it. Lucky for the waiter JT calculated his tip.

The dog show started on Monday, which usually means eating bad food at Madison Square Garden. The choices are hot dogs and hot dogs. This year, when I was making my reservations on OpenTable, I noticed major bonus points for off-peak reservations. I found Ouest had a $31 three course prix fixe menu between 5 and 6pm, and I could get 1000 OpenTable points, rather than the usual 100. A 5:30pm reservation seemed reasonable to get us in our seats for the evening session at the show by 8pm, even if it was further north on the west side than we usually venture. I was not disappointed in any way.

In spite of our late arrival, we were seated quickly and had plenty of time to get our orders in before the prix fixe menu expired. The mushroom soup was heaven, my yummy chicken could have fed three people (I NEVER leave mashed potatoes on the plate unless they came out of a box but in this case, I was determined to leave there not feeling like an overstuffed chair), and the sorbets I had for dessert were delightful. The service was over the top in attentiveness, in an entirely good way. They seemed to know what we wanted before we did. I would go back there in a heartbeat, especially if I had someone I wanted to impress to take along.

17 February 2007

26 hours in hell

Note to all pregnant women....stay away from the JetBlue terminal at JFK. You may find yourself sleeping on the floor and it's no tempur-pedic. I will spare you all the gory details, which would include a guy wanting to fight me over an outlet and flaring tempers at baggage claim (I left just before the police were called in). As for the floor sleeping, the lucky people found cardboard boxes to sleep in. I wasn't one of them. It was amazing what the hot commodities became: chairs, outlets, and cardboard boxes.

JetBlue employees seem to be very well trained to not notice the hugely pregnant or make any effort to help them get comfortable. One did offer me a chair in baggage services, but that was the only person who seemed to think it was necessary, despite hours spent in their lines.

The good news is I was not one of the people who got on a plane and were still on it, and still at JFK, 8 hours later. I did finally escape. After three flights I was confirmed on were cancelled on Wednesday, I was confirmed on a 5pm flight on Thursday (eventually cancelled too) and standby on a 9am flight. That flight finally boarded around 11:30am and I had a seat on it. I was back in Pittsburgh later that afternoon, looking horrible and feeling worse, but home.

The bad news is that while I was in the air, CD was at the vet with our cat, Arabella, having her put down. I had a feeling there was something wrong before I left for New York. She had started wandering outside "her room". On Thursday morning she woke CD up and was in obvious pain. Not waiting for me to get home was the right thing to do but I am sorry he had to deal with that by himself. Arabella was over 17 years old and had lived with me since she was five months old. In that time we lived in Swarthmore, PA, Williamstown, MA, Walla Walla, WA, and Pittsburgh, and multiple houses and apartments in each of those places. There are few friends who have been in my life anywhere close to that long.

We miss her but know that she lived a nice long life and isn't in pain anymore. I thought I had a picture of her, with her beautiful green eyes, but I'm not finding it at the moment. Will post as soon as I locate the photo.

11 February 2007

things I did not photograph in NY

1. The golden retriever with a Prada shopping bag in his mouth. Very sorry I didn't catch this with my camera.

2. My right nipple, visible though I was wearing a bra, a turtleneck, and a coat. Noticed this when I got on the hotel elevator after being outside. Not at all sorry I didn't catch this with my camera. It was cold but I didn't think it was THAT cold!

nice view

This is the view from my hotel window, Greeley Square in New York.

New York food, part one

After two bus rides from JFK to my hotel yesterday, I was hungry. I had a little trail mix that I brought with me, just enough to tide me over until I could walk 8 or 9 blocks to Pret a Manger. I was not at all disappointed. For a quick sandwich, I don't think anywhere else compares. In what was to me a new development, they sell half sandwiches now, perfect for those like me who are indecisive. There are so many good things to choose from it is nice to be able to do two halves, or a half and soup or salad. Knowing what was to come at dinner (see below) a half sandwich was perfect. I had roasted chicken with curry, mango chutney and greens. Their brownies are really good and don't taste at all like pre-packaged food. Cranberry and apple cider rounded out a perfect little lunch. Since it is only about 6 or 7 blocks from Madison Square Garden, I think I will be there for lunch on Monday and Tuesday too. Dinner Tuesday night, when we would like to be in our seats in time to watch the Junior Showmanship final competition, is always a challenge. A Pret salad might be the perfect thing.

Dinner at Artisanal defies description. That's the food....the service and atmosphere are another story. Our waitress ignored us for 15 minutes after giving us menus. Water appeared shortly before she did. In general, it was difficult to get her attention the whole evening. It seemed the larger tables ordering the 4 tiered towers of seafood warranted more of her time. The place is also loud, crowded, and as Frank Bruni recently discussed, there are flashes from cameras going off every few minutes. Is there a time when Artisanal is not a madhouse?

Anyway, back to the food. We took an unconventional approach to the menu but it worked very well for us. We started with the Artisanal Blend fondue, and followed that with salads and a shared potato/onion/cheese tart appetizer. We skipped the entrees entirely, though the three course, prix fixe menu was intriguing and we nearly took that route. We ended the meal with desserts and coffee. Profiteroles with pistachio ice cream for JT, and a creme brulee with orange rind that was lovely. Had I been blindfolded I would have been sure I was eating a dark chocolate orange, though there was no chocolate in the dish. Would love to know how they accomplish that little bit of magic. Alas, I was stuffed to my growing ever-smaller gills and could only eat half.

I waddled back to the hotel, convinced I might not eat again for a day or two. The mark of an excellent meal, I suppose.

09 February 2007

progress continues

There are more photos of the new house up on Flickr.

Tile is finally going in, as is the kitchen trim.

running away to new york

It's that time of year again, when the dog fancy turns its attention to New York and the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. I try to go every year. Some of my long-time readers might remember that a snow storm conspired against me last year. Then things went completely to hell and I was glad to be home. I hope this year is better.

I can handle New York for four days, once a year. The shopping and the restaurants occupy most of my attention before the dog show starts on Monday. Zitomer, Petit Bateau, La Maison du Chocolat and the all-important Ralph Lauren Rhinelander mansion store are on the list. Some of these are for JT, some for me.

While her job is arranging the hotel, restaurant reservations are my responsibility. I'm a big fan of OpenTable. I made reservations this year for Artisanal, Country (the cafe, for brunch), Rosa Mexicano, and Ouest. We decided an early dinner in a "real" place would be preferable to Madison Square Garden hot dogs on Monday night, and OpenTable conveniently offers major bonus points for non-peak reservations at some locations. Couple that with Ouest's prix fixe three course dinner menu and I think we have a winner. Needless to say, there will be a restaurant review, or four, coming soon.

To further our efforts to limit our MSG food consumption to Ben & Jerry's ice cream bars (I won't be able to partake of the champagne with a strawberry in a crappy plastic cup this year), I was thrilled to discover Pret a Manger has migrated to this side of the pond and they have a location within walking distance of The Gah-den. If they opened one in Pittsburgh I would eat there every.single.day. I know it's crazy to be so ga-ga over a sandwich place. I just hope they have not Americanized their fare. I want to close my eyes and imagine I'm in Trafalgar Square.

Oh yeah, the dog show. I should probably mention a bit about that. While I will be watching the Clumbers, most of my attention will be on those Little Brown Dogs, the Sussex spaniels. JT is bringing two with her this year. I'm the handler-in-waiting for her older dog, since the youngster cannot bear to be breathe anyone but JT's oxygen. Their breeder should be there to spare everyone from watching me waddle around the ring. As long as one of them sleeps on my bed I'll be a happy girl.

07 February 2007

new house update

The rest of the cabinets have been installed, the hood is in, countertops have been measured. Tile should start going in the bathrooms by the end of the week. Overall, it's going well and we should be able to move before the baby arrives.

More photos at Flickr, including the complete slide show.

no version for baby v2.0

The best news of the day is that baby v2.0, the girl version, is now head down. She's been breech or transverse for many weeks. As long as she stays this way we won't have to consider trying external cephalic version. Sounds like way too much fun, doesn't it?

The only down side (really bad pun, I know) is that she seems to be digging her heels further into my ribs. Maybe it's her knees. Hard to tell, but it hurts like crazy and makes me stop what ever I am doing. I know at least one person who had broken ribs from her baby's in utero movement. I know she's trying as hard as she can to distinguish herself from her brother but really, we get the point. No need to press it further.

My monstrous gut is measuring about two weeks ahead of schedule and my BP is up a bit. I also had to repeat the urine test down at the lab. I'd say she's going to make her appearance a bit on the early side, if I had to place a bet today. The doc already wants to induce four days early, on Friday, April 13, if I choose to go that route. I said it was okay, since I know what I'm in for with an induction, but I doubt we get to that point. As long as she doesn't arrive on Oliver's birthday, I'll be happy.

fuzzy end of the lollipop

The severance agreement from my former job is now (almost) final, after a bit more legal wrangling than I expected. In nearly all cases I got the fuzzy end of the lollipop (name that film?) but I can't discuss it further. Maybe now my blood pressure will go back to being nice and low and I'll start sleeping again, just in time for me to move, sell my current house, have a baby, and go back to not sleeping at all.

If you're in Pittsburgh and would like to hire a woman who is 30 weeks pregnant and has nearly 20 years of experience in higher ed tech support/management, drop me a line at kim at daboo dot name.

05 February 2007

pink is the new....well, it's just new

I've reached the point in my pregnancy when I am extremely ready to not be pregnant any more, or ever again. I can't get comfortable anywhere, I still barf occasionally, and there are a few other lovely little things I'd rather not discuss.

It's time to start thinking about clothes and things for baby v2.0, the girl version. (That should probably be v1.1, since I don't view it as an upgrade as much as a tweak.) I was quite sure I wanted to avoid pink as much as possible. Fuchsia, okay, but baby pink? No way. My kid is not going to at all resemble a bottle of pepto bismol.

Her room is going to be a little bit wild, at least for me. Thanks to the kind, kind folks at Javis Davis and some good NaBloPoMo karma, we got off to a good start with a fuscia and lime green blanket and a coordinating pillow. Yum!!!
free stuff from Javis Davis
I followed that with a crib bumper in the stripe and toile fabric, and more toile for valances. In a minor miracle, I found a matching, as in exactly matching, toile cushion for the glider. A green rug will be on order soon. So it's a little bit wild, but all the crazy and bright stuff is just fabrics. I'll be able to take it back to a plain box of a room in a matter of minutes.

The trouble is every time I start looking at baby clothes, the pink stuff is just too darn cute. There is a lot more available for girls than for boys but the best things tend to lean in the pink direction, even the truly hip and trendy is done well in pink. It all started when I found the pink penguin Robeez and went downhill rapidly from there. I haven't bought much but it's only a matter of time before the mouse starts clicking and I start coughing up my credit card number. I could be dangerous in New York this weekend (more about that in another post). JT can be a very bad influence when it comes to shopping.

So I've decided to just draw the line at ruffles. Bring on the pink.