Previous month:
September 2011
Next month:
November 2011

October 2011

Books - What I've Been Reading

The reading has been slowed down a bit as I tackled two LARGE books these last six weeks or so. The first was Espn_those_guys_hvae_all_the_fun_2011_a_pESPN: Those Guys Have All The Fun by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales. I have watched enough SportsCenter since being married to Kurt to appreciate the sports channel and was curious about its personalities and history.

I'll admit right here, I didn't finish it. I got about 2/3 of the way through (it's 784 pages) and was done. The story is fascinating, no doubt, but after a while it got kind of tiring to read. The style in which it's put together is different in that it is not a straight up narrative written by the two authors. Instead it is a collection of interviews that have been broken up to tell the cable channel's history from the beginning. So you read the different perspectives of all the significant players in chopped up form. It took a little getting used to and sometimes it's broken up by a comment by the authors to provide context or to set up the next series of quotes. I found this style a bit distracting and herky jerky. If you are at all interested in sports and are a fan of ESPN, then it's really for you. There are so many ups and downs, so many hilarious moments and many interesting dramatic moments. Just cuz I didn't finish it doesn't mean it's not worth getting.

Franzen100823_2_198Next up I read another long one (500 pages this time):  Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. It wasn't something I was dying to read but a friend loaned it to me and I thought what the heck. I had read The Corrections years ago and found it well written, but for the life of me I can't tell you what it was about other than a family with issues. (hmmmm, how many novels does that describe?) I think I enjoyed this book more than The Corrections, but still felt quite distant from the characters and the action. I always looked forward to reading it, but not in a very passionate way. There were a few nights when I stayed up later than normal reading and found it hard to put down, but more because the "action" had more momentum, not because I was emotionally attached. The guy can write, there is no question, but in a few years will I remember what the story was about? Hard to tell.

I just finished reading Freedom last night, so I'm not sure what I'll open tonight. I might start The Wave by Susan Casey (about giant ocean waves and "the surfers and scientists who seek them out") or maybe find something else I bought a whle back and stashed on a shelf. I'll begin my search after dinner...

Pregnancy: New Skills Before Baby Comes

We have been very fortunate to get some pretty great baby gifts. Three of these involve learning new skills.

1) The Ergo Baby (Thanks Shana and Peter!) - this is the baby carrier you wear and it came highly recommended. Bonus: It was invented by a woman on Maui who then sold it for lots of money (good for her!). The company address is still Maui, which we like. Being someone who likes to be prepared, I figured let's get it out and practice with it before baby comes. But what to use for the stand-in baby? Bunny (our cat) would be about the right weight (7-8 pounds) but might be a bit peeved while we squished her into it. We settled on the other bunny - Hopper, the cute stuffed animal I helped Grace make at Build-A-Bear when she came to visit. Kurt was the guinea pig for the first fitting.

Nailed it!


We are going to rule the aisles at Trader Joe's...what?

2) Car Seat - The Graco Snugride 35 in a dark grey arrived last week (thanks Uncle Glenn, Aunt Joanie and Richard!). We have yet to put the base in the car (and have it double checked by experts) but I wanted to get at it with Hopper to adjust straps and generally get a feel for it. It's like a whole new set of muscles you have to learn to use on the buckles and locks. It's a little challenging using a stuffed animal as you can pull the straps pretty dang tight! I'm sure there will be some fiddling in the hospital before we go home. Hard to know how big or small Sweet Potato will be when she arrives. For now, Hopper was an excellent stand in.


I wonder if they have separate straps for the bunny ears?

3) The Bugaboo Cameleon - the awesome stroller (thanks to the German contingent and Kurt's mom!) takes a bit of getting used to. Again, new muscles to learn as you break it down and then snap it back into place. No photos here simply because it would need to be more like an exercise video. But if you click here and then click the link that says "Watch the Demo" you'll see what we were doing. Well, you'll see how we will look in the not too distant future. We were a bit rougher and stumbly than this nice lady, but we got it. (I'd love to see the outtakes on this...)

All in all we are feeling more and more prepared with the gadgets, or at least getting acclimated to the new "tech" we'll be using from now on. For me it will all be easier when I don't have quite so much belly in the way of the gadgets!



Another Bookstore Closing - So Bummed Out!

There have been many sad stories of independent bookstores being closed due to larger chains coming into their areas. But now one of the bigger chains is closing a store near me and I'm really bummed!* I just read that the Barnes and Noble at the Westside Pavilion will be closing soon.


Yes, I'm one of those old fashioned people who actually likes actual BOOKS. (It's going to be a long while before I get a kindle or other ereader. Truly.) I'm also old fashioned in that I like going to a bookstore and browsing among the tables and shelves full of books, all their covers beckoning me to take a look. A good bookstore is my favorite place to shop for gifts, from kids to grown-ups to grandparents.

The Barnes and Noble is right next to the theaters at the Westside Pavilion which made it easy to browse before or after seeing a movie. Sometimes the movie would inspire me to go find more info on whatever the topic was and buy a book. Now if I want to browse a big bookstore, I have to go to Santa Monica or The Grove, both quite far out of the way from where I live. And I live mere blocks from the Westside Pavilion. Apparently they are going to move the H&M to the bookstore spot. Snooze city.

I buy a lot of books from Amazon, but in all the years I've been an online shopper (I was an early adapter of online shopping because of Amazon's prices and convenience) it's never made me want to go to a bookstore LESS OFTEN. Never. I think this stems from growing up with an awesome reader as mentor: My Mother. I loved reading from way back and mom read a ton too. My favorite thing was going to the bookstore with her because she always let me buy a book. Or two. Always! Candy store? No. Toy store? No. Bookstore? EVERY TIME! Shopping at a bookstore is in my DNA.

I'm really going to miss the BN. You know what Culver City needs? A big bookstore. Hey Culver City, what do you think?

*I know that Borders completely going out of business is more of a shock, especially on Maui, but I never much went to Borders, so it was less life altering for me.

Pregnancy: Birthing Class

Being new to the whole "giving birth" thing, I though it best we take a class to see what the dealio is. I'm really glad we did. Our classes were held over four Saturdays in September and took place at Cedars-Sinai (which is where we will be having the wee one). I figured if nothing else, just getting a tour of labor and delivery at Cedars would be worth the price of the class! That place is HUGE!

Here's what I learned (I can't speak for Kurt as I'm pretty sure he was focused on different aspects):

•Giving birth is really nothing like the movies. Yes yes, I know that movies fake most things but seriously, real life is so much easier. In the movies, your water breaks, you are suddenly in horrific pain, and you have to race to the hospital. Then, labor lasts about 40 minutes and comes with more pain and yelling and screaming. Also, nobody seems to ever get an epidural in the movies. Ever.

•Giving birth in real life seems to be mostly about being uncomfortable for a longish while. It's not like 24 hours of one giant contraction.

•During the early stages of labor you are encouraged to stay at home as long as possible. "They longer you stay at home, the less time you spend at the hospital." Of course if there is a problem or concern, we'll go to the hospital right away. But if things go fine and dandy and my water doesn't break (it's not that common for labor to start with water breaking, I learned.) then we will be here, walking around, I'll be breathing a lot and trying different positions to weather each contraction as they get stronger. When they become very regular (approx. 5 minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute each for an hour) then we will head over to Cedars.

•Watching the actual birth movies was very wonderful and moving for me. They made me feel much more comfortable about the whole process. In fact, I'm now very excited about labor and delivery because it's all temporary and at the end you get a baby! (I think I was the only one in the class who teared up watching the birth movies we saw. Some of the guys were being all manly and going "Oh ugh!!" at the actual birth part, but I just got all weepy with joy. Babies being born, how awesome is that?)

•Cedars-Sinai Labor and Delivery is a big place. The actual delivery rooms are huge and seem very comfortable. Seeing it all beforehand took away any fear or mystery (for me).

•Now we know where to park on the day!

•Unless there is a specific reason not to, your baby stays with you all the time while you recover at Cedars. And there is a small cot/bed for Kurt in the recovery room so he can stay too. Family gets to be together all the time, right from the start. Sweet.

So I'm ready. Baby needs about seven more weeks to bake, but when the time comes, we will breathe and, as our class instructor says: we will focus on the power of my body, not the pain!


Pregnancy: Baby Room And Office

Way back in July I started making room in my office to accomodate baby stuff. What a difference!

July (in which everything lived in my office!):


October (in which there is space for office and baby)(A nursing chair will go where the stroller is, eventually):


And the view from my desk chair:


Ahhh! Space and calm.