Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Where to Have a Baby?

The decision to have a home birth was a pretty simple one for us.

I knew I wanted a natural birth and I hate hospitals. Hospitals scare the pants off me and every time I am in one (whether visiting someone or being in one myself), I am crazy uncomfortable. I can't actually pinpoint exactly what makes me so uncomfortable about hospitals.  It may be a combination of the attempt to make everything sanitary, the machines and wires, the doctors and nurses always hustling around, feeling like I'm always in the way, and the plethora of weird rules and regulations.  Not to mention the association with illness and death and that overwhelming hospital smell (what IS that?).
I just have an impossible time trying to relax among all of those things and I knew that relaxation is the key to a smooth and pleasant (as can be expected) labor.  I feel that the act of bringing a baby into the world is one of life and celebration and peace and the hospital setting seems (for me) to be counterintuitive to that.**
So, needless to say that the hospital was never an option that was on the table for us. 

The other option we explored was a local birth center.  The birth center specializes in natural birth and is located across the street from a hospital, so it's a popular choice for mothers looking to birth naturally but who may be concerned about complications and want to have a hospital nearby.
My hesitation with the birth center was that it is 40 minutes away on a good day without traffic.  I really disliked the idea of spending 40 minutes laboring in a car.  Also, the birth center had a waiting list. So it didn't take long for us to take that option off the table, too.

A lot of women in Philadelphia choose to birth at the birthing center in Pennsylvania Hospital.  The center has a widwifery practice and specializes in supporting natural birth, but is IN the hospital, which also gives many women comfort in case anything goes awry.
We live less than 2 miles from this hospital (and 3 other hospitals) so we figured if we needed to go to the hospital, we could get there easily and quickly.

The concern over something going wrong in my pregnancy occured to me for maybe a day.  Honestly, I just wasn't worried.  I was healthy and without any risk factors and I found confidence in knowing that the women in my family have all had fairly easy deliveries.
I wanted to labor and give birth someplace safe, warm and familiar.  I didn't want any kind of audience.  I wanted zero interventions. Home just seemed like the most natural place for us.

The model of care in a home birth midwifery practice is a lot different than a traditional OB/GYN setting.  My appointments lasted at least an hour each time, and covered things like nutrition, my activities, my ailments, measuring the baby, checking my bloodpressure, and a discussion of any other questions and concerns I had.  EVERY visit was like this (except my home visit).  I spent the early part of my pregnancy seeing my regular OB practice and it was not the same.  No one asked what I was eating, or what kinds of activities I was doing.  They checked my weight and blood pressure, felt my belly, and sent me on my way.  I'm sure there are people out there who will disagree with me, but I felt the experience with an OB was far less personal.

Some women who have home births opt not to even get ultrasounds.  We figured that since we weren't birthing in a hospital, we wanted to know what we were dealing with up front, so that we could be prepared just in case anything was amiss.  We opted not to find out the sex (and I'm SO glad we did, it was a great motivator during labor, even if I did forget to check as soon as he was born), so other than confirming our baby was healthy, we didn't get to see him too much while he was in utero.  (As it got late into my pregnancy, my midwife never checked me for dilation, either.  In my case, ignorance was bliss.)

Throughout my pregnancy, my midwife gave me books to read (she has a lending library in her home office), and suggested supplements and foods to help with any issues I was having.  She recommended chiropratic adjustments to help get my pelvis all lined up and ready for labor, and to help with some minor back pain, and encouraged me to run, swim and do yoga as long as I wanted.  The whole experience was a holistic approach to supporting me in my pregnancy, while treating it like a natural life process and not a medical procedure. 
While it may not be the best decision for everyone, it definitely was for us.  The whole experience of working with a home birth midwife made being pregnant as enjoyable as can be expected when a person is 9 months pregnant in the middle of July.  I cannot wait to do it again (someday).

**Disclaimer: I would NEVER, ever recommend a home birth to someone who is nervous about giving birth or worried about things going wrong (nor would I ever try to persuade this person into having a home birth).  It is my personal belief that in order for a home birth to be a positive, safe experience, a woman really needs to embrace the idea and be confident and relaxed about her ability to give birth.  If you're nervous about giving birth and prefer the comfort of having traditional medical professionals nearby, a birth center is a much safer choice.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Labor Day: How Hard Can It Be?

On actual Labor Day (September 3), I was at a friend's barbecue, 39.5 weeks pregnant and sporting a thrift store t-shirt that read "Labor Day: How Hard Can it Be?" Andrew snagged it for me on his most recent excursion to Village Thrift and we both thought it was completely hilarious. I went to the barbecue just so I could wear the shirt. If it were any other day, I would have been sleeping away, but I really wanted to show off this shirt.
I ate some spicy shrimp and drank some lemonade and told everyone I would see them in a couple days because there was no way this kid was coming in the next week. No woman in my family has ever had a baby early, and I was absolutely confident that I was not going to be the exception. So much so that I had several things still to do at work and around the house in preparation. I was trying to drag them out so I wouldn't be sitting around bored out of my mind for the next two weeks.
We went to bed around 11pm. At 3:28,am I woke up with cramps. I rolled over and went back to sleep. Ten minutes later, I had more cramps. I tried three more times to go back to sleep before I decided that I should time my "cramps" and see how far apart they were. The next three "cramps" were 7, 5, and 3 minutes apart, respectively. At 4am, I got up to go to the bathroom. By this point, I was clear that these "cramps" were in fact contractions, but I wasn't sure they were for real.  I downloaded a contraction timer app while I was in the bathroom. Originally, I thought an app was a stupid idea but I realized pretty quickly that there was no way I was going to be able to keep track of these on my own. For the next hour, I sat in the bathroom (or hunched over the bathroom sink) and timed contractions. They were all about 2 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds each.  They didn't match up to any of those 4-1-1 or 5-1-1 rules, but it had been an hour, so I texted my midwife, Christy.  She called me saying that it sounded like I was in actual labor and suggested waking Andrew up for some extra support and that she would check in on me in an hour.  I had been in the bathroom for about an hour and a half and Andrew hadn't even noticed I was gone so I could have easily let him sleep longer, but I figured he would be bummed if I let him sleep too long.  Even though I didn't feel like I needed the support, I did need someone to take the dogs over to our friend's house. So I gently tried to wake him up. He shot out of bed like a crazy man (as I'd always imagined he would if it went down this way), and he went right downstairs to send emails to his work, and to our friends to let him know he was bringing the dogs over.  (What? You don't check your email at 5am?  Neither do our friends. I'm glad I texted them.  Emily told me later that she didn't see the email until 10am. I think he was so excited he wasn't really thinking straight.)
Andrew took the dogs over (those are good friends who let you drop your two insane dogs off at their house at 5:30am) while I swept and vacuumed for about 4 minutes.  My contractions were too intense to do anything but focus on them when they came. I had a hunch things were progressing quickly.  I had heard all of these stories about women who go out to eat, clean their houses, go to yoga-all while in labor.
This was not me.
My labor was active from the first contraction. Which, honestly, was how I had hoped it would be.  We had planned a home birth so I was able to labor and move around as I pleased the entire time. There was no rush to pack a bag or get to the hospital, which I feel allowed me to just relax and be totally present for the whole experience.
I was tolerating the contractions well, still every two minutes or so. At 6am, Christy called to check in. She listened to me have a contraction over the phone, said it sounded like I was managing well and that she would make her way over in the next few hours. At this point, I emailed my boss that I wasn't going to be in that day. Or the next day. It was storming outside, complete with thunder and lightening. The whole summer had been impossibly hot, so it was a welcome cooling. The storm got more intense as the day went on, and I found it somehow fitting and strangely peaceful. 
For the next two hours, I swayed and breathed my way through each contraction. I was intensely focused. The contractions themselves were intense but not at all unmanageable. They were painful but not excruciating. I have a very high tolerance for pain and knew that I would be able to manage the pain pretty well.  I also knew that I wouldn't be screaming and yelling and would instead be very inwardly focused.  I guess I've inflicted enough pain on myself over the years to know exactly how I react. A bizarre blessing in disguise, I guess. But both Andrew and my midwives knew this about me, so they were very hands off. And that really worked for me.
At one point, I thought I might try getting in the tub.  It wasn't very comfortable and I didn't like being in a seated position at all. I was in the tub when Christy arrived and she said I could stay as long as I like but that the heat may slow things down a bit. I got out immediately. No need to drag this out any longer, amiright?

Christy and Jill (my other midwife) set up shop in the bedroom and Andrew set up shop in my office down the hall.  I didn't need him just then, but I wanted him close by just in case.  At this point, it was around 8:30, I think. I continued to labor on my own for a bit and then Christy checked to see how I was progressing. After 5 hours of labor, I was 6cm dialated. I think I gave Andrew a high five. I was really excited. Things were moving fast and I was feeling good.  I labored on while it poured and thundered away outside.

I ate some ShotBlox and took some sips of water in between contractions. At some point, I asked Christy to tell me when I was in transition. I knew it would be motivating because its means the end is usually pretty near.
I continued to breathe very intensely through each contraction.  I heard Christy say to Jill "you can tell she's a singer, listen to that breath control." It was a comment that was directed at me, but it was very empowering nonetheless.

Around 11, my contractions started to pick up and I asked Andrew to come help me through some. He did a few with me, but they were too intense and I felt like I needed to focus on them so I let him off the hook.  I should add here that I was on my feet for the entire time I was in labor until I started pushing. For whatever reason, standing was the only position I felt comfortable in.  By this point, the contractions felt like they were back to back, without any rest in between. I was getting tired (maybe because I stood the whole time?!) and I remember saying "I don't want to do this anymore."  And Christy replying, "you're in transition!"
I knew the end was at least in sight and that helped me push through the rest of transition, which lasted about 45 minutes.  It was the most intense part of labor, for sure, and there were times where I felt like I was wildly out of control.  I wasn't, but it felt that way. The pain was searing and intense but I just focused every ounce of my being on my breath. Over and over and over. I remember feeling like I was thinking so clearly in my head but I could not speak a word. Under any other circumstances that would have been insanely frustrating for me. But my midwives seemed to be able to sense what I needed (because they are AWESOME) and it made me not worry about communicating verbally.
Around this time I felt like I wanted to push. I don't know if I actually needed to push, and in hindsight, I don't think I actually did. I just wanted to. From this point on, Andrew stayed by my side.  He was attentive and patient and offered assistance where he could without crowding me, which is (I think) exactly how partners should be in this scenario.

 I started out just squatting on my own. It was very much like what I pictured when I pictured primal women going out into the woods to have their babies (I couldn't even do a squat before I got pregnant, which speaks to the inutitiveness of the body).  After 15 minutes of this, I think she could sense I was getting tired, so Christy set up a birthing stool for me and I continued to push on my own for I would guess another 25 minutes or so without much movement.
Christy suggested I try a different position to help move things along.  I had read you're supposed to change positions every 3 contractions but I definitely did not.
I got onto the bed but being on my back was super painful. I immediately rolled onto my side.  Christy suggested I push with one leg in the air while on my side.
I was as comfortable as a person can be while in labor, so I didn't argue. At this point, my contractions were much father apart and I got some actual time to rest in between them.  Jill kept putting cool cloths on my forehead (do they do this in the hospital? If not, they totally should) and offering me sips of water.  They were also putting pellets of a homeopathic plant, Caulophyllum, under my tongue to help make my contractions longer. (Andrew thinks homeopathy is silly magic, but it totally worked.)

From this position, my pushing was much more productive. Christy instructed me to push and then not relax my pelvic floor totally so that I could push a bit farther before each contraction was over. A few good pushes into it, my water broke. It was pretty much the only time I said anything and it was, "what WAS that?!"  It was gross. I am so glad that didn't happen in public.  It was about 15 minutes more of pushing before I heard Andrew say he could see the head.  They asked if I wanted to look, but I was way too focused on getting the baby out and didn't want to get distracted. Andrew was holding my leg and Christy was helping with the baby's positioning.  I think Andrew was also texting my sister in between contractions.
I knew I was so close to the end, so I really gave it my all. (For the record, the "ring of fire" is real and it is no joke.) One intense push and the head was out. I remember how excited Andrew was. I could hear it in his voice. At some point, Andrew and Christy switched places so that she was holding my leg so Andrew could catch the baby. Christy asked for one more push and just as a huge clap of thunder rattled the house, the rest of the baby's body slid right on out and into Andrew's hands.
It was the most amazing feeling ever. I don't think I could ever put it in words. They put the baby right into my chest as it gave a single, loud cry. I think I said "ohmygod" about a hundred times as I held him to me and looked into his tiny eyes. And then I said "wait! what is it?"  Andrew checked and said "we have a twig and berries!"  Which is (if you know Andrew) pretty much exactly how I expected to find out the sex of our first born.
He was 6 pounds, 13 ounces and 19.5 inches long. And we named him Simon Bennett. Simon because its an awesome name. And Bennett after Andrew's nana.
I admired every single inch of him while Andrew snapped a bunch of pictures on his phone. Then he texted one of our first photos together (when Simon was just minutes old) to all of our friends and family. The photo was sweet and completely captured every emotion I was having just then. It also happened to capture my nipple, which I did not find out until about a week later. Andrew was so excited I cannot possibly be mad at him but, seriously guys, you can delete that photo now.

Simon was so alert and wide-eyed right from the start. It was all so amazing. He stayed right on my chest for the next hour and half while the midwives cleaned up, cooked me a hot breakfast (RIGHT?!) and did all the rest of their postpartum good stuff, like a load of laundry (YES.)  After I ate, Andrew cut the cord (after I delivered the placenta, it was put into a plastic bag and tucked into bed with me while it was still attached to Simon-in case anyone was wondering about the logistics of that. You can read about delayed cord clamping here).  After he was weighed and measured, I passed Simon to Andrew for some skin to skin time and got in a hot shower, which was divine.  I came back to clean sheets and a warm bed and the three of us snuggled up for the rest of the rainy day.

And then, because I think it's hilarious, my sister's facebook status while I was in labor:

I love how she's giving everyone a play by play and then leaves them all hanging at the end. So awesome.

About an hour after Simon was born, I was talking to my sister on the phone and she asked if I would do a natural birth again. "Hell yes," I said. I know not all natural births are smooth sailing, and I feel very fortunate that mine was. Let me also add that my sister is no wimp herself, having delivered a 10 pound baby naturally just 3 weeks before I had Simon. But she did tell me that I was crazy and that she was glad she did it but would never do it again.

The decision to have a home birth warrants its own post, I think, but I will just say now that the experience was incredible. I would not ever have chosen to do it any other way and I have zero regrets. I feel very blessed to have had a smooth, active pregnancy and a fast (8 hours from the first contraction until the moment he was born), easy birth supported by a team of loving and sincere caregivers (this includes Andrew).  The experience would not have been the same without each of their unique contributions. I am eternally grateful for Christy, Jill, and all of the love and support they continue to give us.  I can only hope to have them all on my team for round two (which is NOT anytime soon).

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Catching Up

I am the worst blogger ever. Have I said that before? I'm about a year behind on posts. Good thing I don't get paid for this.

So, I had a baby.  That was six months ago. I know. I'm awful. I haven't even posted a picture yet.  Part of that is because I'm sure 99.99% of the people who read this are just my close friends and get plenty of this on facebook.The other part is that I thought for a loong time about how to "announce" that without it sounding totally contrived and douchey. And then I just waited too long, so here's what you get:
Simon was born on September 4 at 11:41am here at home. It was A.MAZING. The most incredible experience of my life, by far.  Since his baby book may never get finished, I'm going post his birth story here. Then, I guess, if ever I forget it, the internet can hold it forever in it's tender immortal arms.
Just in case you were worried, this isn't a mommy blog. I don't know crap about being someone's mommy. If you're a mom and your kid is still alive and (where age appropriate) is respectful to others and hasn't committed any felonies, I think you're probably doing ok.
So I'm not an authority on mommyhood and you should probably not take my advice.  That's my disclaimer. 
But I love Simon to pieces and he is totally amazing, so I will write about him. Probably a lot.

Okay. Here's to hoping I suck less at blogging this time around!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Under the Knife Like Heidi Montag

Hello, whoever has not yet given up on this blog!!

I have so many excuses for why I haven't been keeping up with this lately! How's 5 weddings, getting hooked on The Wire (yes, I know we're super late on this), and having some badass back surgery?

I realize most "bloggers" continue doing this regardless of distractions but I'm not one of them and I have sworn an oath to myself that I shall never post multiple pictures of oatmeal (which is what those real "bloggers" do), so get over it. I'm a shitty blogger and I only do it when I have stuff to talk about, or when I'm motivated by Vicodin (as is the case right now).

That's from the back surgery, btw. As much fun as it is to pop a V for a bad headache, this is not one of those days.

The short-long story is that after about 5 months of seeing a sports med doctor for lower back pain and a weird pain in my left hip, and trying all kinds of things like physical therapy and chiropractors and all that junk, I did some sleuthing and attempted to self diagnose my condition.
I found an article on eipsacral lipomas and decided that they were what was causing the pain in my back. Everyone told me I was crazy and that I read too much, but I am nothing if not a motivated patient. I faxed the article to my Dr. and he suspected I was right. To find out if I was, he injected some cortisone into the lipomas in my back. Which he was SO excited about. He had never injected into soft tissue before. This was a totally new thing for him AND me. Which would freak out most patients, I'm sure, but for whatever reason made me feel much more comfortable that he was being very thorough. And a really good doctor is always excited to learn new things, no matter how long he's been in practice. I hope he can help someone else with the same problem some day. Because from what I've read, lipomas are so common and so rarely linked to pain (less than 30% of cases) that they are almost always overlooked.
Anyhow, I felt like a million bucks the next day. Ran a bunch of miles, was a rockstar.
A month later, he did another injection. And then, my body FREAKED OUT. A totally random and rare reaction that probably deserves its own post. Later.
But the pain went away in my back AND my hip (magic!). It came back once the shots wore off, but that was to be expected.

Since I responded so well, we decided they (the lipomas) needed to come out. But because they're in my fat, I needed to have them liposuctioned out. Try getting insurance approval for THAT. I cried. It worked. And yesterday I went under the knife.
I asked my doctor to go on ahead and take whatever fat got in his way. But my hips are still the same size, so I don't think he did.

It will be a few weeks before I know for sure if it was a success. But that weird left hip pain feels almost 100% better. Every fiber of my being is itching to run (that could be the Vicodin talking). Its been almost a month. I am sure when I do finally get to run again, my soul will sing. And my lungs and legs will scream.

Did I also mention I haven't had a drink in a month, either? Lost about 5 pounds doing nothing.
Probably some if it is muscle, but I'll take it.
I wonder how much this will make me want lipo on the rest of my body. The recovery has been pretty tame so far.
Move over, Heidi Montag!
Kidding. I have no desire to be a robot. Just a hot soccer mom.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Two Years In the Making

Remember last year, when I had all these fitness goals?

Then, remember how I sprained BOTH of my ankles and none of them happened?


Well yesterday, after two years of training, over training, falling, healing, 2 X-Rays, 1 MRI, 8 physical therapy sessions and countless miles logged,  I finally completed my first Broad Street Run.

I found out last month that I have disc degeneration and arthritis  in my lower back, an awesome hip injury and some weird residual ankle hernia.  Last year, I had said I wanted to finish the 10 miler in less than 1:50.  This year, given my multiple injuries, I was hoping to finish in 2 hours. 

It was basically the best day for a race. No wind, nice cool temps. The trick to this race is to not sprint out of the gate. The myth is that it’s all downhill. Its not. The overall gradient of the race is downhill, but there are definitely hills. So I went out, found a nice pace and settled into it.  Seconds before I crossed the starting line, I realized I had to pee. Like, bad.  I tried to ignore it and kept on. I figured if it got bad, I could stop at a porta potty. Or just piss my pants.

I saw the first bunch of porta potties and the line was like 20 people deep so I skipped it.  Checked my time at the first mile mark but realized I had no idea what time I started so I made a mental note and checked in again at miles 3,4, and 5.  I had my Gu at mile 4. The first 5 miles were cake and I was running nice, steady 10 minute miles.  I passed 3 sets of porta potties all with crazy lines (don’t these people care about their times?!)

At mile 6, I got a high five from the Governor. I was still feeling pretty great. Still having to pee. I saw lots of funny signs running through Center City: ”Running Takes Balls. Other Sports Just Play With Them” and “Not Too Late To Buy a SEPTA Token”

At mile 6.5, I saw a lady doing Zumba alone on a corner. Bizarre and hilarious.

The mile 7 marker was just outside my house. I looked for Andrew (and Ginny) but they weren’t there. He probably thought he missed me. How sweet of him to think I’m that fast. I was still feeling really strong and it kind of surprised me.

At mile 8, I started to get tired and I could feel myself dragging a bit but I was running through my neighborhood so I just kept looking around for people I knew. And thinking about how nice it was that I didn’t have to stop for lights and worry about some jackass running me over.

At mile 8.5 someone had “Eye of the Tiger” blaring.  My back was starting to ache a bit. I slowed to a quick speed walk  for a few seconds to drink some water. Then I picked it back up.

Right after that was a little hill that I run all the time. I promised myself that I’d sprint it and I did. Then the fatigue really set in.

At mile 9, I slowed to a fast walk for another few seconds to drink more water.   This was probably the most challenging part mentally and physically. My back was really hurting and I wanted to walk. My main goal was to not walk.  I spent half a mile debating whether I should walk for a bit.  I dug deep and told myself that walking for a bit wasn’t going to make my back feel better, and that it was just a mile more. (I have a crazy high tolerance for pain. Most people in my condition would have been in enough pain to walk at mile 7.  I am insane/crazy/determined. You decide.)

At 9.5 miles, the crowd got rowdy. All the cheering really pumped me up and I picked up my race pace again (about 10 minute miles). We crossed through the Navy Yard gates and people around me started to sprint. I knew the finish was still 1/4 mile away so I held strong until I could actually see the finish line. Then I picked it up and gave it every last thing I had. It was a total blur, the crowds were yelling, the announcers were yelling, and I couldn’t feel my legs. I just ran as fast as I could (in between two people, sorry!) and crossed the finish line.

The first thing I said was “Thank Fucking God.” Then I realized I had an ENORMOUS (seriously painful) blister on my toe.  Then I realized that at some point between mile 7 and the finish line, I didn’t have to pee anymore (I never did find a porta potty without a line and at some point I realized I cared more about my time than peeing). Then I was surprised that I wasn’t throwing up or on a stretcher. I survived unscathed except for a blister.

I finished in 1:48 and some change. Two minutes less than last year’s goal.  Considering my injuries, I’d say its a pretty damn good time for my first stab at this race. 

Broad Street1 Yay! I’m alive!

I’m glad I spent all of last week walking and taking it easy. My legs felt fresh and my body rested.  I can say for sure now that I don’t really have any interest in racing half marathons or any distance above 10 miles. I think its a good distance for me to be competitive and not put any excessive stress on my already ailing body.  Call me crazy, but I would really like to be able to walk when I’m 50.

Now that I know what the race entails, I think I can train smarter next year, and really utilize cross training and swimming to build strength without the impact of running 4 days a week. 

Overall, it was a really fun race. Lots of distractions and things happening to keep my mind busy and my legs moving.  Also, everything about it was so aweseomely Philly: the people cheering (lots of them drunk), the insane amount of high fives I received from random people, the music (everything from the Rocky theme song, to marching bands to one random shirtless dude with a drum set outside his house) the encouragement of strangers, the cowbells, the fact that  the “sprinklers” were just open fire hydrants with things jammed in them to make them spray upwards. I basically spent the entire 10 miles people watching, laughing and holding my pee.

And then I celebrated:

broadstreet2 The only thing I wanted more than a beer was some meat.

Now, I need to go lay in an ice bath and fix those gross tan lines.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dear God, I Love Tina Fey

I know I haven’t posted in forever and this isn’t actually a post as much as it is cutting and pasting something I saw on the interwebs.

My bad.


Courtesy of Suicide Blonde:


Tina Fey answers the Proust Questionnaire

What is your current state of mind?

On the verge of nervous exhaustion, but only for the last seven years.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A glass of wine at sunset on Fire Island. / No homework.

What is your greatest fear?

Child, loss or damage thereof.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Catherine the Great’s horse.

Which living person do you most admire?

Cathy Rigby. She was really good in that stage version of Peter Pan. No joke.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


What is the trait you most deplore in others?

People who are proud of their ignorance.

What is it that you most dislike?

People who mock education as elitist.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Living in New York City.

What do you most value in your friends?

A willingness to come uptown.

What is your favorite journey?

Pulling up to my parents’ house for Christmas. Just pulling up, though—not the whole drive.

What is your most treasured possession?

A photo of my parents walking around the Acropolis circa 1965. They look like a poster for Two for the Road.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Natural childbirth.

On what occasion do you lie?

During press junkets for movies.

Which living person do you most despise?

Osama bin Laden. Unless we think he’s dead by now, in which case that guy who holds up the GOD HATES FAGS sign.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Jeff and Alice Richmond equally, but only because they look exactly alike.

When and where were you happiest?

Anywhere, during the 2 to 24 hours after a successful joke.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would get 30 hours a day when everyone else gets 24.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Providing 200 people with a nice place to work.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

My husband and I would work less and my daughter would sleep more.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

September 12, 2001.

What is your favorite occupation?

Being between jobs but having a good one lined up in about a month or so.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Obedience and a long nose. (I might be a collie.)

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Veruca Salt, Francie Nolan, Miss Havisham. That’s me in a nutshell, actually.

How would you like to die?

I would like to drop dead while introducing the “In Memoriam” clip package at the Emmys … on my 10,000th birthday.

What is your motto?

“Stop reaching for the stars!”

Friday, February 25, 2011

Birthday Recap

Yes, my birthday was last week.  But, to be fair, I like to drag out the celebrations as long as possible, which is why I haven’t posted this yet. 

Okay, not really.  Its just because I’m lazy and I keep forgetting.

Anyhow, it was great birthday: low key, relaxing, & a bit overindulgent.

For starters, this showed up around 4:30pm on my birthday:



Here is what was inside:



The sad thing is that I didn’t even need a list to tell me what kind each was.  I have been stalking the Crumbs website for so long, I already knew them all. Top row: cosmopolitan, red velvet, Elvis (banana and peanut butter). Bottom row: squiggle (like a hostess cupcake), half baked, tiramisu.

I invited Karolina, Emily and her fiance’, Joe, to come eat them with us because I knew 3 things: 1)I did not NEED to eat them all myself (even though I could have) , 2) they would likely not survive more than a few hours alone in my house and 3) I ate the all of the cupcakes I previously intended to share (Alone. On a train.)

Here is the aftermath:


It was the most divine, sugar induced hangover in the universe!

Best. Birthday Present. Ever.


A few days later, my sister, brother and niece came to town. I am obsessed with my niece, Grace.  She is pretty much the coolest person I know.

The last time she was here, we took her to the Please Touch Museum, but she was a little too small for most of the things there.


But this time, she was juust the right size:


CIMG3640 Big fan of the slides


Maybe still a little too small for this?


Who doesn’t like carousels?


First she milked it, then she sat on it


I am a bad influence


I’m on a boat, yo



Amanda is a riot


Again with the slides..

Grace wasn’t feeling so well, but it was a lot of fun! I think Amanda and I maybe even had more fun than she did.  We also watched “Beauty and the Beast” about 17 times in 3 days. Its Grace’s favorite.  “Belle and Beast,” she calls it.  She knows all the words to the songs. I laughed so hard when I heard her sing it the first time, I almost peed my pants. (Yes, I was drinking, but still.)

I love that movie but it will be okay if I don’t have to watch it again until I have my own kids. Or ever.


On Sunday, we had some friends to our local bowling alley for a mini birthday party, complete with cake and pizza (and beer).

Here’s my cake:


Can you guess who liked it the best???


So, now I’m officially 31. And its as if all of a sudden, my clocks are ticking and my body is falling apart.  I feel creaky and achy and my blood pressure rose unnaturally high when asked to get on the scale at the doctor’s on Tuesday. (Don’t worry, its ok, it was normal 15 minutes later)

My doctor (bless her heart because I really do adore her) kindly reminded me that “things go downhill after 30.”  I’m not sure if she meant my body parts, my ability to stay in shape, my average daily caloric needs, or just my basic body functions, but its one of those things that maybe didn’t NEED to be said. Especially after going off birth control three months ago and being the only person in the entire universe to GAIN weight instead of lose it. Neat.

I’ve been hearing that 30 is the new 20.  I’m calling bullshit because if that’s the case, then 31 is the new 21.  And I can ASSURE you that I am not (nor do I FEEL) 21. (Although some kind dude in Vegas last month told me I looked 21). I cannot drink like I’m 21, I cannot run like I’m 21, I cannot walk up stairs like I’m 21, I cannot spend money like I’m 21, I don’t even drive as poorly as I did when I was 21.  Pretty much the only thing I do I now that I did when I was 21 is sleep.  And even recently, I’ve noticed I’ve been adjusting to mornings better. I only hit snooze about 3 times instead of 7 or 8.  Soon, I’ll be fifty, getting up at 5am, going to the gym, taking my pills and doing three loads of laundry before 8. 

God help me.  It really is all downhill from here.  How soon is too soon to retire?

Have a good weekend, kiddos!