Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Holidays are Officially Here.

We went to a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner.
There was no way I'd ever be so crafty. The table was all decked out with artichoke candle holders, nicely folded napkins, nametags on leaves attached to pears, nuts sprinkled down the middle of the table, etc.
I brought my own vegetarian turkey: a pumpkin filled with sauteed veggies and pasta.
The day after Thanksgiving, Bruce and I set up all the Christmas decorations. The lights at the top of our Christmas tree don't work, but after an hour of searching for the one burned-out light, I gave up. We will just have to put a big star at the top.
I put some of the presents out already. Some of the gifts are wrapped in artwork Bruce brought home from preschool. My fridge door was getting a little too cluttered with all the mud-colored paint (when he paints, he mixes all the colors into one big goo before brushing it on the paper).

A few weeks ago, Bruce helped me wrap one of Scott's presents in his artwork. I got the gift while Scott was out of town and had it wrapped before he got back with the idea that perhaps I might surprise him this year (surprising Scott is extraordinarily difficult). Too bad when Scott got home, Bruce pointed out the nicely wrapped box in the closet and proceeded to tell him it was a suitcase. So much for the surprise.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We are Thankful for the Zoo

The City of Boston has this nice pushpin campaign thing that supposedly reminds people that they can "go on vacation" in their own town. Here we are next to the gigantic pushpin. We were here. At the zoo.The baby we usually watch was sick today, so we decided to venture out to the zoo while it was just the two of us. I figured it'd be a pretty quiet day since it's just before Thanksgiving. I was right; I can count on two hands the number of people I saw in the entire zoo. It was almost eerie. But Bruce was not bothered at all to have the whole playground to himself. The lion looks pretty bored here, but he woke up and roared at us a few times. He's really loud too.
Our favorite exhibit was the gorillas. The glass walls made it easy to get up close and personal. There was a baby gorilla, about Bruce's size, that put on quite a show. He did somersaults, jumped in a bucket, stole a towel from another gorilla, and caused all kinds of mischief. He would also run up to the window and give it a bump with his rump or clap his hands by Bruce. It was quite funny - and a little weird - to see how similar Bruce is to this animal.
Here's the baby gorilla and Bruce having a quieter heart-to-heart moment.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hot or Not


Here are the highlights of our week, tabloid-style.

HOT
- Flannel pajamas. It is cold, but it must not be cold enough to justify wearing flannel pajamas for Bruce. This is how we found him last night.

- Chewable grape-flavored Motrin
. Bruce got a nasty ear infection on Sunday night and much prefers chewable and candy-like pain relief.

- Med schools. Yes, they are all the rage. Scott has interviewed at two now - Washington University in St. Louis and University of Pittsburgh. Next up: Duke.

- Forts. Bruce's latest play adventures combine sheets, blankets, and couch cushions to make elaborate forts. Most of the time he pretends to sleep in them, so that's fine with me.

- Scott's research. Despite being in and out of the lab lately, Scott has had amazing success when he is there. He comes home with really cool images of Alzheimer's plaques lighting up with different dyes.

NOT
- The RMV. My license was almost expired, so I had to venture to the RMV for a new one. I couldn't find parking for almost a half-hour, then waited in line for another half-hour, then finally got my license with a nasty picture of me on it. Only five more years until I can get a better picture...

- Free phones. Scott and I had really old cell phones (they still had Cingular logos on them and that company hasn't existed for at least a year), so we were due for new free ones. Our last phones were free and they weren't bad, so I went with the free option again. Apparently free phones get cheaper and junkier every year. Everything I hear through the speaker sounds a bit muffled, so don't mind me if I ask you to repeat yourself about eight times over the phone.

- Bored cops. We went to a BYU-Utah football party to watch the game and perhaps Scott was a bit too excited to get there. He got pulled over for doing 40 in a 30 zone. Yeah, that's 10 over. But the guy in front of us was going 40. And everyone behind us was going 40. Luckily, he just gave us a scowl and a written warning for speeding and for Scott's out-of-state license (yep, now he has to go to the RMV).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tagged.

I've been tagged by Sherie.

RULES

1. Post rules on your Blog.
2. Answer the six "8" items.
3. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving them a comment.

8 FAVORITE SHOWS
1. The Office. The romance between Jim and Pam is the closest I'll get to a soap opera.
2. 30 Rock. Scott and I just started watching this last season and thought it was hilarious. One of my favorite episodes, and probably the one I most relate with, is when Liz Lemon stuffs a foot-long sub in her mouth in the security line at the airport because it has mayo on it (liquid/gel/whatever). My fav live from this: "I CAN have it all!"
3. SuperWhy. With all the garbage kids shows on TV, I must admit that even I like good, clean PBS Kids.
4-8. Sorry, can't think of much more. We don't have cable and don't watch much TV. Every once in awhile we channel-surf on Friday nights; it reminds us why we never watch TV. Nothing is on.

8 THINGS I DID YESTERDAY
1. Dropped Bruce off at preschool. It was our turn to bring the snack, so I packed a bunch of carrot sticks and cucumber slices. After school I asked Bruce how he liked his snack. "I ate crackers," he said. I guess the veggies weren't popular.
2. Ran 2.5 miles with Bruce reading a book in the stroller. Not fast. Not slow. ANd not too painful either.
3. Donated toys to a local thrift store. I dropped off toys that Bruce wasn't crazy about anymore and shopped for a few new - and smaller - ones. Among my finds: a little telescope and $3 snow pants.
4. Mailed a package. Scott's grandparents are on a new low-fat, low-sodium, low-cholesterol diet and aren't sure what to eat anymore. I wrote out a few recipes and bagged a few ingredients I thought they wouldn't have (ginger root, cumin seeds, etc) and put it in the mail.
5. Went to the Children's Museum. Bruce has been asking to go for awhile so I finally got a library pass and took him.
6. Spent lots of time on the T. I hate parking by the Children's Museum, so we took public transportation. We ran into the school rush hour on our way there and real rush hour on our way back. We did chat with one of our neighbors on the train, and some missionaries from our church (Sister Bingham!).
7. Read scriptures with Bruce. I read out of the real deal while Bruce flips through a picture book and pretends to read.
8. Updated the blog. Looks like that'll happen again today.

8 THINGS I LOOK FORWARD TO
1. Figuring out where we'll be next year.
2. Having a house with a garage so my car doesn't get hit by my neighbors.
3. New Year's with the fam.
4. That post-PhD-vacation we keep fantasizing about.
5. Feb. 20: the day my non-compete contract runs out.
6. Racing with spikes on.
7. Having a washer and dryer that don't require quarters.
8. Watching Bruce open his presents on Christmas morning.

8 FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
1. Punjabi Dhaba. Good, authentic, cheap Indian food.
2. Bistro 5. The eggplant tower is definitely worth the heart attack.
3. IKEA Cafe. Where else can you feed an entire family for three bucks or less?
4. Grotto. Went there for our anniversary once and it was yummy and romantic.
5. The Vegiterranean. Everything there is vegan, so I can order anything on the menu and not feel a speck of guilt.
6. Lantana Cafe. Yummy Italian food.
7. Anthony's Fish Grotto. I really don't like fish, so I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich (in the days before I figured out the whole cholesterol thing). It is immortalized in my memory as the best grilled cheese I've ever had in my life.
8. T.G.I. Friday's. Yes, the food is kindof cheapo, but it has sentimental value. Scott took me here the night we got engaged. We ordered some monstrous chocolate cake-type dessert and ate it together.

8 THINGS ON MY WISH LIST
1. A house to call my own.
2. An egg separater.
3. A newer DSLR.
4. Fancy-pants lenses.
5. Thick, warm tights.
6. Flat dress shoes.
7. A new or refurbished hip.
8. Six kids and a vehicle to put them in.

8 PEOPLE TO TAG
1. Marissa - because you need to update your blog.
2. Anika - because I want to know what you did yesterday.
3. Tia - because I want to know if you still like The Office too.
4. Tiff - because I want to count the number of times your new husband pops up in the lists.
5. Lana - because you've got soooo much time now that you have two kids.
6. Rolana - because you've tagged me before, haven't you?
7. Amy - because I want to know where you guys like to eat around here.
8. Mithu - because I'm curious to know what's on your wish list.

That took too much time. Thanks, Diana, for watching Bruce while I avoided work.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bruce-isms

video

This video is from a few weeks ago when we had the girl I babysit and Bruce's BFF over. They've been building forts and ousting me from the room; this little guy suddenly wants his own space. In the video, Bruce and his buddy claimed the closet as their own and declared it a girl-free zone because apparently "there's too much boys," as he put it.

The other day, Bruce asked me where heaven was. I said it was way up high in the sky. He said we should get on an airplane and go there. Then on Sunday, he brought up the topic of heaven again when he pointed to the front of the chapel where skylights shine sunlight down on the organ and said, "Is that where Jesus lives?"

Bruce has been absolutely obsessed with a girl at preschool. He always talks about her - Ava this and Ava that. I got to his school early one day to pick him up and saw him trying to get her attention on the playground. He was trying to show her something and she just kept walking like she couldn't care less that he was there. The poor guy was rejected, but my little optimist didn't even know it. He fondly talked about her all the way home. Today he really did get to talk to her: he told me they played castle together and, sure enough, they both came out with paper crowns (none of the other kids did).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Total Eclipse of the Heart

As a freelance writer, I come across and write about some weird stuff. I'm writing for a blog about home appliances right now and just so happened upon "the world's greatest kitchen appliance band." They use a few old stoves and a chest freezer for a drum set. They're big, clumsy-looking Norwegian guys with lots of hair and baggy pants (don't watch the clip if a little plumber's smile is offensive to you). I laughed my head off when I watched their rendition of Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart." I still remember watching the original version on VH1 at a sleepover at my friend's house. We thought she was so cool with all those ninja guys dancing around her and her huge '80s hair and all. How was that ever cool?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Farewell Mattress




We've had this awful mattress for 5+ years. It was good for about 2 years, but then we folded it in half trying to squeeze it into a tight stairway when we moved. It's never been the same since - and I'm sure Bruce's jumping hasn't helped.

Out with the old. In with the new. Before we pitched the mattress, though, we had some good fun with it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Box is Checked

"The box is checked," says the triumphant Scott. After months of sweating, starving, and slaving away in the lab, Scott emerged with the go-ahead to write his thesis (oh yeah, and three other papers in his "spare time"). The thesis committee meeting was on Friday afternoon and by Friday night, he laid on the couch with a nasty cold and nastier headache. On Saturday, he and Bruce went to Harvard's Museum of Natural History (Bruce's new favorite hangout) and spent some time together looking at large bones and big stuffed animals. That afternoon, we went on a family outing to a state park. Our intention was to go for a hike, but we must have forgotten that it gets dark ridiculously early here now (4:30). So we checked out a farm at the state park and saw this lovely heifer. After our short visit, we found an ice cream stand that was still open. Hey, it's not snowing yet. It was a nice weekend, but now it's back to the lab (and a few med school interviews here and there).

Un-green Verizon

Have I mentioned how much I love Verizon? They must love me: they send me stuff in the mail at least twice a week. Save the trees, Verizon, because me and you are so over.

(This stack of seven items comes from the past three weeks)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Journal Entry: First Trip to BWH

I sat in the hospital for a few days before Bruce had to come out. And while I laid in a hospital bed, I wrote.

"May 15, 2005: My doctor verified that the baby was in the 15th percentile for weight, so she sent me to BWH for some bloodwork right away. I walked the 6-8ish blocks to the hospital; I had just missed the shuttle and was feeling like a walk was just what I needed anyway. I was choking back tears and trying - to no avail - to stay calm. I was starving by that point, so I choked down an apple.

I'd never been inside Brigham & Women's Hospital, so I was completely lost (my birthing class and hospital tour was scheduled for the following week). I wandered to some general admissions place, where two old ladies quipped about how cute my hair was ("looks just like a little kid's! So cute!") before pointing me to the obstetric admissions office. I told them I needed bloodwork so they sent me to the third floor.

No one was there. I wandered the floor and found a room with a receptionist and asked her where to go. Second floor, she said. They're still open. I went to the second floor, where they said I should call my doctor and ask her. Fifth floor. So I showed up at the maternity ward and checked in. Finally found the right place after a half-hour. Good thing I wasn't in active labor.

I was put in an observation room where I got a hospital gown and a wristband. I peed in a cup, answered tons of questions, and had my blood pressure taken again. Then the nurse strapped two belts on me - one for measuring contractions and one for measuring Bruce's heart beat - and let me lay down.

Scott showed up and brought me dinner. I laid there for a few hours listening to Bruce's heart beat get louder and softer as the contractions came and went. I didn't realize how many contractions I was having! I thought I was having typical Braxton Hicks contractions. But the nurses kept asking me if I felt them, how they felt, and such.

They sent me home to rest for the weekend and I came back Monday for more testing. My blood pressure was 134/95. Back to BWH. I knew where to go this time. The maternity ward was bustling. I sat in the lobby for an hour with four severely pregnant women. One was grimacing with contractions. The others sat reading magazines. A woman walked in and said, "I was told to come back when my water broke. And it did." She sure got priority. I brought one book to read and my journal.

I went from an observation room to a labor/delivery room. They took blood and gave me an IV. I've had more needles stuck in my arms the past 48 hours than in my whole life combined. The night was awful. My blood pressure was up. I had a lot of contractions. I was strapped to a few machines, including an automatic blood pressure cuff that tightened every half-hour. It tried to measure my blood pressure, but it kept messing up because my pulse is too low. It thinks I'm dead."


Looking back, I probably should have packed more than a book and a journal. Luckily, Scott brought me socks, my toothbrush, and a blanket (those thin sheets they give you just don't cut it!). Somehow everything came together despite my lack of preparations and Bruce coming six weeks early. My employer bought the car seat and had it delivered to the hospital. Scott put the crib together and my mom put Bruce's bedroom in order. My sister brought me some preemie clothes. And thank goodness, the hospital sent us home with boatloads of diapers, a boppy, bottles, and all kinds of other gear that I never would have thought of on my own.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Weekend Adventure

Bruce and I had a few free hours on Saturday morning, so we went to the New England Aquarium and checked out all the sharks (oh yeah, and those other fish). After an hour or two of that, I changed into running clothes in the bathroom and Bruce hopped in his jogging stroller. Off we went to South Boston. It's about a 2.5-mile run, but I got lost and added a half-mile. Oops; Southie is not my fav place to get lost after reading All Souls.
Nevertheless, we found our way to the beach to play in the sand and throw some rocks.
I took a few non-Bruce pictures for a magazine article I'm working on about this place.
Bruce was pretty good in the stroller - especially when he had a piece of Halloween candy to chew on. Before we got on the train to head home, we stopped at the track. The Greater Boston Track Club practices here once a week, so I've run many an interval on this track. Bruce and I ran one lap and I must say the track even smelled good. I can't wait to get back on it and race.