This is one of my favorite pictures from this weekend, even though my arms look like sausages. Becka and I decided that our grandpa looks like James Dean.

*amended* a quick poll seems to show that my Grandpa looks a lot more like Hugh Hefner than James Dean.


Well, it happened. My baby sister got married. The two days before the wedding were filled with one disaster after another, but the wedding itself went off perfectly and Becka was very possibly the most beautiful bride in the history of the world.

She is now enjoying her honeymoon in Jamaica, while I am, ahem, enjoying a Monday morning at work.



Here we go

God help me, baby stuff is so damn cute! I fear that I am treading a dangerous path that inevitably leads to ribbons and bows and ruffles and pastels. Someone stop me before I get there.

Last night, we bought a crib bedding set. It features alternating squares of green and white stripes and polka dots with adorably stoned-looking frogs. My stomach got all melty when I looked at it (and then, of course, the baby sensed my weakness and kicked me a good one right in the belly button).

We seem to be developing a frog/toad theme for the nursery, which is fine with me. I love frogs and toads, and the decor is really for me, right? As B keeps pointing out, the baby is just going to poop and throw up on everything anyway.


I'm so happy that Stephen Hawking's zero-g flight yesterday went well. I can't imagine how torturous it must be to be trapped in an almost useless body day after day, and I was thrilled to hear that he might escape the weight of his illness, even if for only a few 25 second bursts. I hope it was the "bliss" he expected.


Poetry Thursday

The First Green of Spring

Out walking in the swamp picking cowslip, marsh and marigold,
this sweet first green of spring. Now sautéed in a pan melting
to a deeper green than ever they were alive, this green, this life,

harbinger of things to come. Now we sit at the table munching
on this message from the dawn which says we and the world
are alive again today, and this is the world's birthday. And

even though we know we are growing old, we are dying, we
will never be young again, we also know we're still right here
now, today, and, my oh my! don't these greens taste good.

-David Budbill


In case

Just in case you forgot how cute my doggies are, and how happy they are when they get to splash in Barton Creek:

I just realized that in all my water shots of the dogs, they usually aren't wet up past their knees. In Sebastian's case, it's because he doesn't much care for more than a few inches of water at a time. Monster loves the water, although he only gets in deep water to retrieve sticks. But his favorite thing is to just find a comfortable spot that keeps his feet cool and then pant and grin and look around as if to say "isn't life wonderful?"

I know these don't compare in adorableness with Lee's puppy shots, but I've done used up all the puppy in my dogs several years ago.



I have lots of plants that need pictures taken of, but it is apparently monsoon season in Austin and I can't seem to manage a sunny time to take my camera outside. According to News 8 Austin, tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and dry, but it's supposed to rain and storm and hail and tornado at us all night tonight, so there might not be anything left to take pictures of tomorrow.

So here are the only three pictures I have for right now:

First, a moth cocoon that B found in the garage. I've never seen one before, and I love the way it looks all alien and tie dyed.

Next, a mandevilla vine that B's mom brought for me last week. It has two big pink buds, but I think they are holding out for some sunshine.

Finally, my Pom Wonderful tree! I only recently found out that pomegranate trees grow well in Austin, and as soon as I did, I knew I had to have one. Not only are they tasty and delicious, but they make extravagantly beautiful flowers.


Rufus update - the gender episode

Am I breaking any federal laws by posting this picture? Anyway, in case you can't tell, that's a pair of legs with a penis in the middle. Woohoo!

According to the doctor, everything looks perfect. He is about 6 inches long (not including legs) and weighs about 2/3 of a pound. And he is most definitely a he.

We bought a baby shirt on the way home to celebrate. It comes with blue pants and is most definitely on the boy side of the baby clothes spectrum.


Just some thoughts

I don't talk about politics much on this blog, but something has been bothering me lately. I've never been able to come down on one side or the other on the abortion issue; I mostly just stay away from it. But in all the articles that I've seen about the recent decision by the Supreme Court, it has frequently been mentioned that there is no medically necessary reason for a partial-birth abortion. I would like to say that I don't think that is true. A partial-birth abortion, or Dilation & Extraction, is what I had last summer. Granted, it's a very different case when the baby has already died, but the Supreme Court has not made that distinction or any other. I could have had labor induced, but my doctor told us that it would have taken a few days and would have probably been very painful. I don't know if we made the right choice when we decided to opt for the surgery - we were in shock and we didn't have the luxury of thinking through our decision very carefully. I am very ambivalent about whether we were correct. All I know is that when I spent the worst day of my life at an abortion clinic (rather than at a hospital, where that procedure is not performed), the people there were sympathetic and caring and sensitive to what we were going through, and they performed a service that the hospital was unwilling to provide.

I can't come down firmly on one side or the other in this debate. All I know is that it if it were such an easy moral issue, then it would have been settled a long time ago. As in most political issues, I just wish people would remember the gray areas.


Misery loves company

Remember a few weeks ago how B and I both got a nasty stomach flu? Incredibly, we both managed to catch it again. Except this time it was much much worse. We've both spent the last three days in bed or throwing up. I have lost 6 1/2 pounds and have eaten practically nothing. Rufus has not been sympathetic to my plight - his kicks are slight, but when your stomach is already hurting, it doesn't help.

Hopefully, by the end of the weekend we'll be as good as new and ready for a big week next week with the ultrasound appointment on Monday, an OB checkup on Friday, and my sister's wedding on Saturday. Wish us luck!



Predictions published in the Ladies Home Journal in December of 1900. Some are startlingly accurate, such as #10 which appears to predict today's instant media culture, and some are hilariously wrong, such as the one about the letters C, X, and Q being abandoned as unnecessary.

via BoingBoing


Last night, I dreamt that I was standing on a landscape watching in horror as an enormous mountain moved slowly through the landscape, irreversibly changing everything in its path.

My subconscious isn't very subtle sometimes.

Poetry Thursday

Burial Rites

Everyone comes back here to die
as I will soon. The place feels right
since it’s half dead to begin with.
Even on a rare morning of rain,
like this morning, with the low sky
hoarding its riches except for
a few mock tears, the hard ground
accepts nothing. Six years ago
I buried my mother’s ashes
beside a young lilac that’s now
taller than I, and stuck the stub
of a rosebush into her dirt,
where like everything else not
human it thrives. The small blossoms
never unfurl; whatever they know
they keep to themselves until
a morning rain or a night wind
pares the petals down to nothing.
Even the neighbor cat who shits
daily on the paths and then hides
deep in the jungle of the weeds
refuses to purr. Whatever’s here
is just here, and nowhere else,
so it’s right to end up beside
the woman who bore me, to shovel
into the dirt whatever’s left
and leave only a name for some-
one who wants it. Think of it,
my name, no longer a portion
of me, no longer inflated
or bruised, no longer stewing
in a rich compost of memory
or the simpler one of bone shards,
dirt, kitty litter, wood ashes,
the roots of the eucalyptus
I planted in ’73,
a tiny me taking nothing,
giving nothing, and free at last.

-Philip Levine


Last time until Monday, I swear!

Remember my coworker with the miracle? I don't think I ever updated on that. She is doing great - we are due within a day of each other. Crazy. Our poor boss might never forgive us for both going on maternity leave at the same time.

Rufus update

So the big news is that I felt the baby move on Monday. It happened in the morning while I was laying in bed not wanting to get up. I was laying on my back - exactly how you're not supposed to lay when you're pregnant - and I felt a little *thump-thump-thump-(pause)-thump-thump*. It was scary and exciting. I had a little bit of an Alien moment - it's a bit creepy to have something that is not you, moving of its own volition, inside your belly. It's also a little funny - I think he was angry that I was laying on my back because he quit kicking as soon as I turned over. When I turned back over onto my back, he did it again. It's kind of like your downstairs neighbors banging on the ceiling with a broom when you play your music too loud.

I have also given up on wearing my normal clothes. I am wearing maternity pants and maternity tops, which, B has kindly informed me, make me look like I'm about three feet tall. He quickly followed up with "but it's cute!" Uh huh.

Monday is ultrasound day, so I will quit talking about baby stuff until then.



I had a busy weekend full of relatives and food and shopping and hiking and opera. And now I'm behind at work, because that's what always happens when you take a day off. Hopefully, I will update soon with new pictures of my doggies and some important Rufus news.


Poetry Thursday (Watch out, Mom, it's a little racy!)

The Dress

Lie down on the bright hill
with the moon's hand on your cheek
your flesh deep in the white folds of your dress,
and you will not hear the passionate mole
extending the length of his darkness,
or the owl arranging all of the night,
which is his wisdom, or the poem
filling your pillow with its blue feathers.
But if you step out of your dress and move into the shade,
the mole will find you, so will the owl, and so will the poem,
and you will fall into another darkness, one you will find
yourself making and remaking until it is perfect.

-Mark Strand


I am prouder than I ought to be to announce that all three of our pets have now been featured on the Stuff On My [Pet] websites.

See here for Monster and here for Sebastian. Bella was on SOMC a while back, but I can't find the old link.



Here are some recent referrals to this site (comments in parenthesis are mine):

I am completely flattered (me too, really)
Coolest apartment ever
Dangerous to drink cold water after a meal
Hunts meatloaf fixins (mmm...meatloaf)
where to buy "nose studs" in austin (you buy them at the "jewelry" store)
Kraft meatloaf with stuff n such (mmm...meatloaf)
squirrel germs
deer repellent for marijuana plants (sorry dood, I don't think I've got what you are looking for)
squirrel flinger (don't bother, the squirrels are smarter than you)
Do scorpions hate lavendar? (Yes. Scorpions hate everything.)
Good carpet bugs
How to make a paper mache chicken (awesome!)


In case you were wondering

The correct color order to eat candy in is brown, blue, purple, orange, green, red, yellow. I try to avoid non-standard colors. This caused me some grief last week when I had some sour gummy worms that had two colors per worm. I finally determined that the order was red-blue, orange-red, yellow-green, with the individual halves being eaten in the correct color order.

Sometimes, B muses out loud what I could accomplish if I directed my mental energy toward making the world a better place, rather than my extensive and detailed set of rules for everyday living, but I like to think that I am doing my part to defy entropy.


I have a nasty headache and my lap top keeps breaking and it's quarter close. So I might not post a lot this week.

But here is an interesting article about mens and womens brains and sexuality.


Attempted Poetry Monday

I try to post poems I like or poems that strike me as interesting on Thursdays. This poem is neither. However, I think it could win a Most Tortured Metaphor award. Which is too bad, because Molly Peacock is a really cool name.

The Land of Tears

You can stop in the spot you're already in
and enter the Land of Tears. It takes
a liquid thought inside the tin
mixing bowl of the brain pan, full of aches
from the scraping of your mind-spoon to make
the journey of the ingredients, the batter
that you turn out into a pan and bake
back into your old self, now new matter,
all because of that liquid thought mixed up
with your dry milled existence. Curiously
simple tears stop the furiously
churned air, as a door opening up
stops an argument. You know what you meant.
As, after a rain, the air is brilliant.

-Molly Peacock


Landon Spivey makes his entrance

As it turns out, my nephew is just as stubborn as his mother. He finally made his appearance at around 7:30 yesterday evening by c-section.


Rufus Update - Relief

This is the point in my last pregnancy that the baby died. Of course we didn't find out until more than a week later when a funny test result prompted a trip to the perinatologist's office. So, to make a major understatement, I've been a wee bit apprehensive for the last week or two. Today I had blood taken for that same test, but this time they also listened to the baby's heartbeat to make me feel better. Not only was there a heartbeat, but it was strong and fast and healthy sounding. I don't think I had even realized just how worried I was until I heard that sound. It felt like a ton of bricks lifting off my shoulders.

In other baby related news, my step-sister is in the hospital at this very moment giving birth to my first nephew, Landon. Assuming that he is not as stubborn as his mother, I should have pictures to post by tonight. I would give anything to be able to drive down to Houston to see him, but our weekends are booked up through mid-May right now.

As if to celebrate two new lives with me, my orchid from last year decided to bloom again this morning.

Everything just seems beautiful to me today.


Poetry Schmoetry

I don't think I mentioned that B had a nasty stomach flu last week? Yesterday, I got it. I went to work, thinking it was just normal morning sickness (um, hello? 4 months? isn't that supposed to be done by now?) but only made it until about 11:00 before I rushed home to spend all day throwing up.

I'm feeling better now, although I'm so weak that walking from the bedroom to the kitchen gets me dizzy and out of breath. The only good news? I lost about five pounds overnight and I can temporarily zip up my jeans again.


We don't need no stinkin' badges

Last night we watched the The Treasure of The Sierra Madre. I'm generally not a big fan of old westerns, having been overexposed as a child, but this one is definitely worth seeing. Humphrey Bogart plays Dobbs, an American bum in Mexico who joins with another expat and an old prospector to go looking for gold. The story is less about the search than a character study of Dobbs as he descends into paranoia and madness. It was a little disconcerting to see Humphrey Bogart playing a role unlike the others I have seen him in. I identify him with Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and The Big Sleep - does anyone know if he did any other westerns? In any case, I thought that Tim Holt, the B-movie actor who plays the other bum Curtin, stole the show portraying a basically decent and honest man who is struggling to retain his humanity and his principles. The ending wasn't very surprising, but it was satisfying, and that's good enough for me.

Bonus review: I also recently watched Tous Les Matins du Monde and thought it was mostly awful and cliched. It's only redeeming feature was that it had Gérard Depardieu. And everyone knows that Americans only like French movies if they have Gérard Depardieu.

Magical, this rain thing

When we left for Dallas on Friday, I had three roses that had opened. When we got back on Sunday, I had about two dozen and so many buds that I can't even count. My driveway smells like Valentine's Day.


Busy weekend

On Friday after my doctor's appointment, we drove to Dallas for my sister's bridal luncheon. It poured all the way from Austin, so the drive was pretty miserable. We hadn't been gone for too long when Monster started making whining noises in the back seat. His tail was wagging frantically and he was panting and shivering. We didn't know what was wrong with him until he all of a sudden lunged to the front seat and tried to attack the windshield wipers. He spend most of the rest of the trip sitting in B's lap trying to catch them.

The bridal luncheon was on Saturday at Cuba Libre in Dallas. We had some excellent tacos and a lot of gossip - poor B was the only guy (my sister's fiancee bailed with a hangover from his bachelor party the night before) and he wasn't entirely comfortable with all the talk of shoes and hair-dos and other girly stuff. But then again, neither was I. I'm not really good at that kind of thing. In any case, we had fun and I discovered banana chips dipped in queso. Yum.

On Saturday night we took B's parents to see the Body Worlds exhibit at the Science Museum. I hadn't been to the museum since middle school and I was very happy to find it just like I remembered. The exhibit was incredible. I was worried that I might be a little disturbed, especially by the fetal development section, and B was worried that it would smell bad, but neither of those things happened. We spent a delightful two hours looking at skinned dead people. I was especially fascinated by the blood vessel models. Somehow, the blood vessels of the body or body part were flooded a colored plastic and then the rest of the body was dissolved away with acid, leaving nothing but the circulatory system. Every capillary was left in place. It was the most amazing and delicate thing you can imagine. I think B's parents were a little more disgusted than fascinated, but they were good sports and went through the entire exhibit with us.

On Sunday, we had breakfast with my mom and sister, and then hung out with friends for the rest of the day and didn't get home until almost midnight. We are exhausted today, with no clean clothes, no groceries, and a dirty house. I'm guessing we will spend the next few weeks catching up on things until it's time to do it all over again for the wedding.