Monday, February 26, 2007

Danger, danger -- we have a breach!

I was just out having a quick cig (no I haven't quit yet, this is next on my to-do list...) and got into friendly banter with a few other nicotine slaves from the office. One of them has a girlfriend who is a month away from delivering their first child and he joked about not being able bring any cigarettes home, or else his girlfriend would want one. "She still sneaks the odd puff when we're out sometimes, but she's been very good." Without thinking I interjected, "I snuck the odd puff*, too...", and then I caught myself and paused, "....when you were pregnant?", he finished for me. I nodded and then furiously started thinking about how I was going to answer any further questions (e.g. "How old is your baby?"). Luckily another office mate came out of the door and attention was diverted to him. Now that I've opened my big mouth, though, it's only a matter of time when the new father-to-be confronts me on something baby-related. What the hell was I thinking?

Otherwise, Fancy Cheese Day came earlier than expected and we were able to enjoy a nice weekend of treats. I had a nice afternoon out on Saturday with a new friend from church. We walked around the Old Port and then stopped for a coffee. It was just nice to be out and sociable. She's had an interesting life and it was fun to hear someone else's stories. Also, she already knew about Lydia, and she was very tactful about it, without completely tip-toeing around the subject.

It's threatening to "Spring" here. Today it's actually above freezing, which feels positively balmy. It's been a relatively short winter, but it's been brutal while it's lasted. I'm ready for warmth and green grass and maybe a flower or two....

This is a boring post -- I mostly just wanted to vent about my breach of personal disclosure on my smoke break. Maybe it's a good thing. Maybe I need to learn to share more and not be afraid of offending (or scaring) people. It's only taken me two and a half years...

*Just to reiterate, I'd been a light on-again, off-again smoker for years, but quit completely 6 months before Lydia was conceived. Afterwards, though, all bets were off...
:: posted by Ann Howell, 4:09 PM | link | 2 comments |

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hooray for Fancy Cheese Day!

(How could I leave a misspelling (Horray for Fancy Cheese Day) in my latest post title for 2 days? I blame it on the cold weather...)

Next Tuesday is Fancy Cheese Day in our household. This is the day that we become financially solvent again. No more having to choose between heating oil and gas for the car, no more juggling bills ("So, who won't get paid *this* month?")... I can go into the grocery store and buy whatever I want, including fancy cheese. Alright, I'm not going to go overboard... I will probably restrain myself to a hunk of Morbier and maybe a little wheel of brie. But my weekly food budget will literally *double*, which will be so liberating! I can buy meat other than ground beef, a nice plump whole chicken, instead of just an econo-pack of thighs. I can't wait!

I also can't wait for these:

They should be arriving at my parents' place any day now. I'd found them before Christmas for $120 at Nordstroms. Since I didn't have $120, I just bookmarked the page and went by every now and then to have a wistful peek. A few weeks ago it occurred to me that they might be on sale by now, so I did a quick Google search and found them at SmartBargains for $50!!!! They had only ONE pair left in my size in black, so I immediately phoned my mom and asked if she would buy them for me. She pays me the princely sum of $25/month to run a website for a local historical group she's in, so I offered to take the boots in exchange for 2 months' "salary". She agreed, and my dad quickly got onto the site and snagged the last pair. (Interestingly, the price has gone up to $80 since then, even though they don't have any new stock.) I'm so excited! I'm not much of a clothes horse, but boots are a real passion for me -- I'd wear them every day, if I could. Now I just have to wait a few weeks until I go back home for a visit. (But I want them NOW!!!!!)

Other than that, my contract is going well enough. I'm dealing with a slightly less-than-competent project supervisor, who also happens to be a friend of mine, so it's a bit tricky. I'm trying to make my worth known to the company at large, while keeping a healthy distance from my "boss". He's a bright guy, he's just not a great manager. At any rate, there's not much to manage -- we each have projects to do, fairly independent of each other. I'll just do my best and hope it all works out in the end.

Until then, I'm already planning some sumptuous meals for next week...

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:: posted by Ann Howell, 1:12 PM | link | 5 comments |

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Birth certificates for stillborn babies

There was a great piece on NPR yesterday about a movement to get legislation to issue birth certificates for stillborn babies (it was one of those "driveway moments" where I sat in the car listening until the end). It was especially poignant as I knew the subject of the piece, a woman who lost her daughter right around when we lost ours. We "met" on a support message board and went through the initial stages of grief together (along with the rest of the sad, crazy group!), right through the first year. You can find out more about Liz and her efforts from the first link under the sidebar header "When you need a hug..." (A Small Victory)

You can also listen to the NPR piece here:

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:: posted by Ann Howell, 9:17 PM | link | 6 comments |

Friday, February 09, 2007

Not bad is alright

I had a Lydia dream last night. I dreamt that she was with us as a tiny baby, maybe a month or two old. We couldn't seem to do anything right, though. K. was trying to change her diaper and making a complete mess of it (literally). Eventually, he figured out that if he sprayed her down first in the bathtub, he was able to keep her clean enough before the new diaper went on. I tried to feed her and couldn't find anything but whole grain bread (the kind with seeds in it!). In my infinite wisdom, I cut up the bread and feed it to her, even though she had no teeth. Miraculously, she was able to eat it and I was so proud of having such a precocious child! Soon enough, it occurred to me that this couldn't be happening, that Lydia couldn't be here, and the dream ended with Social Services coming to take her away (obviously parents who resort to hosing her down and feeding her grainy bread are not safe!). I awoke feeling very sad.

I miss her so much and sometimes it feels like time has done nothing to help me heal. It'll be her third birthday this June. Three years ago today I was holding my breath as the first trimester was nearing an end... Oh, I don't want to get into all the "what if's" and "if I'd only known's", it's just that sometimes it's still so raw and it depresses me to think that this is the way my life is going to be from now on. I know that most of the time I'm able to cope fine and that these moments aren't as endless and strangling they were at the beginning, in effect, it really has gotten better. But when I wake up from a dream where I held her in my arms and looked at her face, and I'm hit all over again with the cold reality of her loss, I feel so close to those early dark days.

Otherwise, it's been a good first (full) week at my new job. The routine has made the days fly by, but I haven't decided whether that's a good thing or not. I'm not quite enjoying life as much as I'd like to, but I'm not wallowing in despair as much as I had been, so I guess I should take the "glass half full" take on it. On the plus side, its FRIDAY! And even if I have no where to go or nothing exciting to do, at least I can stay up late and maybe enjoy a couple glasses of wine. I can worry about leading a fulfilling life tomorrow....

And Happy (belated) Birthday to Catherine!!!! Wishing you a happy, peaceful year full of soft yarn and lots of chocolate :)
:: posted by Ann Howell, 3:27 PM | link | 2 comments |