Monday, June 26, 2006

Birdwatchers


Our new apartment in Chicago is quite different than any I've ever lived in before. It has lots of windows with very wide windowsills. The cats are big fans of those windows. They remind me of my grandfather with their ability to simply look out the window for hours. We live on the first floor, which is where I've been fortunate to live for the past three apartments. Wildlife in Chicago, and the Midwest in general, is quite different than in San Diego. In San Diego, the only things I remember in abundance were the snails and the seagulls. We have neither of those here. What we do have are squirells, robins, and bunnies. They're crawling all over our lawns and are therefore highly visible when anyone or any cat looks out a groundfloor window. My desk sits just in front of one of these windows. We have blinds that cover the windows, but of course, that doesn't stop the cats from trying to get as close to the glass as possible. It's a bit noisy, listening to them try to step through the blinds rather than under them, so we keep them pulled up about six inches or so. There's always a nice gap for the kitties to sit in. I try to keep the desk neat and clean since Nick and I have to share it. It becomes rather difficult when as I sit typing or writing, a flying furball comes leaping over the couch, lands on the desk and prepares to pounce on whatever it is that's roaming around outisde the window. Generally, a few things get knocked over. On occasion, I get a few more typo's than I'd planned (paws aren't concudive to typing), and need to refill my water glass sooner rather than later. We have a jar of change on the desk (stupid toll roads!), which routinely gets spilled all over the desk and floor. What's most amusing to me is they way the cats watch these small creatures. They act as if they're ready to leap right through the screen (and no doubt would if they could). They have no thought for the fact that they're sitting right on my hands or my book or whatever happens to be in the way. They perch up on their hind legs and wiggle their butts back and forth, ready to leap, yet knowing that they'll never get through the glass before that tasty morsel gets away. Oh well. It keeps them entertained!

This is a Test


I'm trying to add a picture. Is this working? Whoo hoo! It worked. This is Nick and me at Disneyland about two years ago. I think it's the Alice In Wonderland ride or something.

A Better Desk Chair

That's what I need! That's it! That will make my desk more compelling. Sure. That's what I tell myself. This isn't new. And it's not my unique problem. All writers face this, I'm told. Sure, when we're young and full of ideas, nothing can keep us from the solitude of our minds and the privacy of our journals. But now, as an adult, faced with more time that I want to have, I have nothing to say and no desire to write it down. I want to have written, not to do the actual writing.

I used to dream about what it would be like to stay home and do the cooking and cleaning and have all of this time for my writing. Now, since I've stopped working, I HATE IT! I'm bored most of the day, hoping that something interesting will be on the Food Network or that my old faithful, re-runs of Law and Order will be on USA or TNT. Most of the time, they don't disappoint me. I have hours of time in which I could be writing. I have a part-time work-from-home job that PAYS me to write. And yet, it is the last thing I want to do. Laundry is much more exciting. Those dishes are annoying me. This carpet is filthy! It needs a good vacuuming.

It's worse when Nick is home. I so rarely see him that I feel guilty doing anything but something with him. It can be anything--vegging out in front of the TV. Going to the gym, playing with the cats. Anything we can do together. We can not both write. (Besides, if he ever decides he wants to be a writer, I'm going right out and getting my pilots' license--that's my dream, pal! It's bad enough that he used to work for the bookstore that I tried to get a job at in three different states!)

I tell myself that at my old job, I would sit at my desk for hours working. Why can't I do that now? Well, I say to myself, it was that fabulous chair. I had a great desk chair that probably cost a hundred dollars. My current chair was probably twenty bucks. Not exactly the best thing to sit on. Even now, my desk sits empty and I'm on the couch. Thank goodness for lap tops and long cords.

Sigh! Well, I've procrastenated long enough. I should get some work done. My 250+ CD collection needs alphabetizing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Joys of Motherhood--Almost

I've been married just about a year and a half. I know I've said it before, but it's truly the best thing in the world. I recommend marriage to anyone who's found someone as fabulous for them as my husband is for me.

In our early newlywed days, people were always asking us how we liked being married, and when they heard how wonderful things were, they were quick to rain on our proverbial parade.

"That won't last."
"I remember those days."
"The first year is like that."

Well, I'm here to say that if the first year is the hardest, then the rest is smoothe sailing. The second year is so far, better than the first. We're still deleriously happy. Much happier now than even a few months ago--we're having a baby.

To put it bluntly, our lives are completely different now than they were when we got married. Nick is in an entirely different career now (airplanes and not books) and I'm not doing much work at all. Our Chicago apartment is much bigger and less expensive than our San Diego apartment. So far, the only thing that's the same is the weather. I don't know who said it was awful in Chicago. I can't tell the difference yet. We've spent the better part of my 21 pregnant weeks apart and now that I'm finally home, I'm adjusting to an entirely different lifestyle.

When I left my fabulous job at Burnham Institute for Medical Research just three weeks ago, I managed to secure a part-time position with Burnham that I could easily do from home. I had every intention of getting a full-time job when our move to Chicago became definite, but at that point, we didn't know we'd be a family of three in just a few months. Since I have a conscience and a nagging sense of duty, I could not continue a job search for more than a few months. It just didn't feel right keeping something so huge from people that I was asking to trust me to do a certain job to the best of my ability. Since Nick and I discovered that financially, we'd be fine on one income, I decided that once I moved to Chicago, I'd take on the household duties full time and after the baby was old enough (or I was starved for adult contact enough) I'd go back to work wherever I could find something that suited me.

Great plan, don't you think? Well, we certainly did--and still do. It just seems that most other people think they know better than us and aren't as optomostic as we are. I tell them I'm going back to work after the baby is born. Here's what I get:

"No you won't."

"Yes I will. I don't think I could not work."

"You won't want to go back."

"I think I will. I like to be busy."

"You won't go back."

"Yes I will."

"No you won't."

At this point, I'm tired of arguing with someone who clearly seems to think that they know me better than I know me. Throw that on top of all the pregnancy advice I get, and I'm ready to swear off human contact for the rest of my pregnancy--except for my husband, of course.

Isn't it amazing how people who've never had kids are suddenly experts on pregnancy? What's worse is that they all contradict each other.

"Morning sickness is over by noon," says one. "The nausea is much worse at night," says another. And neither of them are parents, or worse, they're both men. I can appreciate that many men experience some of the same symptoms as their wives during a pregnancy, or at the very least, they've had to live with it. But, I'm sorry guys--you have no idea how my pregnancy will go. Every pregnancy is different and therefore, telling me what will help or what I should do is irrelevant and unnecessary. Let me worry about which side to sleep on or how much caffeine I can have. I'm keeping track--don't worry. Don't look at my butt and tell me that I'm having a girl or determine by my breast size that I'm having a boy. In fact, don't look at my butt or my boobs at all--talk to my face.

Speaking of those growing body parts, I wish that maternity clothing manufacturers would realize that not all of us mommies-to-be want to show the world our breasts. I've never been small up there and have been looking for ways to deminish my milk providers. Pregnancy clothes, however, seem to assume that all of us were small breasted before pregnancy and now want to show off our new-found boobs. Thank you, but no. Mine are big enough and I don't want to draw attention to them. Full figured women get pregnant too and yes, our breasts get even bigger. All of my developed life I've had to coax male eyes to my face and away from my chest. I know they're not really (always) aware that they're talking to my chest, but if I were flat, there would be nothing to look at. Now that I'm pregnant, it's like my girls are out there to be noticed. Well, they're a bit shy and don't like being seen when they're not fully dressed.

As far as the rest of my pregnancy goes, it's smooth sailing for me. The nausea is long gone. I'm not tired all the time. I have no weird food cravings or aversions and I'm not crabby all the time. (Just bored, now that I'm not working.) In 21 weeks, I've gained less than five pounds, still manage to get in a decent workout and am not eating more than my husband--more often, perhaps, but he can still pack away more of a pizza than I can. Really, the only obvious evidence I have of being pregnant at all is the basketball I've swallowed. Other than that, I can hardly tell.