Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cowboys 'n Indians....er...Cheeseheads

We had our first childbirth prep class today which included a tour of the maternity ward. Dear me, I swear it's a hotel, not a hospital. I knew the postpartum rooms looked great based on the online photos. I had no idea the LDR (Labor, Delivery, and Recovery) rooms looked even more so, with the exception of obvious medical equipment.

So the only downside to this class tonight is that it occurred at the same time as the Cowboys/Packers game. But that's what the DVR is for, so I got to watch it anyway with the added bonus of skipping the commercials and boring parts. I managed to condense it into less than an hour of actual viewed time. Now comes my real dilemma...

I didn't know which team to cheer for.

That may sound really strange, and you might be thinking "Anna, you live in Texas....duh". Well, sure I chose to move here, and I have been a Cowboys fan through the good times and the bad. But for some unknown reason I've also been a Packers fan for years. I always cheer for the Packers when they play, and I always cheer for the 'Boys. But it is inevitable that they at some point will play each other, and that's when I'm not sure who to cheer for. I love them both, and would have been happy to see either win tonight.

So unless you don't pay attention to the news, the Cowboys won tonight 37-27. I am especially happy that it was a fairly good game, and I'm very happy that the Cowboys are finally playing decently compared to the last few years.

Please don't hate me for having an identity crisis....blame it on the pregnancy hormones....yeah, that's it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

Time for some humor.

I have come to the conclusion that my cat is a masochist. She hates to be picked up, and complains if I pet her too hard. She throws a fit that I (as Sean puts it) treat her like a doll. Yet she continues to jump up on the couch and sleep next to me, or cuddle next to me in the bed. She purrs like crazy.

So it doesn't seem to matter how much I harass the cat, she keeps coming back for more.

For any of you who are People for the Eating of Tasty Animals (aka: PETA) advocates, please be assured that I don't abuse my pets. I could never willingly harm an animal, in fact a few days ago I spent money I really couldn't afford to spend to find out why Lily is sick. I even refuse to declaw a cat as it is painful for them an inhumane in my opinion (Lily came to us already declawed, I don't mind adopting a cat that has been).

So no, I've never hurt Lily on purpose, although she really tries to get me to it seems. We have white carpet in our apartment, and the white cat blends in quite well especially if she shuts her blue eyes. And she thinks it's funny or something to lay in the middle of the walkway, so we've stepped on her a couple of times because she was too lazy to get out of the way. Yet it breaks my heart to have to force oral medication down her throat twice a day. I know she is in pain, and she gets frightened when we take her into the bathroom and close the door (she now knows it's coming). But I have to keep telling myself it's for her own good. We try to keep her as comfortable as possible and talk softly and lovingly to her, and it seems to work because when we're done she'll cuddle with me on the couch.

Poor kitty. She is kinda fun to harass, though, and I think she enjoys it. Methinks it's kind of a game to her, a type of kitten-play. Except for carrying her around the house, that is...oh well.

I do love my Lily. I feel kind of sorry for her, though...she's going to lose her place as ruling monarch of the house when George comes...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nerd Test

I couldn't help myself....


NerdTests.com says I'm a Kinda Dorky Nerd Queen.  What are you?  Click here!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

And Now For Some Bad News

I knew this was going to happen sooner or later, I just kept wishing it were later. Sean and I visited Mom and Oma yesterday. We took Oma out to dinner and then to see Christmas lights, both of which helped her to relax a bit and get her mind off of Mom. All went well until we got back to the house. Mom is fine, but she tells us she just got off the phone with Francis, the lady who's been taking care of my great-grandmother, Nana, who is 96.

Apparently Francis was finally able to convince Nana to visit a doctor on Tuesday. From there she was hospitalized until Thanksgiving. Tests revealed one of the valves in her heart to be opening only as big as a pencil lead, her limbs have swollen tremendously, and she has been refusing to eat. Her body is just shutting down. She realizes this and has come to accept it, and knows she might only have a few days left.

Nana lives in Ellensburg, WA. When I was younger and lived in Washington (Puyallup/Tacoma area), she had lived nearby. I spent a lot of time at Nana's and have very fond memories. It's funny how at this time those memories seem to surface at the oddest moments. I'm finding it very hard to deal with the impending loss of someone so close to me, especially with the problems Mom has been going through.

I know she's going to a much better place and am praying daily for her until she embarks on a different kind of journey.

On a side note, at least Lily (my cat) isn't terminally ill like I was afraid. Her blood work came back clean, she is just suffering from a nasty UTI. The vet gave us an orange-flavored antibiotic that must be administered orally and some prescription canned food that she seems to really like. Hopefully this will clear up her problems and she can go back to acting like a normal cat.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wow...

I was reading Et-Tu? today and was struck by her posting refuting a typical atheist line for denying God. Afterward I read the comments left by her readers and was stopped in my tracks by one comment in particular, that of a poster who goes by the name "Tony":

"The fact that most atheists I meet are moral people is one of the greatest indications of the existence of God that I know of.

It proves to me that the "law of God is written on the human heart". How else could a being who is the product of evolution, dragging himself out of the "primordial soup" surviving as the "fittest" to rise to the top of the food chain could behave in a moral manner toward any other creature indicates to me that there is something else at work here.

This is why people like Christopher Hitchens are so nasty and angry all of the time. They are living with the knowledge of the law of God on their heart, they are living it for the most part, but are refusing to acknowledge the author."

This comment reminded me eerily of a friend (who for the sake of privacy I will call "John"). John is a very nice guy, he's a loving father and devoted husband. He and his wife (a Catholic) have been married for almost three decades and have one son. John is now retired but worked hard his entire life to provide for his family.

John, however, is extremely liberal and constantly argues against Christianity (he kind of sort of claims to be a Buddhist). Even so he treats my husband and me with love. He and his wife have for several years invited us to Thanksgiving dinner and treat us as though we were their own children. They have expressed their desire to babysit George to give Sean and me some time to ourselves. And all this knowing that out of all of our friends Sean and I are the most religious. We (without trying to sound conceited or self-righteous) try to live our lives according to God's will, we try to pray daily, and attempt to attend Mass at least twice a week (although with the baby on the way that's been nearly impossible. We're lucky to make it to church on Sunday mornings).

So when I read that comment, I realized that God has definitely been working in John's heart, although it may not seem obvious, and it occurred to me that I should be including John in my prayers. I realize now that I should have been doing this all along but it's better late than never, right?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pianos

I have a bad habit of watching home improvement/design shows (TLC and HGTV are evil!). One thing that I have noticed quite often when a designer is "designing" or "redesigning" a room is the placement of the homeowner's piano (quite often this dilemma occurs with a grand piano as opposed to an upright). The designer often places the piano near a bay window, corner window area, or some other place where the sunlight plays off of the finish. They want to make it "look good". I cringe every time I see this.

Obviously these designers are clueless as to the care a piano must receive to continue to be a valuable instrument that plays well and stays in tune. Pianos are very sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity due to the various woods and metals used in their construction. Direct sunlight can be very damaging to the fine finish of a piano, and when placed against an outside wall (with poor insulation) the changes in temperature and humidity can severely damage the instrument. Pianos should also never be placed near radiators, humidifiers, A/C vents, etc for the same reason.

A piano should also be tuned regularly. This is not something the average piano owner can do by themselves, in fact it should be done by a trained tuner.

I find it quite sad that someone would pay a large amount of money for a quality instrument (or receive it as an heirloom) and then not take basic steps to care for it. That (to me) is like buying a car and never getting the oil changed or getting regular maintenance done.

Of course, having an electric piano (like my beloved Yamaha) eliminates the need for being so stringent about temperature changes but then I'm sure an interior designer would have a fit because it's not "pretty" enough.

As a side thought, I doubt a designer would also take acoustics of the room into account. I just can't fathom how the sound of a piano rattling off of several windows would be attractive. Oh well. Excuse me while I put my musician self in time out.

Random Thoughts of the Day

Wow, I am in a really bad mood this morning, so perhaps by posting I can fix that. I attribute my poor state of mind to being in pain. I made the mistake yesterday of deciding to vacuum and wash my car, then do shopping errands. Well, I got the vacuuming part done (yay clean car!) but the car wash in our apartment complex did not seem to be accepting my key card. Okay, so it's clean on the inside, but not the outside. Oh well.

So I had to run to Petsmart and pick up litter and food for her royal highness, and then I couldn't not look at the cats in the adoption center. We couldn't afford to get another cat (not to mention Lily wouldn't be very happy and we're expecting the soon to be arrival of George), but it doesn't hurt anything to look. Some cruel person left one of the kittens in a carrier in the Petsmart parking lot in the pouring rain. Poor thing was half-drowned before he was found.

So after I finished looking at and talking to the kitties, I went to Walmart for much needed groceries. At one point I had to sit down in the shoe department to rest for about 15 minutes. I should have taken that as a sign that I was trying to do too much at once, but I'm too stubborn. When I got home I ended up having to make 3 trips up the stairs with frozen/perishable groceries (leaving the rest of them in the car). Needless to say by the time I got upstairs for the last time and got the food put away I was pooped out. When I woke up this morning I almost fell out of bed because my knee wouldn't support my weight. It's swollen quite a bit, a torn meniscus from a previous injury aggravated by the amount of activity from yesterday and probably not helped much by the added weight of pregnancy.

I have now learned my lesson. My bad mood has dissipated somewhat by letting this out, so now perhaps I can get through my day without ripping someone's head off. It also helps that George is now moving around quite a bit.

I'm amazed he's still got room in there to move, it's such a strange feeling to feel something that isn't actually a part of my body moving around of its own volition in there. I'm thinking I might soon be able to distinguish certain parts of his body by what pops up. Mostly I think I see his butt sticking up as it's a bit larger mass that moves. Could be his head. I'm wondering if I'll be able to see a foot outline on my belly any time soon. How can I be in a bad mood with such a miracle occurring in front of my very eyes?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mom

I realize I haven't posted much about my mom in a while, so here's an update. She has been transferred to the Reba McEntire Center for Rehabilitation where she is receiving both medical care and physical therapy. She is improving in her therapy although she is still hooked up to the feeding tube. She did have a swallow test today and is improving some. She told me she walked about 150 feet with her walker today. Her detailed MRI was done yesterday, unfortunately we don't have results for it yet. She'll meet with her neurosurgeon later.

Please continue to keep her in your prayers as she recovers.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Whatever Happened to "Customer Service"?

I seem to be on a roll here with my rants, but I'm hoping this one doesn't turn into that. Too much.

So I stopped by Sonic on the way home today (from a prenatal visit with a really great pediatrician. We've found our Dr.!), and ordered my usual: grilled chicken sandwich, Sonic Sized fries with cheese (yes, I know that's not very healthy. Bite me.), and a regular Ocean Water. The guy at the microphone rattles off my order so quickly I can hardly understand a word he says (not to mention his hispanic accent is very thick). Because I am so tired and hungry I just went "uh huh" and paid for my order. Well, the carhop comes out and gives me my food, and I double check it to make sure. Lo and behold there is an order of Sonic Sized tots covered in cheese (can we say ewwww?) instead of fries. By this time the carhop has already gone back inside, so I press the order button again and this time say "I had ordered a Sonic Sized fries with cheese and instead received tots."

"Oh, you wan fries?"

"Yes, please."

The manager himself comes out with the correct order a few minutes later, apologizing for the misunderstanding. That's customer service. So it got me thinking. I find it amazing (call me naive) that people just don't care. Food is ordered and when it comes back wrong the waitress acts like it's the customer's fault. Very rarely am I greeted when I enter a store. We talk to machines and then rude operators when important questions must be asked over the phone.

When I worked as a retail associate, my manager absolutely loved me. Not because I was good at my job, which I wasn't (I tended to be a tad bit slower than my co-workers and very detail oriented), but because I treated the customers with respect. If an upset customer was more than I could handle I would gently tell him or her that I would get the manager to help them. In the year that I worked at that store, I developed a good sized group of customers that would rather deal with me than my co-workers, or would only come in on the days I worked.

Why was I like this? Because the first thing I learned about the job when I went in for an interview was that the customer ALWAYS comes first, even before making a sale. One reason is that while a customer might make a purchase (getting me a sale) when they're treated rudely, they might not ever come back. But if a customer is treated with respect, even if they don't buy anything that time they still know that they can come back and be treated the same.

I think a lot of employees base how they treat customers on how much they get on their paycheck. Perhaps this was never a problem for me because I don't work for the money, I work because it gives me something to do...a sense of accomplishment (maybe that's why I'm planning on becoming a teacher after the baby's born). Or perhaps that's just the way I was raised. My mother taught me from an early age that I should be respectful of others and should treat others how I want to be treated. That whole "love thy neighbor" concept.

My bit of advice to those who work in customer service areas...please consider that the customer is a human, too. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself how you would like to be treated were you in their place. The customer isn't always right, but he or she IS the reason you receive a paycheck, no matter how small that paycheck might be.

(FYI to those in the northern states, Sonic Drive-In is an american fast-food chain that allows customers to drive up, order their food, then have it delivered by a carhop. And in my opinion it's pretty good food)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Birdies

I'm glad I've developed into the kind of person that can let insults slide. When I was younger, I couldn't stand being teased or bullied. I usually would respond in a manner that only encouraged more unwanted attention such as whining "Leave me alone!" then being mocked. Now I have learned to not make such a big deal out of the rudeness of others.

Yesterday, I was headed to Walmart near the beginning of rush hour. If you don't live in a large city, you might not realize just how many people are on the road at that time of day, if you do (especially those who live in Dallas) then you have a pretty good idea of the conditions of yesterday afternoon. I had an almost empty tank (it took over $50 to fill, btw. Gas prices are going insane again), and was stopped at a red light. There was a single car in front of me, and when the light turned green, I waited for him to go. After a few seconds I tapped my horn, knowing that some people don't always notice the light changing green. No response. Then I noticed that ALL of the occupants of that car were having a conversation with the occupants in the vehicle next to them.

Great.

I tap the horn again, this time hopefully long enough for them to realize that there was a VERY long line of cars behind them and they should probably quit yapping and drive. Still no response, they're still having quite a long conversation with the car next to them. Oh...yay.

This obviously was not working, they still had their foot on the brake as did the vehicle next to them. So, doing what anyone else would probably do in my situation, I laid on the horn as did several other people next to and behind me. So the guy in front of me finally decides to remove his foot from his brake and place it on the accelerator. As he's driving off, the passenger in his backseat decided to give me a present. He even had the presence of mind to open the sunroof on the car and raise the little birdie in the air. Aww, how sweet.

Here's a piece of loving advice from me to anyone driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Please stop sending birds to very pregnant women who have almost no gas left in the tank, and pay attention to your driving, not on having conversations with other drivers. Especially during rush hour.

By the time I got to the gas station I was ready to call Sean and have myself a good laugh at the amusing stoplight situation, but before I could a very nice attendant (it was a gas station/car wash/glass repair place) came up to my vehicle and offered to remove all of the big dings in my windshield (have I mentioned before I detest when people drive 60 mph on the highway shoulder and kick up small rocks?) for free. Apparently repairs like that don't count toward one's insurance deductable. SWEET! So now I have a full tank, no windshield dings, and the "love" and "respect" of three young men riding around North Dallas in a little itty bitty blue car.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pregnancy Peeves

Since I'm not exactly in a bad mood, perhaps now is a good time to rant for a moment (where I can at least formulate semi-coherent thoughts and not have to worry about saying anything I know I'll regret). The following are not necessarily rants about the pregnancy itself (at my OB appt. today George got noticeably bigger from 2 weeks ago but I only gained 4 lbs!), but at situations surrounding the pregnancy.

Now, I'm quite happy with the love and generosity our friends have shown, but I do wish that people would realize the point of a registry is for parents-to-be to list the items they want (and the fabric patterns of those items as well!). We have received gifts from a couple of people who decided they didn't like the color/pattern/model of the item we registered for and purchased an item NOT on the registry because they obviously knew what we wanted/needed better than us. This is how we ended up with 3 monitors. I can appreciate that other people have different taste than we do, but I registered for certain patterns/models because that's what I wanted. If they didn't like what we chose they could have opted to buy something ELSE on the list. I have had to delete several items off of the registry because someone got the item elsewhere in a different pattern (and I'm too lazy to return said item and get the pattern I wanted).

The next peeve I have is with the Pregnancy Police. These are the people who are not my husband/Dr./mother who insist that their way of "doing" pregnancy is so much better, or that I'm being a horrible mother by doing "this" wrong or some such nonsense. My mother told me once that opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has one, but we don't need to hear/see/smell it. There was the one person who insisted that the aspartame in my Diet Dr. Pepper was going to cause birth defects in my baby (she is a nurse, apparently) and I should stop drinking it immediately. She stopped nagging when I told her my Dr. said it was perfectly fine, I just needed to cut out the caffeine (which I'm proud to say I finally kicked the habit). There's the friend who insisted I try out some hypnotherapy thing during labor (if you are that friend, I appreciate the offer but it just ain't for me) instead of getting an epidural.

There's the numerous anonymous online people who (yes, it's my fault for posting my labor plan in the first place) insist that I should try to give birth "naturally" meaning without medication. Yes, I know the possible dangers and side effects of an epidural, but my husband's family history of 10+ lb babies and my low pain tolerance outweigh those risks.

I realize that people give advice like that with good intentions and that they probably don't mean to antagonize me, but I'm about fed up with it. I know my best option is to just smile, nod, then ignore these people, but they're just so insistent! I don't want advice like this from people. I want a sympathetic "Oh, you poor thing, he's going to be such a big baby, I'm praying for you" response, and leave it at that. But then I know people will never stop trying to give me advice. And it's never going to end. It will just go from being pregnancy advice to child-rearing advice.

But holding my baby in my arms will be worth it, right? I see him move every day and am looking forward to seeing him after he's born. Can't wait to see you, Georgie! Your Mama loves you :D By the way, can you ease up on the bladder boxing?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Baby Shower

Oh goody! I finally get around to posting about the shower (over a week later...shame on me). Let's see....cake, various munchy food, orange chicken (delicious)....little netted bags of dinner mints. :D

I've been to several baby showers in my life and I have to say this was my favorite. No, there weren't any silly games, and the house wasn't decorated with a designer baby theme, but it was fun. I don't mean it was my favorite because it was for me (and Sean and George), but it was relaxed. Almost everyone there knew each other and those that didn't quickly got caught up in the conversations. I must say it's absolutely hilarious to hear a male friend complaining about the first item he saw on the registry list....a breast pump. He knew if he purchased that item he'd never live it down. Ah, I love my friends.

Anyway, we got some pretty nice stuff (and three monitors O.o), and some gift cards to use later. I love gift cards, by the way. They are the SMARTEST kind of gift for expectant parents. It's amazing how a simple little thing like a baby shower really starts to put things into perspective.

Today Sean and I visited a couple who couldn't make it to the shower (they have two boys under 2), and received the number one most important item on the registry...the travel system. I knew if there was anything on the list we ABSOLUTELY had to have before the baby was born it was a car seat. Hospitals won't let you take a baby home unless you have one. The set we got allows the infant seat to attach to the stroller, it's quite adorable and only took us 20 minutes to assemble. Anyway, back to our afternoon excursion. So this couple has two baby boys. The 17 month old, while well behaved, is still a bit of a handful. I sat in the car on the way home and wondered how on earth I was going to raise a kid.

Yes, I used to teach at a daycare center (and that was with a lot more than one kid), and yes my plan is to get my teaching certificate after George is born. But that doesn't quite prepare me for what I know is coming. I'm scared half to death I'm going to be a bad mother. I'm sure many other first time moms have thought the same thing, but that's not really helping. Sean is so good with kids, when we visit friends with kids I hold them for a bit then hand them off to Sean who plays with them until they get tired and want to go back to their mommy. When I hold someone else's baby I feel like I'm afraid I'm going to BREAK him or her. How on earth do I get rid of this fear? Will it go away on its own?

As for an update on my mom, not much to report at this time. She's still in the hospital, the rehab center is unable for various reasons to readmit her at this time. She has a feeding tube again and this time is being given a constant Glucerna drip to keep her blood sugar level. She wants to be home for Thanksgiving but I don't see that happening. I don't even see her going home by Christmas, or even possibly being able to attend George's birth. I'm sure she's trying to see the glass as half full, but I feel reality has to step in somewhere. She's not getting the physical therapy in the hospital that she needs. Please continue to keep her in your prayers.