Sunday, January 31, 2010

31 - February Full Moon

This February's full moon is the closest to the earth and therefore, will be the largest one of the year. I wish I'd had the chance to catch it lower in the horizon and larger. As it is, the moon was exceptionally bright all night long, brightening the sky making most of the night seem like a late afternoon.

Does anyone know what I can do to reduce the reflective light that is captured by my new lens? I love my new lens so I don't want to give it up. But, I can't shoot anything at night with it because there is always a green reflective light that shows up in each image. Ugh!

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

30 - Vegetable Press

My neighbor is so dang handy. He's quite the DIYer and has done some of the most amazing things to his home, using materials picked up from re-use centers and such. I'm so inspired by him. Here's his most recently built contraption - a vegetable press. The man joined the local co-op and promptly built something that allows him to juice all those good, organic vegetables and fruit. I didn't get to see how it actually worked because he had juiced everything on hand the night before. Soon though and I might just have to put a film clip on this blog to demonstrate it's magnificence.
One thing that's for sure - I live in the best neighborhood and have the greatest neighbors!
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Friday, January 29, 2010

29 - A Doula's Bag of Magic

I think hiring a doula is one of the best things we did for ourselves during this pregnancy! Angie from the Childbirth Collective is awesome! That's her bag of magic. It's all full of fun things, helpful things, wise things that will make the delivery experience wonderful. She is so energetic and full of fun, every time I talk with her, I really, truly believe that this experience is going to be great! It's such a relief to have someone like that on my side! She deserves every single one of these exclamation marks and then some!!!
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Week 33

How far along: 33 weeks, 7 days
Weight gain: Up two pounds.
Sleep: Strong dreams all night long. I wake up to pee and return to the same dream. I feel like everyone I've ever known in my life is showing up in my dreams. And some of them are talking to me in Gujarati.
Best moment this week: Meeting with the Doula! She's awesome and everytime I talk with her, I feel excited about the delivery!
Movement: The Baby tends to favor the right side of my belly and then, I feel lop-sided. So, I pat her little butt that's sticking out and get her to move a little towards the center. Yes, I'm a little weirded out about it and I'm still weirded about the idea that a human is growing inside me. But then, I think I'm full of divinity, both inside and outside my body.
Food cravings: Kale and carrot cake. Eggs. The doula suggested the Brewer Pregnancy Diet which recommends two eggs a day. Yum!
What I miss: Going to our Airstream retreat. Haven't been there in months, probably since October. I miss it so much!
Next challenge: Buying the baby crib. I got a voucher for my sister's hand-me-down crib that was recalled. And since D's co-workers are throwing us a shower, i have to get bedding on our gift registry. Also we have to pick out a car seat.
What I am looking forward to: Because of the doula, I am actually looking forward to the delivery!
Noone told me about this: I'd been warned about indigestion, swollen feet and hands, but noone told my hips would hurt so much. I don't have indigestion. I do have swollen feet which sucks because I just bought a $90 pair of shoes in November and now, I have to wear my wedding rings on a chain around my neck. But, my hips. Oh, my hips! They hurt all the time and by the time I'm ready for bed, they feel nervy and I limp to the bed. I do yoga, I work out, not much helps. Not even a massage from D.
Weekly Wisdom: The doula said something about planning all that we can, but also keeping in mind surrender. She said that everyone else is there to witness and help, but only I know exactly what's going on with my body.

Look at my big belly! I've been wearing clothes that show my obvious pregnant belly and everyone suddenly seems so nice to me. I get called "hon" a lot when I'm out at coffee shops or stores. I'm loving this!

I was a little freaked out after the baby and early parenting classes at the hospital, just realizing that Baby could be coming in 4-6 weeks. February is a short month and I hadn't counted on that. Also, I didn't realize that going to hospital for the classes could have been laden with pressure to do things their way. I was relieved to have an instructor that seemed to be all about doing it naturally. The hospital where we are delivering has a 51% epidural rate. Another hospital close by is 80-90% epidural rate. I really want to try to do this without all the drugs: "caine" drugs as in similar chemical compound to cocaine, or morphine.

The best thing I learned at the classes was something about D! After watching one of the birthing videos, he stated that he wants to be the one to yank baby out of me (of course, after getting the go ahead from the doctor)! It was great to meet with the doula a few days after the classes, because we got to talk with her about all the after-birth procedures and our choices (more about that later.)

I'm getting excited!

From BabyCenter: This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds (heft a pineapple) and has passed the 17-inch mark. He's rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look and his skeleton is hardening. The bones in his skull aren't fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap, thus making it easier for him to fit through the birth canal. (The pressure on the head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a conehead-like appearance) These bones don't entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as his brain and other tissue expands during infancy and childhood.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

28 - Oh! Maxine!

That's the oldest child in this house - Maxine. I used to speak French to her when I was taking lessons in college. She seems to understand, I think. Man, oh, man, Maxine is sure in for a big change when Baby comes home. I'm glad we've had these quiet afternoons together. Usually, she's holed up somewhere in a closet, not bothering to come out until the Big D comes home. Lately, she's been hanging with me. And, yes, I did take my jeans off to finish my lunch of barley soup. Hey, at least, I managed to keep my long underwear on.

Oh, and, by the way, in case you've been following along on this 365 project, I did post two pictures the day before, not realizing I did so until today. Dang, this project is a little more complicated than I envisioned. I need to find some structure. Right now it seems so random and I'm not all that impressed with my images. Who knows what will happen when Baby comes. Oh well, I'll just keep on keeping on.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Blocking My Knitted Projects

For some odd reason, I was nervous about blocking. I didn't realize how simple the process was and how it made the knitted piece look so much better. I'm now thinking I should go back and block some scarves I knitted years ago that have always curled up (how annoying!).

This week has been my "lazy" week. I put lazy in quotes, because that just means I don't have much for meetings this week, except for one with the doula this evening. I had finished knitting the pieces I needed for my first baby sweater and had finished the baby hat. Both needed to be blocked before I could go any further. And, since I has also finished up some leaves, I thought those were small enough and quickly made, so I could afford experimenting with them in case I made some horrible error.

I has recently bought a hand-held small steamer from the hardware store for real cheap ($10) and had yet to use it. Pulled it out the box, quickly read through the instructions and pinned down my leaves.

Easy, peasy!!! It took more than ten minutes for the steamer to get going. It heated up just fine, but there was a wait before the steam busted through for the first time.

The curled edges of the baby hat seemed to tame down like magic!

Now all that's left to do is tucking in those loose tails (after shortening them, of course). And then, I have to add some sort of strappy thingys. I can't decide if I want to knit a cord or braid some yarn. Here's the free pattern.

Next up - the pieces for the baby sweater.

These needed to be blocked before I could sew the pieces together. It's a simple five-rectangle pattern and just right for someone who's never ventured into knitting sweaters before.

I had to block again after I had sewn the pieces together. Now, I'm working on some little white flowers to embellish the front of this green sweater. I think it will be perfect for our little Spring Baby.

For those of you who have never tried blocking before or have been intimidated, or rather, just feeling it is not necessary (which I felt for a long time, in fact the whole time I've been knitting which is over 10 years now), I strongly encourage you to give it a try! I learned to knit from a friend over some beers on a random Autumn evening. I remember it was at the end of the last century, with Y2K looming in the future, and the general desire to have some survival skills. What better for this cold Minnesota environment - making warm clothing with two sticks and a ball of yarn.

I eventually took a class a few years later that taught me how to read patterns. Since then, I've been improving my skills, inspired by some great bloggers and the great resources available on the internet, primarily YouTube where technique is concerned. It's just in this last year that I've tried some more complicated patterns. I think because of both Kat and Anise. Hey, Anise (!) you should post some pictures of your knitting projects on your blog!

I've got to end this soon and now because the doula will be here in an hour and I still have to get dinner started. But before I go - I think knitting is more than just a cool, fun DIY craft. I still think it is a survival skill, something that more of us should try!

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27 - baby hat

Because I started with a large Teddy project when I began knitting for baby, I didn't realize how quickly I could make hats and sweaters for her. Here's the first hat I made. It will match the take-home outfit we have for the trip from the hospital to our home, to her new home.
The towel behind the hat I've had since I was 15 years old. Jeez, that was over 23 years ago. For some reason, I still feel attached to it. I'm glad I've found another use for it. The stripes came in handy when I tried blocking with the steamer for the first time.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

26 - crows

There are so many crows in the neighborhood this year and they seem to collect around one particular house. I don't know what attracts them to that house and I wonder what the owners feel about that situation. I do know that the crows that hang in groups are mostly, if not all, male. They seem like gangs to me.
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Walked into a meeting at the Co-op and found a wall of Greenlites. I think it was about 2400 of these bulbs that will be sold at a major discounted price at the Co-op. I learn so much each time I go there. What a great resource. I'm so proud to be involved.
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Monday, January 25, 2010


The rain came down yesterday and now today it's all icy and snowy. I decided to stay indoors, blew off my usual workout and tried my hand at some blocking. I didn't realize how easy it would be. Here are some leaves for a scarf I'm making. I got the idea from Kat (she's so amazing!). I'm planning to use up all my leftover bits of yarn that take up drawers that need to be emptied in the Baby's room.
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Sunday, January 24, 2010


Spent the weekend at the hospital attending early parenting and childbirth classes. It was strange that it was raining outside. Wet puddles everywhere, raindrops splattered against the windows. Twice this winter, we've had rain.
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

The ongoing struggle with carbs...

On Wednesday, I had another appointment at the Fairview Diabetes Center. I had reverse reactions than what I experienced last time.

My meeting with the nutritionist, the one "in training" went fairly well. It seemed like an informative discussion about how to amend my diet so that I am not hungry and getting the necessary nutrition to grow a healthy baby. The only odd thing was when we talked about adding protein to my evening snack and she suggested I eat some turkey. I don't know about you, but eating a slice of turkey at 10:30 at night makes me want to retch just thinking about it. She said that cheese or cottage cheese would be good supplement. She also suggested I eat some berries with some Greek yogurt. Not sure what Greek yogurt is, but I objected to the berries because they absorb pesticides way more than other fruits. The berries at the Co-op are from Mexico and quite frankly, do not look all that appetizing. Way too out of season for me. We settled upon cut up pears in the yogurt.

My meeting with the diabetes educator was extremely frustrating, to the point where I almost started crying, but I sucked it and hung in there. At one point she said that I wasn't getting enough carbs in my diet. That if I couldn't eat a slice or two of french bread and process that sufficiently, I should be on medication. I'm thinking, well, I'm not french, and french bread is not typically part of an Indian diet. Most of the breads in a Gujarati meal are made from a light wheat flour, not white flour. I was frustrated. Then, when I mentioned that I uncomfortable prompting my pancreas to unnaturally produce more insulin (which is what the pills do), she looked at me said in a very sassy manner "Excuse me? Prompting your pancreas?" I hate it when people get annoyed when I speak intellectually about a subject. My father-in-law doesn't like it. My former supervisor did not like it. I am 38, dang-it, and no longer want to hide my intelligence just to make others more comfortable. Dang-it! I want to talk about this gestational diabetes in an intelligent and informed manner, not from my sensual cravings from pasta. She wanted me to dumb it down...

I'm starting to think they get their funding from Mcdonalds.
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There have been many crows in the neighborhood, but I haven't been able to get an image of them. So, I grabbed a shot I got in Moab a few years. A sweet couple.
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Friday, January 22, 2010


I can't figure out what it is about this painting that is so appealing to me. I don't even know who the artist is. If you do, please tell me. I am drawn to the face and the hands above his head. He seems like a captive cupid who's own tools of love have been used against him, to pierce his own flesh. It is so strangely compelling to me.
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32 Weeks

Date: 22 January 2010
How far along: 32 weeks, 7 days
Weight gain: lost one pound
Sleep: Nightmares are back. Also I had trace ketones in my urine in the morning. My doctor informed me that this is an indication that I am not eating enough, therefore my body is tapping into my fat reserves for the necessary energy, therefore the ketones in my urine. I have read that low blood sugars are related to nightmares. Every morning that I've woken with trace ketones, I have had a nightmare the night before.
Best moment this week: D finished painting the baby's room. It was so exciting to see our dreams come true. Now we have to hang the paintings and the cranes. I hope she likes it all. I want to buy some glow-in-the-dark stars to glue to the ceiling.
Movement: She is kicking like crazy. Sometime so hard I can't remain seated. She kicks when I play reggae and when I play some classical.
Food cravings: carrot cake. My doctor told me I should eat it if I want it. So after leaving her office I went to store and bought a slice of carrot cake. However, I did work out before going to the store.
What I miss: Not missing anything this week. Am good!
Next challenge: Finding a vehicle that fits baby and fits our lifestyle. We're thinking about buying another Jeep, a slightly bigger one so that we can haul Baby and our gear up to the trailer.
What I am looking forward to: We have baby prep classes this weekend. I can't wait until she's here!
Noone told me about this: The steering wheel hits my belly. And, I can't move back too much further because then I won't be able to reach the pedals.
Weekly Wisdom: "Family are crazy. Just accept it!" from my friend Anise, confirmed by my therapist.

I took this picture in the bathroom in the building where I go to therapy. There's great light in there. I had to take this picture, because it occurred to me how ridiculous I was in thinking I should get a little dressed up for my therapy appointment. Yes, putting on jeans is a step up from my usual sweats. But, it does me good to put on some nicer clothes. I've been feeling trim and healthy lately. And, a lot of people have commented about that. It's my mother who mentioned that I was fat and waddling. Sheesh. Like I needed that.

Doesn't matter because working out is making me feel good, physically and mentally.

Did I mention that now the diabetic educator thinks I'm not eating enough carbs now. I can't win with these people!

From BabyCenter: By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You're gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she'll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.

My baby actually weighs 4.7 pounds. The ultrasound doctor says that's in the normal range. My pre-natal doctor says that in the 60th percentile. She thought baby might be a little big. We're watching this.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010


I don't know what to expect of the therapy I've engaged with lately. I do know that I like this sign. At times, I want to object to the tools that are suggested for dealing with my crazy mother. But, I need to give it try. Acceptance shouldn't be so difficult. I can try that. And, if I can't handle it, I can come to this office and get some comfort and consolation.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

20 - kale

Ever hear someone use this excuse to start drinking alcohol early in the day? "It's happy hour somewhere in the world." I was thinking about that as I went to the Co-op to buy some greens. Greens that I was craving to nourish my body and help my baby grow. Specifically, I was craving kale that is not in season in the Midwest. And that phrase popped into my head. I adjusted it to: "It must be in season somewhere in the world." As it turns out, it's in season on this continent, California. So, I brought it home, blanched it, then sprinkled it with a Tuscan herb olive oil and some black cherry balsamic vinegar. Both Baby and I were happy. She kicked her appreciation.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

19 - the jeep in january

I love my Jeep. It's a fun vehicle to drive. I feel safer driving in the winter. And I enjoy the salt stains on it as much as I enjoy mud splattered all over it. But, I have to admit I am worried that I may not be able to keep the Jeep after Baby comes home. It's just because I am short. Tall people apparently have not problems taking a baby in and out of a Jeep. I am short. I know I can't get any taller. I'll have to figure something out.
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Monday, January 18, 2010


Treasured Jade is the name of the paint we picked for Baby's room. I'm such a sucker for paint names and readily admit that the final decision comes down to a good name. The ceiling with be a dark blue that was a $5 "Oops" paint, which made paying out $37 a gallon for the treasured jade a lot easier to deal with.

It was the perfect weekend to paint! Temperatures in the 30s allowed us to open up the windows while painting. And, we had a paint with no VOCs.

Just a few more weeks. Painting and picking a doula this weekend makes me feel like we getting there. We'll be as ready as we can be.
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Another word on fast food diets suggestions

So I had a good week of eating. I avoided the pills by just avoiding the pills. My blood sugars were all fine except the one night I ate three rather large onion rings with dinner. I could feel that it wasn't right as I was eating them, but dang-it, it was only three, OK big, onion rings. I increased my food intake at each meal by making healthier choices. I even had some rice last night and measuring out a 1/2 cup of rice wasn't such a small amount as I originally thought it would be.

So, I'm hoping that my visit with the doctor on Tuesday will result in me avoiding the pills again for another week.

But I got to thinking, cuz, you know, I've got a brain and it thinks.

A gestational diabetes diet assumes that we all eat a fast food diet. Not just food bought in a fast food chain restaurant, but also, that we eat food that can and will be prepared quickly. Pour a bowl of cereal, add milk. Empty a packet of oatmeal, add water, microwave for one minute. Open a can of soup. Tear open a package of granola bars.

I just can't do things that quickly. Granted I have lots of time on my hand, no work demands, no set schedule. But even just making my breakfast cream of wheat takes a few minutes. I heat water in a kettle. I measure out the farina. I dice up the slice of dried apple. Add the brown sugar and dash the cinnamon. I prepare my barley tea. I wash and slice half the fresh apple I share with D. By the time I'm done preparing and eating my breakfast, at least one half hour has passed.

Then, I have to wait two hours before I can eat another thing. Because two hours after I finish my meal I have to check my blood sugar. Even if I drink some tea with honey in between, my blood sugars are effected.

If I could eat faster, then I could get to my snack faster.

The only other solution is to get up earlier in the morning. But, I don't want to do that because after Baby comes, I highly doubt I will ever have a morning to sleep in again. I'm taking my luxuries where I can!
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Sunday, January 17, 2010


At least someone is enjoying the squash that has gone bad!
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Saturday, January 16, 2010


My hat. Wish I was wearing it while riding a horse. For now, it will stay on the wall until the next adventure. One of these days, I've gotta tell you about the horse-back riding we did near Moab.
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Friday, January 15, 2010

15 - a beautiful latte

The latte is beautiful, yes? The young man who poured it was very interesting. He just finished three years of service with the Infantry, doing tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He crocheted through his tours of duty. He is originally from Las Vegas, NV, but moved to Minnesota after he left the Army because he had enough of the desert. I sure am glad he made it back safely!
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31 Weeks

Date: 15 January, 2010
How far along: 31 weeks, 7 days
Weight gain: 3 pounds since last doctor's visit. I'm up to a pound a week now which is where I should be. Too bad I did 2 pounds a week for most of my pregnancy, but I do think that my weight gain is under control now.
Sleep: I have read that dreaming about labor is common in the 3rd trimester. It's the body's way of preparing for the delivery. Some say that intense dreams lead to easier deliveries. The other night I dreamt that I went into labor. I went around telling people because it didn't seem that obvious. I'm not sure how I knew that I was starting labor, but the feeling was quite distinct in my dream....Here's a strange one - my right hand falls asleep when I lie on my left side. Odd, huh? Apparently circulation gets all messed up during pregnancy and apparently mine's real messed up. I wake up most mornings with a right hand all prickly. It does worry me a little. I don't want to lose my right hand.
Best moment this week: I'm adjusting to this new diet and feeling rather good these days. I had some euphoria after my workout on Wednesday. My blood sugars were where they were supposed to be, I had a work-out high, the sub-zero lockdown of the region seemed to finally break, and life just felt right.
Movement: The Big D moved his stereo equipment down into the basement and while doing laundry, he turned up the music rather loud. [Yep, he's been doing the laundry - isn't that awesome!] He hooked up his turntable and put in some old school Marley reggae. Baby started kicking so hard it seemed like she was dancing in my belly! It was awesome! Babies apparently like reggae because the beat is the same rate as the human heartbeat.
Food cravings: Since starting this new low-carb diet, I'm hungry a lot. But not craving any carbs like bread. On Wednesday, I broke down and bought a slice of carrot cake, only ate a few bites, but then, felt the blood sugar drop an hour later. Satisfying the craving was not satisfying.
What I miss: Getting my shoes on and off quickly. Can't wear most of my boots because either the heels are too high (and they aren't really all that high) or I can't get the dang things on or off. It's funny having D pull my boots off my feet while I sit on the back stairs.
Next challenge: My mother is back in the state. I never know if she's being straight with me. She says my sister was just restricted in her diet with no pills, yet she had weekly ultrasounds. Here in Minnesota, you only get weekly ultrasounds if there is a complication like higher blood sugars. I hate the feeling of comparison between us, and my mother's cover-up of my sister's misdeeds. Also, she is arguing with me about car seats which apparently are the only thing that should be bought new. Never use a used car seat is the advise I get from my doctor, the internet and baby prep sources including Baby Center. My mother wants me to use my sister's old carseats. And, on top of all that, the crib she wants to give me is on the recall list.
What I am looking forward to: I get weekly visits with my doctor and maybe weekly ultrasounds. Can't wait to see baby every week!!!! That's the bonus for having gestational diabetes.
[new feature!] No one told me about this: Throughout my pregnancy, my gums bleed. I was told early on to have my teeth cleaned because gum disease can lead to preterm labor. I avoided it because I hate seeing the dentists. But, then, my gums started to bleed. I went in for a cleaning and found that it totally normal for pregnant women's gums to bleed. How strange.
Weekly Wisdom: "When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about; and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy." - James Matthew Barrie

That's my baby! We had an ultrasound on Thursday and left with this 3D image. She was not cooperating! She kept her hand in front of and to the side of her face which made it difficult to get a good picture. I love it anyway!!! She has my nose and I think, my lips. D says that she looks like me. I hope she has his eyes. If we could have gotten her to turn, we may have been able to see how much hair she has, but she wouldn't turn her head. She just started kicking the ultrasound wand.

She weighs 4lbs. 7 ozs. Bigger than I thought, but we were told that's the average weight for this week of development. So, despite my gestational diabetes diagnoses, baby is growing as she should and hopefully will not grow too big. She's still a girl and all her organs are where they should be. She is only one inch below my skin. Her head is facing down where it should be. But, she looks very crowded in there. Still two months to go.

I'm scheduled for another ultrasound in four weeks. So, here's the deal. My doctor prescribed some pills to help me keep my blood sugars down primarily because I told her I was always hungry. I had only one week to watch my diet and in that week's time, I realized that I couldn't eat any carbs. My body could not process any carbs even though I had made the switch to whole grain last summer. So, I dropped all bread and pasta from my diet and now my blood sugars are well within the normal range. In fact, they are low. So I told my doctor that I was hungry in the time between my main meals and my snacks. So, she prescribed the pills so that I could eat more. I am not a fan of pills, I hate taking any sort of pill. And, I haven't taken this prescription pill since dropping those carbs from my diet has kept my blood sugars in check and I have been able to eat more because I had the space for it, so I'm not hungry anymore, like I was last week.

So, long story, but here's some more. If I take the pills, I get ultrasounds twice a week so that they can continue to measure baby's weight. If I don't take the pills, I don't get another ultrasound for four weeks.

I don't want to take the pills because my blood sugars can be regulated through my diet. And, there is the risk of low blood sugars in the middle of the night if I do take the pills. Plus, I don't want to push my pancreas to do anything it doesn't want to naturally do right now. Apparently Type II diabetes runs on my mother's side of the family, so I am really hesitant to mess with my pancreas right now.

Next week, I'll have to talk with my doctor about all this and that's when, I guess, we'll find out how often I get to see that baby of mine.

From BabyCenter: This week, your baby measures over 16 inches long. He weighs about 3.3 pounds try carrying four navel oranges) and is heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby's kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

14 - snacktime

This is my afternoon snack. Cottage cheese and red grapes from Chile. Chilean red grapes. Even if I don't like the idea of where they come from in terms of the distance they have traveled, I do still like saying it: Chilean Red Grapes. It surprises me how satisfying the snack is.

I think I'm getting used to this new diet that regulates my blood sugars. It is low-carb and on a schedule. I've learned that if I want a treat, I can do this at snack times. Generally I do this after I've checked my blood sugar two-hours after my dinner meal. I do think my body has worked out the bad stuff in that I do feel a dramatic difference if I eat something that I "shouldn't." Yesterday I was super hungry, had worked out so I knew I could have a piece of oatnut bread with peanut butter. I was very conscious of the blood sugar drop an hour later.

My doctor wants me to take pills because my body has trouble processing any sort of carbs, including whole grain stuff. I'm going to try a week of no-carbs, or very low carbs before I start taking the pills. I'm very afraid the pills will cause low blood sugars. I don't want that. My own strategy is working quite well. I've been well within normal blood sugar ranges since dropping all carbs. And this included birthday dinner on D's b-day where I opted for a salad rather than a rice or noodle dish.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

13 - Hoar frost on Berries

Yesterday was a wonderfully warm day, but it started just above zero, temperature wise. Not much gets me out of the house so early in the morning. But, hoar frost definitely will. This is one of the best parts of winter. It makes the world all sparkly and silver.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

12 - January morning

It's always great to wake up and see the world covered in hoar frost. This morning it seemed especially wonderful because it was the Big D's birthday.

Happy Birthday, D! Even Mother Nature put on her best for you!

[More shots of hoar frost coming this week.]
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Monday, January 11, 2010

11 - Fast Food Guide

I readily admit that the picture in the middle is appealing to me. Give me a burger and I will devour it. The picture on the right side of the pizza - heck, just looking at gives me heartburn. We make our own pizzas on Friday nights, although we do buy the crust. Gonna have to switch to whole wheat. But, the picture on the left of the hot dog? Give me a break!

Fast food guide for pregnancy? I realize that there are women who don't have easy access to a grocery store, nor the budget to afford healthy foods. But, it seems to me that the healthier items at fast food joint are usually not on the $1 menu.

I had to get a picture here just to prove to you all that I'm not making this stuff up!
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

10 Lights at Bella Lana

My friend Anise tells this story of how she discovered Bella Lana located in Minneapolis. Her twin sister Denise was ill and (I think) in and out of the hospital. Anise was helping all that she could but it was a down and depressing time for her. She noticed the bright lights in this store and decided to stop, not even knowing what sort of store it was. She discovered it was a yarn shop and began knitting that very day. She hasn't stopped since! And her knitting projects are amazing.

The store is painted white on the walls and the floor. The ceiling of both rooms are totally filled with this white lanterns, thus no shadows anywhere. The walls are filled with all sorts of yarns, most of which are bright colors. Everytime I stop into this store there are women gathered around a table knitting. Today, the table was totally full with perhaps 8, maybe 10, women. I love that!

Cornelia, one of the owners, is a knitting diva. I stop in whenever I have a problem that needs fixing. I put in an hour's worth of change into the parking meter, but she's done fixing in three minutes. I stay and get my knitting therapy for the remainder of the time.

The SOOC image is very yellow, no doubt, having something to do with white balance. So, I fidgeted a little and settled with this sort of sepia look to the image. It was the best I could do.
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

9 - Henna Hands

It was a sticky, crusty mess, especially after we sprinkled lemon and sugar water on it. But, the results lasted over three weeks and was a daily reminder of the nice baby puja. Makes me want to henna up my belly for Baby's birthday!
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Friday, January 8, 2010

8 - Chimnea in the Snow

The snow is piling up and I love it. But, these last snow dump covered up the ice that remains on the sidewalks and roads since our Xmas day rain making things a bit more treacherous. We got a high of 6 above today. Can't wait for the warm-up into the 20s next week!
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30 weeks

Date: 8 January, 2010
How far along:
30 weeks, 6 days
Weight gain: down one pound
Sleep: Dreamt about insomnia a couple times this week. Do you know how strange that is? I dream that I'm awake, lying in my bed, suffering from insomnia.
Best moment this week: Strangely enough that moment happened after I showered at the health club. Usually I am avoiding looking at myself in a mirror, but lately the exercise has me feeling better about myself. I looked in the mirror and felt proud of my pregnant belly.
Movement: Lots of hiccups. Sometimes the kicks are what keep me awake after getting up to pee in the middle of the night.
Food cravings: I was craving a muffin, but then realized that I was overdue for lunch. I mostly crave fruit and have broken from my intent to eat locally by purchasing some red grapes. Cottage cheese and red grapes. Yum.
What I miss: Not missing much these days. 7 months in to this thing and I am no longer craving or missing beer and wine. I'm getting used to all this finally.
Next challenge: Getting everything ready in the nursery. Now, it seems like there isn't enough time to do everything.
What I am looking forward to: Baby's birthday!! I think I am going to get my belly henna-ed for the birthday and maybe even buy a birthing skirt. Anyone got any suggestions for a good one?
Weekly Wisdom: from Meditations for Pregnancy: "Relax more frequently, exercise more gently, and drink plenty of water."

This picture is for Anise, who commented last night about a picture of myself in tighty whiteys. Thanks for throwing in the "sexy" before the tighty and whitey, even if you didn't mean it. Today, we have the bra. I wanted to do this picture to show how big my belly is getting! I took another fully-clothed, but that just did not do justice to the enormity of this belly. So, I may be down a bit in weight, but definitely, the belly is getting bigger.

Last night, as I crawling into bed, I caught the Big D staring at it. I asked "what, whaaaaaaat?!" and he just smiled and "that's my baby in there!" [smiles] Perfect answer. I swear, she did some somersaults after that. It was weird and thrilling all at the same time.

More thoughts about gestational diabetes coming soon!

From BabyCenter: Your baby's about 15.7 inches long now, and she weighs almost 3 pounds like a head of cabbage. A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her, but that volume will decrease as she gets bigger and takes up more room in your uterus. Her eyesight continues to develop, though it's not very keen; even after she's born, she'll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When she does open them, she'll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means she can only make out objects a few inches from her face. (Normal adult vision is 20/20.)

For some reason, it totally cracks me that I have a three-pound baby in my belly. I don't know why. There is a Cornershop song that says something about a three (or four, can't remember) can of turkey gravy on route something or rather. And I think about that song, that I apparently don't remember that well, every time that I think about my three pound baby.
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Thursday, January 7, 2010

What a wacky day!

Jeez. I feel like a blogging fiend this year. Funny thing is that I am really busy these days, but carrying my camera around has me observing my life more and find I have much to blab about. It was a wondrously synchronic moment when my therapist said to be an observer of my life yesterday. Yes, now I am in therapy, but that's because I want to finally resolve my shit so that I can be the best mom that I can be. In other words, so I don't end of becoming like my own mother.

What a wacky day yesterday! I went from this:

To this:

With some of this in-between.

Ugh. What a weird meeting. The diabetic educator nurse was good except for her onion breath from a sandwich that she had obviously scarfed down just moments before I arrived. Jeez, lady, we're all pregnant here, have some sensitivity. But, then I realized that her onion breath was a good distraction from the fact that I was about prick some blood out of my own finger and then repeat four times a day. So, that went OK and I didn't pass out, so all good.

But, then, we moved into another room to meet with two nutritionists, actually, one nutritionist and another in training. Those should be reversed because the one in training seemed far more knowledgeable than the other. Anyway, I sort of flipped when I read that the sample menu had an egg mcmuffin as a suggestion for breakfast. Yet, I didn't say a single thing until young, chicky babe of a nutritionist pointed out this fabulous new drink she found that had only 5 calories and 0 grams of fat. Yep, that's right, folks, and you gotta ask, why so low? Well, because of the sugar sweetener substitute, of course. Education, my ass. I was fuming by that point and I know she could sense it because at that point she stopped asking me about my meal choices.

Then, of course, I felt like an ass. A pretentious organic-preaching, natural foods nut, whole-grain, home-cooking ass. She didn't know about the nutritional value of the things I ate. Never heard of cream of wheat or barley tea. I kept telling myself to remember that she was preparing to talk about this:

And, the truth is, I didn't even know what some of that (from above) was. So, I guess we're even in the naming of ass. I walked out with a thick pamphet full of nutritional information about all the major fast-food chains in the area. Real helpful, don'tcha think?

I did get some good web references that helped me make better choices and the strict food journal I did in preparation for the meeting helped me see my diet better. Later that evening, we met some friends for dinner at Applebee's and I had the chance to do some research before we arrived. I ended up having the 7 oz sirloin, garlic mashed potatoes, a few onion rings, and seasonal steamed vegetables (seasonal, my ass!) which adds up to only 51 grams of carbs (I'm allowed up to 60 grams for dinner). I don't think I would have opted for that steak if I hadn't had that meeting earlier. I try not to think of about where the meat came from. And, my appetite was satisfied throughout the evening, no unusual cravings and such. This place wouldn't be my first choice, but we did get a gift card from family this xmas so the damage was minimal.

I also learned that I need to eat my evening snack later so that I don't have a period of 10 hours of fasting. I think that may have something to do with the early morning insomnia I've had lately.

All in all, I do feel like my body is functioning at an optimal level. I actually feel better and more nourished. The only thing is that I'm super sore and I think that's because I didn't workout yesterday. I'm going to try to fit in going to gym this afternoon.

So, the Timberwolves game in the evening was fun mostly because I got to chat with a girlfriend the whole evening. There weren't many people at the game and it feels like a newbie team, so it made it feel like it was when Minnesota first got the T-Wolves sometime back in the early nineties.

See, not many people. I did have a few freak out moments, namely when I glanced up towards the ceiling. I felt that vertigo thing happening again. But, then, the music would get really loud and the baby would start her kicking and suddenly I felt grounded even though I was way up in the second level.

What a wacky day. I sure was glad that Baby was there with me all day to remind me of what's important.
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7 - fake food

"What the heck is that" was the exact sentence my mind was screaming to myself as I walked into the Fairview diabetes center to be weighed before my "diabetes education" class. It scared me. It made me want to throw up. Then, I realized it was just plastic. I thought those were all the things I wasn't supposed to eat. But, these were actually serving samples. Silly me and my pretentious organic/whole grain diet.
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Our first Minnesota Timberwolves game since Kevin Garnett left. The day he left was a sad day in this state's history. I haven't watched a game since, not even on TV. But the in-laws gave us a four tickets and so we've invited our favorite couple and are heading out in the bitter cold to catch a game at the Target Center. It feels like a couples date. Hope they like us. The fact that each ticket gets a free beer should help.
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What's in a Name?

Let's see where should I start unloading all these thoughts that plagued my head early this morning? Warning: what follows is an extended treatise on language, so grab some tea and sit back, and get comfortable for the ride.

I could name this post after my blog's byline: words make worlds.

I could situate myself in this neighborhood text-in-progress. I think about these sorts of things because of my training in postcolonial theory. Postcolonial theory examines institutions that create worlds, categorize cultures and produce hegemony. Often these things are not considered on a conscious level, but rather permeate our thinking and lifestyles seamlessly. Through my training, I have come to see that which creates discomfort and that which creates discomfort without creating an identifying marker or anchoring point. In other words, we may be uncomfortable by some particular thing or phenomenon or incident, but we may not be able to pinpoint it's origin. That's what I see on a daily basis. I used to joke about how this matrix was revealed to me after I ingested the red pill. There's no going back. One cannot unlearn something after its existence is made apparent.

I believe that language is one those things and if one doesn't look at the construction and use of language from a non-speaker's perspective, much of the subtle harm or sense of exclusion is lost.

Often people accuse of me being too smiley, or too naive, or being too much of an idealist. This is how I deal with what I know and what I see. I try to eliminate the discomfort on a superficial level, so if that's all they want to see in me, that is all that they will see, and will leave my company without any discomfort except that which they have created on their own. Too much of an idealist? Hell yah! I've seen the depths, now I shoot for the stars.

Can you tell this post is about a battle of words at the Co-op? No. Right, I should get back on topic. The Eastside Co-op Board is interested in bringing organizations, businesses and faith communities together in the effort to maintain the vitality and viability of our great neighborhood. The intention is good and is focused on expanding the involved parties to include the numerous immigrant and otherwise diverse groups that comprise the bulk of the neighborhood population. Northeast Minneapolis is historically always been a immigrant and working class area, it's just that now in the twenty-first century these immigrants and working class folks are from many different parts of the world and not just Europe. Many of these groups maintain their transnational ties while trying to carve out parts of the American dream for their themselves and their families.

So, we at the Eastside Board Co-op need a name for this vision of a monthly meeting of minds and interests. We are modeling the format of the meeting after a similar event held in the Hawthorne neighborhood of North Minneapolis, convened by the General Mills Foundation on a monthly schedule. It is called the Hawthorne Huddle.

As part of my academic study, I looked closely at language. Language can be a barrier, a mask of conquest, and the very thing that draws the line in the sand. Therefore, I believe that naming of this meeting is vitally important to its success.

Still to this day, at the age of 38, I get comments from folks astonished by my ability to speak English. Despite what their ears tell them, I still often hear "You speak English really good." My accent is definitely Minnesotan with some extended and rounded o's. Don'tcha know? Ahem. I usual reply: "Actually, I speak English rather well, thank you." My attempt to correct their grammar always, I mean, always falls flat. But, there is truly a reason for that.

Let's not forget our country's history. Following on the British penchant for conquest, early Americans entered North America with the intention of creating a new world (of wealth or faith) for themselves. This included an appropriation of language, a manipulation of language that distinguished themselves from British English. If a white American doesn't hear the supposed grammatical error in his/her sentence, it is because in this paradigm of Independence declared back in 1776, this error didn't exist. I'm not trying to make a judgement call here, but rather, to justify the behavior through historicity (in other words, find justification through the observation of progress and purpose).

I think the only other group that has been able to do this since the birth of this nation has been the African American community. A group whose culture is as intrinsically involved in the creation of an American national identity as any other white immigrant group.

This examination of language is what I think I can offer to this Board of Directors, to which I was recently elected, thanks to the good hearts of the Co-op member-owners.

Let's find a language that is inclusive, that allows all to explore and share common ground. Again, I say that is why I think the naming of the monthly meeting convened by the Co-op Board is so important.

Some of the ideas suggested are Northeast NewsHour, Northeast Noodle, Northeast Klatch. I suggested Northeast Network and Northeast Nexus, but neither of these ideas were deemed important enough to make it to the recorded minutes. I pointed out that Northeast NewsHour implies a one-way conversation and references a majority-culture institution. Northeast Klatch sounds too ethnic. As does Northeast Noodle, but a reference to pasta was not the intent. Instead it was explained to me that "noodle" signifies a head.

Last night, I pulled out my dictionary, a much worn and used tome that I've had around for at least a decade and a half: the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary. I skimmed through each page of the N's. I was surprised to find that the very first definition of "noodle" was not an explanation of pasta, but rather this: a stupid person: simpleton.

Do we really want a word that defines a stupid person?

Another person recommended we use the word "huddle" as in the same name of the neighborhood group that originally modeled this sort of community interaction. She said "they" probably wouldn't mind. I wonder: did she mean that General Mills wouldn't mind? Or was she referring to the North Minneapolis Hawthorne community. I can't help but think of the number of things in history that have been originally successful because of African Americans, then appropriated by White Americans; thinking here about Jazz and the Blues.

But, OK, here's another thing I think when I consider "huddle" that's not so racially heated. I can't think of any other context other than football where "huddle" is used. Football is a distinctly American sport and pastime, prominent in both White and Black America. The groups we are trying to bring together in Northeast are mostly immigrant groups, that is bringing the diversity of immigrant groups in conversation with the white, middle-class Northeast population. "Huddle," I think, works in the Hawthorne neighborhood because of the prevalence of an African American community. Although there are large numbers of people from the Hmong community and the Latina community, representatives of these groups were not in attendance at any of the Hawthorne meetings that I have attended.

I believe that we need a word that is less rooted in distinctly American culture. As I mentioned earlier, the Northeast population is transnational, meaning they have ties that cross over, or better, are not limited by national borders. Just like food. See the connection? Food, Co-op, diverse community. Although I perused through the entire "N" section of my dictionary, I did not find something that represented the transnational quality of this great community. So, I'll settle for a neutral term, even if it sounds boring and not hip nor sexy.

I'm going to stick by my suggestions:

Northeast Network
Northeast Nexus
Northeast Nucleus
Northeast Catalyst
Northeast Conduit

The next committee meeting is Thursday. Wish me luck on having the courage to stand by my convictions!
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The Cranes, the Cranes

I love the light in this picture and so this is one of those images that I didn't mess around with in my PSE. The light is only like this for a couple of months each year in the winter. The sun is at its lowest in the sky and just perfect for directly shining into the dining room.

I usually say that the sun is deceptive making the frigid and frozen region seem so warm. But, despite the fact that it is only 6 degrees outside, today it feels like a heat wave has blown into the area. Funny how a couple weeks of below zero temperatures makes single digits feel warm.
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Monday, January 4, 2010


Icy Alley

Temperature today just went above zero, that is, just one degree above zero. Everything seems locked into the ice, everything is crunchy and the air stings my lungs as I breathe. On days like this, it's hard to imagine a thaw is anywhere in the future. I like the alleys in Minneapolis, they seem like rivers of concrete.
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My Datebook

Since making the switch to digital photography, the number of pictures I take has risen dramatically. I like this. I especially like the idea that they feel "free." No cost for processing, no cost for printing and I get instant gratification when viewing my images. While I know that I definitely don't miss those trips to photo processing stores, I have to finally admit that I don't miss my darkroom either. I used to process and print my own B&W images, but now I am ready to pack up. Maybe Baby will like it when she gets older.

Another benefit to getting a digital camera is now I have to ability to bring together a few of my hobby interests, my crafty projects, my DIY dreams. I like to bind books. I have been making my own journals for years and binding these myself with some Japanese binding techniques. This includes a variety of materials including embroidery thread and hemp, cardstock and textured sheets of heavier paper. I use white paper for journals, and black paper for photo albums.

Occasionally I have fantasies about selling these hand-made books, but I never got around to doing that. I always end up giving them away. I used to make them for my freshman seminar class every year and that was a blast to see them pick through the colors to find the exact one that fit their needs.

This year I decided to try a different sort of book-binding, a technique that required glue and clamps and such. I found this tutorial helpful. The thing that inspired this evolution in my book-binding skills was the desire to use my own images in a calendar/datebook. I made a 4-month calendar when I started getting involved with the Co-op last August, at a time when I realized I needed something to keep track of pre-natal appointments and co-op meetings.

The software that I have prints the calendar pages with four selected images. I like this template because it allowed me to select more than one picture. However, there is not much flexibility in layout, so the final printed pages would not work well if I intended to sew my book together, basically the sewn stitches would have to be worked right on the first row of each calendar month.

It took me a few days to work out a technique, even though I was aided by that online tutorial. But, I am thrilled with the results!

The binding is slick and tight. I am so attracted to those faux crocodile prints! I am so pleased by this project.

I went through all my pictures from 2009 and selected my favorite four from each month. I am glad that I had decided to organize my pictures that way as that made the selection much easier. Although, I should confess that July and August selections were slim and minimal as I was in a morning sickness fog for both of those months, so not too many pictures to choose from. That's OK, I had plenty in June and September.

Speaking of June, this is my birthday month and I think my favorite of all the calendar pages because it has a picture of D's guitar.

I did not print these calendar pages back to back. I hadn't thought through my binding technique before printing out my pages and since I printed on photo paper, I did not want to waste what I had. In bringing together the pages for binding, I decided that a blank pages in between calendar pages would come in handy for notes and to-do lists for each month.

Towards the end of the datebook, I added ten pages of black paper so that I could paste in favorite pictures from the year to come.

What else can I say? Dang, I feel proud of myself. Not only in the final product, but also in that I brought two on my craft interests together so beautifully. It's a useful DIY project and that's probably the best thing about it all.

So, I've been thinking I should maybe get my own Etsy store with some of my book binding projects, my photo projects (I've been thinking about making postcards and greeting cards), and maybe even some of my knitting projects. A little bit of extra cash would probably help cut the cost of materials.

2010 already feels full of new possibilities!
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Sunday, January 3, 2010


What's worse? Squash gone bad or my dirty, dirty floor?
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