Sunday, February 26, 2006


Four non-library jobs I’ve had:
1. Starbucks barista (and therefore Cait hates going to Starbucks with me because I almost inevitably grouse about how they're "not doing it right")
2. Meeting planner
3. Toy store cashier
4. Clean Water Action canvasser (I sucked, but was really good at calculating the how much of the average contribution went directly to beer)

Four Authors, Books, or Series I read over and over:
1. Emergence, David R. Palmer. Beyond superb. Sadly out of print.
2. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Mo Willems. I think there will be a lot more of it in my future.
3. Dykes to Watch Out For, Alison Bechdel.
4. A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson.

Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. Grosse Pointe Blank
2. Finding Nemo
3. The Princess Bride
4. Men In Black

Four TV shows I love(d):
1. The Brady Bunch
2. M*A*S*H
3. The Facts of Life
4. Friends

Four places* I’ve lived:
*I decided to limit it to DC neighborhoods, for the fun of it
1. Capitol Hill
2. Mt. Pleasant
3. Columbia Heights
4. Takoma, DC

Four places to vacation:
1. St. Maarten
2. Australia
3. Maine
4. Alaska

Four sites I visit/use daily:
1. Google
2. every. single. blog. in. my. ridiculous. bloglist (multiple times)
3. BabiesRUs/Amazon

Four people I’d like to meet in person, based on their blogs:
Do I have to pick just four? I want to meet ALL of my blogfriends! I don't LIKE this category....
1. HD
2. Trista
3. Estelle
4. Julie (C'mon, admit it. You all want to meet her.)

Four foods I yearn for:
(You should all be able to fill this in with no help from me.)
1. Coke
2. Coffee Haagen Dazs
3. Potato chips and onion dip
4. Macaroni & cheese (maybe you don't know this one, but I loooooves me some mac & cheese)

Four inventions I’m grateful for:
(duh, the Internet & computers, but let's take that for granted)
1. Glasses
2. Recorded music
3. Air conditioning
4. Running water

Four musical choices for my personal soundtrack:
1. the Indigo Girls
2. Paul Simon
3. Angelique Kidjo
4. almost anything from the 80s

Four nouns that describe me:
(Nouns? Nouns! That's much harder!)
1. smartass
2. reader
3. geek
4. friend

Four Bloggers I’m Tagging:
I'm terrible about memes - I know I owe some of you. Don't kill me. Also, I tried to pick people who haven't done this one but I may have screwed up.
1. Katie (it may provide some distraction...)
2. HD
3. Jenny
4. Andrea (even though she'd have to start a blog...)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Nu Shooz

I'm not a shoe person. I don't have that many pairs of shoes, and no favorites to speak of. There are a couple of pair that might be considered embarrassing, but it would be a stretch. What's embarassing is more about me and the way that I buy and treat shoes.

You see, I hate shopping and I hate change. Thus, I tend to buy the same shoes again and again. In most cases, I throw out the old pair. When it comes to sneakers, however, my madness is truly manifest. Instead of throwing them out, I demote the previous pair to a new use. Here you see, from left to right, Chore Sneakers, Casual Sneakers, and Nice Sneakers:

Jen's little problem

Cait finds this hysterical. There are rules about when and where each type can be worn. The only ones I will wear to work -- and at that, only on Fridays -- are Nice Sneakers (sometimes called Work Sneakers) and the ones you see in the photo are starting to look too cruddy for me to be happy. Chore Sneakers, obviously, are only worn for things like lawn mowing, yard work, and painting. Casual Sneakers fill in the gaps.

Observant onlookers may have noted that the Nice Sneakers are not identical to the two previous pair. Yes, New Balance CHANGED the 608 and added more color to them. This did NOT make me happy. The newest pair is the first in YEARS that are not exactly the same. Over time I have adjusted, though seeing them lined up like this makes the difference glaring and is a bit unsettling, I must admit.

So there you have my shoes.

And Cait's? Cait had an easy time choosing. She definitely has a favorite pair of shoes right now (though she prefers barefoot or her fleece socks above all else).

Cait's Happy Shoes

She got them at the beginning of the school year and she is in LOVE. Comfy, decent looking, not hideously expensive. What more can you ask?

Thus endeth the Shoe Report.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Menu Challenge!

Friends of ours had a baby last week and we are cooking dinner for them at least once in the next week. The pediatrician has asked the nursing mom to avoid the following foods: garlic, onion, broccoli, cabbage, citrus, and chocolate, and to have dairy in moderation. The situation is further complicated because Cait and I are vegetarian cooks, though we are willing to make chicken for our friends. However, it's been so long since I cooked chicken that I don't know any recipes, and the ones in the dim recesses of my mind all include the forbidden foods anyway!

Sooo, your challenge is to propose relatively simple recipes that meet these criteria (either veg or chicken). I'd like something that keeps well and reheats easily. Any ideas?

(Please don't turn this into a debate about whether avoiding these foods makes sense or not - these are the parameters I'm working in and I'm not interested in changing them!)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

When Will I *Ever* Learn?

I thought I'd learned my lesson during the last Summer Olympics:

Do NOT look at Internet news feeds before you watch the Olympic coverage unless you want the surprises ruined.


1. You want to change your last name to your partner's. It's not clear whether this can be done on Saturday mornings when the court is open or if it must be done during M-F business hours, necessitating yet MORE time off of work. Whose advice do you take?
a. Your lawyer, who assists people with name changes a few times a year, and gave you free advice on how to go about a name change, suggesting, "You'll have to take a day off of work, the sooner the better."
b. The court clerk, whose job it is to give out this information on a daily basis, saying, "Yes, you can do everything you need to do for a name change on Saturdays."
c. Your mother, who says, "Why are you doing that anyway? It's just a waste of time."

2. You have to pee ALL the time (as in, seven or more times in five hours). This is probably because
a. you are 8 months pregnant and have always been carrying low, but the baby has begun to drop even further.
b. you have a bladder infection, requiring more antibiotics.
c. you drink so much Coca-Cola your baby is going to be born twitching, I tell you!

3. In which of the following places are you prohibited from carrying a 4-inch pair of round-tip children's scissors:
a. Airports and airplanes past the TSA security checkpoint.
b. Schools in a major Maryland public education system.
c. The DC Courts complex.
d. All of the above.

1. a - Although your lawyer sometimes appears flaky, she was right on the money on this one. It's not surprising, really, that a DC courts employee gave out incorrect information, even though it was UNBELIEVABLY frustrating to get up early on a Saturday morning and spend more than 3 hours round trip (because OF COURSE Metro was doing track repair, making a 15 minute trip take an hour and 10 minutes) only to find out you can only get the FORMS on Saturday but have to come back to file them during the week.

However, frustration hit astronomical new levels when on Wednesday you return during court hours, file the forms and discover you can't see the judge until you produce a certified copy of your birth certificate, which no one told you about. Not your lawyer, nor the person who gave you the forms and explained the process on Saturday morning, even when you asked, "Is there anything else I need to do this?"

Score to date: Court Visits - 2, Name Change - 0

Oh, and your mom? Don't listen to her. This is the woman who uses a different last name in virtually every setting, depending upon which of her children she wishes to be connected to. But the fact that you wish to share a last name with your child is ridiculous, in her eyes....

2. b. The lesson here is, trust yourself and your body. If you think your urination needs are absurd and out of line, they probably are. The good news is, you caught this early and have started antibiotics, which will hopefully return things to "normal" (which, given that you are 8 months pregnant, probably means going to the bathroom 3-5 times in 5 hours...) and prevent the problem from escalating into a kidney infection, which can bring on preterm labor! The bad news is, you're on antibiotics, and as you, Trista, and Bri know, that can lead to unhappy crotch times, indeed. Oh well, probiotics and yogurt are your friends, right?

3. c. Even though the airlines will let you fly with children's safety scissors, and school districts that have been known to send kids home for having a plastic knife recklessly allow scissors just like them (or even sharper!), the DC Courts will confiscate your blunt-tipped yarn-cutter. At least on weekdays. The rules seem a bit more relaxed on Saturdays. (They will, however, return it to you on your exit from the building.)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Been There, Done That

At 8:15 this morning we arrived in Baltimore for a doctor's appointment. At 1:30, we returned home after running a variety of errands. In between, I...

...went to the bathroom at the doctor's office (twice)
...used the lavatory in Home Depot
...inspected the facilities at Ikea (two times)
...visited the ladies' room at the cafe where we had lunch


....powdered my nose at Whole Foods.

I'll let you guess what was the first thing I did when we returned home.

Not counting when we got home, that's SEVEN TIMES in about five hours, people.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Deep Thoughts

The idea of "hands" as the theme excited me because I love this picture so much. Cait and I used it as the background for the save the date email we sent out for our wedding.


It's carefully composed - my hand is on top because after weeks of planning and scrupulous attention to our hands and nails (they NEVER look this good, people) Cait burned her hand twice getting toast out of the toaster.*

Generally speaking I don't like my hands. They are short and stubby. People are astonished at how small they are - some kids at school have bigger hands than I do. My nails are weirdly shaped and I can't stand letting them get long (I'm on Moxie's flaxseed-oil-for-happy-sleepy-babies plan and it's making me nuts because my nails are growing so fast!). The nails you see in the picture are ver-r-r-ry long for me.

I do love our engagement rings. I had dreams of proposing to Cait with a ring in hand but also wanted us to have matching rings. Plus I have no confidence about choosing jewelry for other people. I was terrified I'd pick a ring she hated - and that would be a lousy way to get engaged! So the proposal(s), unromantic as they were**, were ringless. We went out and chose rings together. The ring we found is very much the ring of my dreams. Cait was apprehensive at first because it seemed so big to her (she likes flat, flat, flat rings only) but has grown to love it. It's funny to see a picture of just the engagement rings now! Our wedding bands are plain white gold bands.

Speaking of weddings, I'm off to the courts downtown to file my official name change request. We've been married*** 3 years now and I'm finally getting around to changing my name. I really want us to all have the same last name as a family, so I am taking Cait's name. Catch you later!

*Hence, toaster tongs as a Christmas present from me later that year!
**A story for another time, I'm afraid.
***Duh, not legally.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Coming Soon!

I know, I know! I was the one who was really pushing "hands" for this week's photo Friday. So where are my hands? The truth of the matter is that they've gotten caught in the study-playroom rearranging that you saw in last week's bookcase photos. I already know the picture I want to use, but it's not online. It's on a computer that was disassembled in the study redo, and on a backup CD that got lost during the chaos. So until I get the computer put back together (which I have to do anyway to clean it off so we can junk or sell it - anyone want a big Compaq desktop circa 2000?) tonight, it's MIA.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Weather Report

While we didn't get the 26 inches of snow that NYC and parts north got, we did get 8 or 9 inches, which is a pretty good snowfall for here. It was enough that my wimpy school district has already decided to stay closed tomorrow (woohoo!). Cait's school, in the city, has not yet decided and is unlikely to be closed. The disparate rates of school closure between our employers is a frequent source of wintertime domestic tension, sadly. So please, entreat the universe in a religious or secular manner on my behalf that Cait's school miraculously decides to close tomorrow, too!

Snow has been rare this winter, but we have had a couple of phenomenal showers, and we realize we have never shared them with you. First, a bit of insight into what the shower in Detroit was like:

Yes, Cait's mom knows how to throw a baby shower, indeed. While no lampshades were worn, the punchbowl did get a second life as a chapeau.

Em and Brooke were among the guests on that festive occasion. While Em likely no longer looks like this, given the arrival of Miss Sanna (yippee!), I look much the same, only bigger.

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Harpo got many wonderful presents at the shower, and it was wonderful to have the love and support of so many people. Cait had been worried beforehand that her relatives might not view this as "her" baby and would not come to the shower, but we were blown away by their excitement over the baby. Virtually all of her huge extended family plus many family friends were there and heaped wonderful, adorable blankets, clothes and toys on the lucky, lucky Harpo (and his moms!).

This weekend some of my mom's friends had a shower for us and it was equally great -- but more sedate, I have to say. Nothing unusual was worn on any heads. Ah well, the DC suburbs just can't party like Motown can.

Harpo's wardrobe will reflect the eclectic nature of our lives and families. Clothing so far ranges from a tie-dyed onesie to a Burberry sweater to college logo shirts:

A prize gift was a gorgeous Moses basket*, which will apparently take care of Harpo's sleeping arrangements for the next four years, as demonstrated by Giggle Girl.

As a result, we've started doing a lot of pre-baby laundry, which I have to say is a LOT more fun than ordinary washing. Look at how cute this stuff is:

Plus, we've gotten gifts and hand-me-downs from blogfriends and neighbors. Harpo's gonna be one well-dressed** and geared kid! We're just overwhelmed by all the love!

With showers like these, I could even get to like rain.

*Endearingly, my stepfather thinks it is called a "mouse basket", which is what I may take to calling it from now on.
**With an adorably poofy cloth-diapered butt! Thanks, Mim, for the awesome additions to the diaper stash!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Really, you'd think a librarian would be more organized

First food for the body, now food for the soul. The first bookcase you will see is a testament to compromise, preparations for baby, the wonder that is Ikea, and Cait's drive to put things together no matter how much her hands hurt.

We decided we wanted to use this room as more of a playroom and less of a junk pit, so the desk went and the new bookcases came. I had wanted to go for the frugal option and just get standards, brackets, and shelves at Home Depot*, but Cait thought that would be hideously ugly. Having learned the art of compromise -- and loving any excuse to go to Ikea -- I agreed to look there as well. The result you see is the wall unit that we got just before New Year's. Being Ikea, this unit consisted of six separate pieces. Being stubborn, we bought a combination that's not "supposed" to work together, but Cait (armed with a cordless drill and a wife who was willing to go to the hardware store repeatedly) made it happen. It replaces an ancient Door Store** bookcase and a desk that did nothing but hold junk. (The remaining junk is right there in those boxes you see on the floor.) Admittedly, they hold more stuff than books, but they hold it all in such style!

The room is still in progress but we hope to get it cleared out and ready to roll by the end of March. The books are not sufficiently categorized or organized to my satisfaction but the general theme of this section is reference and non-fiction.

Moving on to another room, we have the Children's section:

The topmost shelf of books is adult fiction, primarily women writers -- and Harry Potter, which did not fit in the shelves below (in exchange there are a couple of art books on the bottom shelf which don't fit in the other room). The dog was a gift from my mom at our wedding shower. It's an autograph dog, the kind you usually see at 4th grade girls' slumber parties, but my mom thought it would be fun to have people sign it at the shower. It was fun, but what do you do with an autograph dog when you're in your late 20s/early 30s?*** Given that Harpo has a school librarian and a teacher for a mom, this section is due to explode exponentially in the next few years.

*especially since we have a gift card of significant size for the aforementioned retail institution
**local DC Ikea predecessor that's long since been out of business
***Answer: let the kids play with it. And they love it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Holy Shit

After our appointment with the midwives today, we scheduled our appointments for the rest of the pregnancy. Right up to our first non-stress test at 41 weeks. It's only 6 more. Yes, I realize we could be in there for multiple non-stress tests beyond that one, thereby making it not exactly scheduled through the end of the pregnancy. That's not my point. My point is that we're close enough to have scheduled all of that.

And in other parts of the blogosphere, babies are coming out of people. Babies. Coming out of people. It actually works. This pregnancy thing ends in babies. Who knew?

Sunday night, Harpo had a disco party. We lay in bed and started at Jen's belly as it jumped and wiggled and bounced. Harps, I know you like the night life baby, but the installation of the disco ball has really taken up a lot of valuable real estate in your mother's abdomen. And the stretching routines? A little over the top. Although I really do love the way she looks down and says, "what ARE you doing to me, kid?"

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A Little Late to the Party...

Here's our fridge. I'm not sure I'll be a regular contestant on Photo Fridays (note that even this time I couldn't get it together for Friday!), but this one appealed to me. I expanded the picture a bit because I think what's ON our fridge is possibly more revealing than what's in it. And the main door continues the theme, though it is not totally collaged in babies like the top. Instead it also has kids' artwork and magnets for them to play with. We're not obsessed or anything, noooo.

And Bri, we do have the obligatory soy. You just can't see it. It's hiding behind the Coke, my desperate addiction. Next to the organic eggs. :)

Thursday, February 02, 2006


It's been a busy week in the house of Addition Problems. We're still reeling. Here's a summary:

The Good

  • We went to see a new Lyme specialist in New Jersey on Monday. While the 10 hour round-trip odyssey wasn't the "last trip without baby" of our dreams, it was worth it. The new doc is knowledgeable, pleasant, aggressive about the disease, and thorough. She thinks the Lyme may have triggered an autoimmune response, and ordered new tests to check into that. We should hear back within the next two weeks. As crazy as it may sound, I’ll be thrilled if something shows up, because then at least we’ll have an answer.
  • We met with a lawyer Tuesday night, and finally have the legal paperwork underway. We’ll be signing everything but the adoption stuff (which requires a six-month waiting period after the baby is born) next week.

The Bad

  • The trip to New Jersey did confirm some suspicions we've had for a long time yet. The doctor said that while I could consider getting pregnant IF we get my current symptoms under control, it would be a high-risk pregnancy and possibly not the best choice for me or the baby. Also, there are no OBs in the DC area who know Lyme, adding to her hesitation. She did not waver at all on the question of breastfeeding: she recommends that mothers with Lyme NOT breastfeed. Period. Fuck. Part of me is devastated. The other part of me can’t deal with that right now because I just want to GET BETTER.
  • Jen finally got around to asking the GP to send her pap results (from last spring) to the midwives. To which the doctor replied, “you know it was abnormal, right?” Uh, NO. In fact they called or sent a note saying it was NORMAL. Apparently, they ran an HPV test, which came back negative, and the pap was only slightly abnormal, so our doctor is not worried. Still this would have been good information to have BEFORE getting pregnant. And we’re not sure what the midwives will have to say about this.
  • If we’re really lucky, we may have just cleared the house of useable uteri this week.

The Ugly

  • We found out while talking to the lawyer on Tuesday that although the DC courts have been willing to waive the requirement for a home study for second parent adoption for the last 10 years, they stopped doing so LAST WEEK. So now, to become a legal parent to the child I helped plan and create, I have to be fingerprinted, background checked, assessed, have my home inspected, and whatever else is required. Oh, and pay a thousand or so to make sure that we get a non-homophobic social worker. It’s all so degrading. I recognize we're lucky to even be able to do the second parent adoption, but each extra hoop adds a little more sting.

We’re exhausted. We have a huge list of things to finish, which only seems to be getting longer. But Harpo continues to grow and kick, and Shelli and Narda are getting a baby, and many other wonderful mommies are just waiting for their babies to finally make an appearance, so not all is evil in the world.

Red Hot Mamas

There are three pregnant teachers at my school. Today we all showed up in red shirts and black pants. This was NOT PLANNED.

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Within seconds of my uploading the picture to Flickr, Trista had already guessed which one is me, thus winning the contest I'd planned for the blog (quite a feat since she didn't even know she was playing!). But don't despair, she only won half the contest. Can you put us in order by due date (call the one on the left A, middle B, and right C)?

Trista and the other winner will win homemade cookies, as always!