Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Already with the tantrums

Unlike most parents-to-be, Ben and I were lucky enough to get an in-utero photograph of our baby apparently screaming in anguish.* This is not what we expected at my 20-week checkup yesterday, but we also got a handful of tranquil, less terrifying images of her (that's right, WE'RE HAVING A GIRL!). I'll post those below so that you don't have to have nightmares about our baby looking like an Edvard Munch painting.

* Or, as the technician put it, "yawning."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pregnant, in a cute apron

In just a few days, Ben and I will find out the sex of our baby! We're dying to know, not so that we can paint the nursery or buy a bunch of dumb gender-specific onesies or whatever, but because there's just so little to be known about this little creature right now! We want to know whatever can be told to us! It will be fun to start calling her by her name* -- or to get busy coming up with a name for him.**

* Although we are keeping the names a surprise for everyone else until The Big Day.
** Why are boys' names so difficult to come up with? Everyone seems to think so. I'd love to have a son, but what on earth are we going to call him? (I can tell you what we're not going to call him.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tripping through whatever kind of
flower this is

I've never seen so many flowers in all my life! Our Minneapolis neighborhood is covered in them this spring and [early] summer! I really don't think its just the wide-eyed wonderment speaking, either; there really are more flowers than you can shake a garden hose at.

To satisfy my desire to document this amazing display, I'm making ink out of flower petals this week. I've been wanting to photograph (done!) and illustrate some of this fabulous flora for a while now, and painting them with petal-ink is the sweetest way I can think of to allow content to inspire form. The only problem so far is that it's virtually impossible to make green ink from green plant materials, although it is very easy to make smelly, unusable, yellow-brown ink from green plant materials.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

19 weeks

I've already moved on to the babydoll-style tank tops phase. God help us!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Love in a wormhole

In between taking some intense summer classes, buying a house, preparing to have an actual career, and being pregnant, I intend to read an ungodly number of time travel romance novels this summer. You heard me, time travel romance novels. (It helps me to think of them as "literary" romance novels, but with some of these there's quite a fine line between literary and trashy, let's just be frank.) If this is a side of me you've never seen, well, what can I say? I've been enchanted by the time travel novel (okay, it doesn't have to be romantic -- but it helps!) for many years. One of my favorites is the YA novel Charlotte Sometimes -- have you read it? Another is, of course, Madeleine L'Engle's series about the Murray family (Wrinkle in Time and its companion novels). I must have read Wrinkle twenty times between the ages of 10 and 12... and a few more times since then.

Some of these books are quick reads, and in the last couple of weeks I've polished off two time travel romance novels that have been on my list for a while: Portrait of Jennie, which I loved and actually is rather literary, and the wonderfully lower-brow Summersea. The latter is set in the mid-seventies and is so fabulously descriptive of that time period that I found myself reflecting on the always-amazing fact that reading a good historical novel is in itself a form of time travel.

Right now I'm reading the public library's copy of Jack Finney's Time and Again, which so far is more science-fictiony than romantic, but the story is so captivating* that I don't mind. Earlier this month, I tried on Daphne Dumaurier's House on the Strand but got a bit bored (plus I desperately wanted to start Summersea!) and set it aside -- which is too bad, because I love Dumaurier and her unrivaled merging of the literary and the trashy.**

Today I actually spent the entire day working ahead in my classes so that I could spend the entirety of tomorrow morning with the Finney novel. It is going to be wonderful. Until next time!

* intrigue! secret government experiments! time travel training centers disguised as ramshackle extra-urban warehouse buildings!
** imagine my exhilaration upon learning that she'd written a time travel romance novel!


I'm nineteen weeks pregnant now, and these months are slipping by with slightly alarming speed. I know time might seem to slow down toward the end of these nine months, as things get, you know, BIGGER and MORE UNCOMFORTABLE, but right now I feel a sort of desperate guilt about not documenting these months more closely -- in, I don't know, some sort of [private, non-blog] journal or something. I wish I could slow down time in order to appreciate more fully this special period of time that is destined to come to such a complete and definite conclusion in November.

I suppose I could at least be documenting this time a little more devotedly. I'm already forgetting some of the details of things that happened at the beginning of this pregnancy, and maybe it's not important to remember exactly what happened the morning I got up in the middle of the night because I was so excited about peeing on the pregnancy test stick -- but maybe it is important, somehow -- that's the feeling that badgers me a bit. It's crazy... this nagging feeling that something utterly irretrievable will be lost if I don't remember exactly what time I got up that morning or precisely what we said to our friends when we finally shared the news.

But it's been hard for me to find words, or to feel the necessary drive to do the work of writing things down, except in a cursory and public* manner, with everything else that's going on in our lives this summer. And anyway, I so often find myself thinking, what can I possibly say about this experience? Not only because I surely can say nothing that hasn't been voiced by a billion pregnant ladies before me, but because, if you'll pardon the wide-eyed wonder, I am frequently, these days, left speechless by the beauty and marvel of it all. Perhaps I should at least be keeping copies of my letters to friends, à la Clarissa Harlowe, but I've not taken the time to do so. It may turn out that this silly blog, and some illustrations** I've done this summer, will have to be documents enough.

* Theoretically public, if anyone were to actually read this blog.
** The uterus, above, isn't really one of them. It's just a little thingy I cut out of black paper and thought was cute.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Hey, Baby

This week I did a self-portrait with acrylic, cut paper, and Photoshop. I'm not quite this enormous yet, but definitely growing! And one of the books* says that our baby is now the size of a lobster tail (?), because apparently the authors couldn't come up with a normal household object for a size comparison.

* Probably my favorite of the handful we've got on hand, actually. I've found the much-celebrated What to Expect When You're Expecting to be much too glib and perky for my tastes. Its written in the cutesy, punny style of one of those insipid women's beauty mags. It does have a great index, though, so I go to that book when I have an ultra-specific question.

Meet Your Miso, part 2

I love miso soup for a light lunch or a precursor to the main event at dinnertime. This one calls for yellow miso paste, which I've started to prefer to the red for simple soups like this one. Tofu and fresh spinach, combined with the protein found in the miso, really pack the nutrients.

Miso Soup with Spinach

2 T. olive oil
1/3 block extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t . ground pepper
2 1/2 c. potato water
2 1/2 T. mild yellow miso paste
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 T. wheat-free tamari
1/3 c. finely chopped fresh baby spinach*

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pan. Add the tofu and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté the cubed tofu for about ten minutes, stirring every few minutes until the cubes are golden.

In a small pot, whisk together the potato water and miso paste. Add the onion. Bring to a boil, then add tofu and tamari and reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally. When onion is soft, stir in the spinach and remove from heat.

Serves two.

* I like to cut the spinach into thin, fine strips using this method used for chopping basil.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Wacom tablet bag!

I finally commissioned a custom bag for my beloved, indispensable Wacom tablet. Observe the cuteness! The talented Sarah Rose designed and created the bag, which has specially-sized interior pockets for the stylus and its holder. She might do a commission for you if you e-mail her!

Finding a nice bag for this piece of equipment is notoriously difficult, and even the bag manufactured by Wacom specifically for these tablets has garnered vitriolic reviews all over the interwebs because the tablet doesn't really fit properly into the bag (oops), doesn't have a carrying strap, and isn't padded. So I'm thrilled to have this specially made, ultra-cushiony, one-of-a-kind solution.