Filed under: — Aprille @ 7:55 pm

Trick-or-treat time is almost over, and we haven’t had a very good turnout this year. I’m surprised, considering it’s a nice evening and we had lots of kids last year. Maybe there’s some big event at the mall or something. Even though I understand the appeal of a climate-controlled environment, I do think a retail-centric Halloween doesn’t have nearly the romance of door-to-door style. Besides, I like to see the cute kiddos.

Highlights: Ava the pudgy pig (not because she’s chunky; she had a layered outfit that contributed to her girth), a kid I didn’t know who was a pretty intricate haunted house (including sound effects), and our neighbors Isaac and Nathaniel, who went as Vermont and New Hampshire. Isaac wore a plaid jacket and hat with some leaves poking out and a sandwich board-style sign with Vermont drawn on it. Nathaniel, who is too little for anything too elaborate, just had a t-shirt that said New Hampshire. They were a cute pair.

Tomorrow we’re off to lovely Montreal. Bon soir!

Edited to add:  we had a late surge and got through almost (but not quite) all the candy. I still got to have a couple of mini Snickerseseses, which Bisqui enjoyed and demonstrated that fact through vigorous kicking.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:06 pm

I’m ready to go to Montreal now, okay?

Work got busy all of a sudden, and now I really need a break.  Our changing table is ready to be picked up, but I don’t see us having time to work on that until the weekend after we get back.  Rumor on the internet has it that it’s more difficult to assemble than the crib, and that caused us enough fits.

It’s really nice out today.  DC and I went out for a walk over lunch, and we wanted to sit on a sunshiny bench in the Ped Mall for a while, but almost all the sunshiny ones were taken.  We finally found one, all the way down on the opposite end from where we normally sit.  IT BLEW MY MIND.


Poof-free baby prison

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:10 pm

Denny and I put together a petite penitentiary crib on Saturday, and on Sunday I made a bedskirt for it.

I am horrified by the concept of a bedskirt. For a while there, Denny was trying to talk me into getting one for our bed, but I was too busy shuddering in disgust to answer him. I think maybe I had the wrong image of them. I envisioned a poofy, drapey thing that looks like it could have been taken from one of Scarlet O’Hara’s gowns. Some of them are like that, seriously. I couldn’t figure out why Denny would be in favor of such a thing.

I later learned they needn’t be that bad. The one I made has very clean lines—no poofing, no bows, just a nice butter yellow with a very subtle Classic Pooh embroidered pattern. It disguises the contents of the drawer under the crib, and it gives the whole thing a finished look. I’ll take a picture once we get the room a little more set up. We have a changing table set to be delivered this week, though I don’t know when we’ll have time to set it up, since we’ll be gone this weekend.

Putting the crib together wasn’t too bad, except I think the drawer glides might have had the pre-drilled holes in the wrong places. We couldn’t make it match the diagram, and then once we got it together, we had to do a little fiddling to make the drawer stop in the right place. But it all worked out.

It’s hard to imagine little Bisqui will hang out (if not sleep, perhaps) in there. It looks so huge right now.

ALSO, I would like to announce that, despite my recent complaints about the frumpiness of maternity fashions, I’m feeling kind of cute today.  My whining should not be interpreted as a lack of gratitude to my wonderful cousin who lent me the clothes; most of them are about as nice as maternity fashions come.  There’s just no avoiding the fact that pregnant women feel schlubby.

Anyway, today I’m wearing another item from Boutique Debi, and I really like it.  It is a nice, crisp white cotton shirt with a little drawstring in the underboob area.  I feel vaguely professional!


Tarte Tatin

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:51 pm

I made a tarte tatin tonight.  It was so good.  It was also a whole lot easier than apple pie.

I used this recipe, pretty much.

Here are a couple of photos of the occasion.

It’s not burned, it’s caramelized.  It’s autumn in your mouth, yo.


Madonna of the Bisquito

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:40 am

This morning, Denny was finishing getting ready in the bathroom, and I walked by.  I was wearing an outfit that is generally uncharacteristic for me:  a tent-like hot-pink top, ill-fitting cargo khakis, and a navy cardigan with only one button, because really? why bother with additional buttons?

He took one look at me and started singing, “‘Cause we are living in a maternity world, and you are a maternity girl!”

So true.  So unfashionably true.


Wild fetus

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:15 pm

Bisquito is kicking me right this second.  He/she has been very wild lately.  It started while DC and I were eating dinner and we were talking about Bisqui.  I swear he/she can tell when we’re talking about him/her.

Also interesting:  as of this week’s development (25 weeks), Bisquito can grasp things with his/her little hands.  Probably all there is to grab is the umbilical cord, so I hope that’s fun for young Bisque.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:32 am

I had a brief moment of panic last night, knowing my passport was going to expire soon, but not being able to remember exactly when.  Luckily, it’s not till April 08.

It’s crazy that I’ve had my current passport for nearly 10 years now.  The picture in it is a decade old.  Old Passport and I have had some good adventures together.  I like looking through my stamps and remembering the places I’ve been.  The only downside is that the stamps can be deceptive; ever since the EU came about, they only stamp it at your first point of EU entry/exit.  Therefore, because I’ve often connected in Amsterdam, a person looking at my passport might assume I’ve spent a lot of time there, when I’ve never set foot outside Schiphol airport.  Same with Dusseldorf and some other perfectly interesting places that have just never been on my itinerary.

If I recall correctly, you have to send in your old passport in order to get your new one.  I think the last time I renewed, though, they sent back the old one with a hole punched in it or some other invalidating mechanism.  That was 10 years ago and pre-9/11, though, so I may be remembering wrong or maybe things have changed.  I do hope I get this one back. Ah, the memories.  I’ll have to take a look at it and try to recreate all the trips it’s been on.


Montreal, there we shall be

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:49 pm

Denver’s off and Montreal is on. This is good news. I have no problem with Denver and was looking forward to going, but I am more excited about a trip that involves a passport.

I generally don’t have much use for those last minute travel sites, since I like to start my planning months in advance, but this time it worked out great. Here’s what I did.

  1. I went to http://www.11thhourvacations.com (recommended by a friend who bought a trip through that site and didn’t get ripped off)
  2. I chose the Last Minute tab and put in my home airport (unlike a lot of these sites, it lets you choose even dinky airports like Cedar Rapids and Des Moines), then chose International and All Cities.  You can be more specific, but I wanted to see all my options.
  3. A search resulted in the “Montreal, Canada: Luxury Hotel Getaway” package.
  4. I chose my hotel, my flight times, and boom, done. We even get to earn frequent flier miles, which is another thing a lot of discounters don’t let you do

They also had a regular hotel getaway, but it was the same price, so why bother? Granted, we’re probably getting the smallest, cheapest room in the place, but it’ll be fun to stay at the Ritz Carlton Montreal anyway.

Best of all, it was downright affordable. Let’s just say that 2 round-trip plane tickets from Cedar Rapids and 4 nights at the Ritz were in the same price range as some of the hyper-modern cribs Denny was interested in. I think the money is better-spent on this; babies have no taste.


The misused prepositions of youth

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:54 pm

A while ago, I ran across an old tape my brother and I made when we were kids (I was 11, he was 5).  The content:  he bet me $5 that he would change his name when he grew up, and I bet him that he wouldn’t.

Highlights:  Tyler hesitating before stating his name, then clarifying the ephemeral nature of nomenclature; my general misuse of prepositional phrases.

Listen here.  (Warning: I had some technical difficulties capturing the audio and I didn’t get to adjust the levels, so it’s a little loud.  You may want to adjust your volume before playing, especially if you’re wearing headphones.)

Why I love gmaps

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:30 am

Google Maps has solved a problem that has been vexing me for years.  This might not even be a new feature, but I just noticed it today.

So…whenever I’m planning a trip to a city that has a Metro/Tube/subway, I always have trouble with the maps.  The Metro maps aren’t usually nicely overlaid with city streets, so even if I have the address of where I want to go, it’s really hard to visualize how near or far that is to a Metro stop.

No more worries with Gmaps!

For example:

See?  Right near the Peel Metro stop (also conveniently located to McGill University and the Parc Mont-Royal, though I cropped the latter out of the screenshot).


Why am I looking at Montreal again, you might ask?  Well…it’s looking like the Denver thing might not work out, and I found a killer deal on a long weekend in Montreal.  Nothing is for sure yet, of course; a spot might open up in the training Denny wants to attend in Denver, and if I can find a decently priced plane ticket, that might happen.  But if it doesn’t, well, I might just have to insist on some French-Canadian excitement.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:45 am

As it turns out, the Facebook person (see below) wasn’t just weird and slightly endearing, just creepy.  He wanted to “meet [me] and support [me]” in ways I declined to find out about in detail.  Bye bye!

I have special undergarments for that.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:36 am

I got a Facebook friend request today from someone I don’t know.



Labor, Delivery, and Beyond (not a domestic goods store)

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:13 pm

We had a midwife appointment today, and after it was over (all is well; Bisquito is very wiggly) we took a tour of Labor & Delivery, and also the post-delivery family rooms.  They’re very nice.  They have big jacuzzi tubs, fridges, TVs with DVD players, computers (though I’m not sure if those are for our use or for the staff; doesn’t matter really since I’ll bring my laptop and they have wireless), and are generally quite pleasant.

The family rooms have double beds, so Denny can stay right there with Bisque and me.

It is weird that a nickname of a nickname of a nickname for my fetus is also a soup.


So silly

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:06 pm

Do you want to hear something hilariously ridiculous?

Okay, so there’s this software package I support (online learning stuff), and it’s kind of infamous for having bizarre interdependencies and bugs that don’t make any sense.  Here’s the latest I’ve heard.

A student may get prematurely kicked out of a quiz (seeming as if the allotted time has expired when it has not) IF he/she was taking the quiz under these conditions:  it is the last day of the month in a month with 30 days, when the following month has 31 days.


As far as I can tell, that’s any month with 30 days, but that’s how the product support people explained it.

Blow me down and pick me up!



Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:05 pm

I was trying to figure out some complicated brain things last night, and I sat down with a pen and a piece of paper and tried to make a graphical representation.  I failed miserably.  I went to bed not feeling much clearer on the situation than when I started.

This morning at work, I whipped out Omnigraffle, which is charting and graphing software.  I transposed the notes from my scrap of paper, then started adding things and moving things, and the next thing I knew, my issues seemed totally transparent.

I was so excited I IM-ed Denny about it.


I actually don’t think of myself as that big a techie; I just embrace all the ways technology makes my life easier.  This is the future, people.  It may not be a flying car, but I don’t even like to drive, so I’m okay with that.  I had a nightmare last night that I lost my computer and my camera.  I was very relieved when I woke up and realized they were both in the living room.  I don’t know what I would do without my sweet, sweet technology.


Childbirth rant

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:43 pm

We have our first childbirth class tomorrow.  Actually it’s more than just childbirth.  It’s this series of 6 classes (we may have to miss one, depending on if we go out of state or not in a couple of weeks) that are all about examining your attitudes toward birth and whatnot.  I’m pretty sure I know what my attitudes are:  I would like to get Bisquito out of me with as little medical stabbing/poking/cutting as possible.  I’ve been reading a lot about the topic, about the cascade of interventions that seem innocuous enough, but more often than they ought to, lead to a c-section.

IMPORTANT THING TO SAY SO PEOPLE DON’T GET MAD AT ME:  I realize that some c-sections are done for very important medical reasons, and I’m really glad they’re available and usually quite safe.  It sure beats the alternative.

GIANT CAVEAT:  I have never given birth, and all this comes from reading and from hearing about my friends’ experiences.  I reserve the right to completely change my mind and think of Past Aprille as an idealistic fool come February.

That said, I have kind of a fundamental mistrust of MDs, particularly the OB/GYN staff at UIHC.  I worked there for a summer in college, and I gained a lot of respect for the non-MD staff (nurses, nursing assistants, midwives).  They’re the ones doing 80% of the work for 30% of the pay.

MASSIVE GENERALIZATION: MDs are good at diagnosing and treating disease.  They see a patient in pain and think, “How can I fix her?  Epidural.  Now the contractions have slowed down.  How can I fix that?  Pitocin.  Her water hasn’t broken.  How can I fix that?  I can break it manually.  Now it’s been so long since her water has broken that she’s at risk for infection.  How can I fix that?  C-section.”

I can’t really blame them—they’ve been trained in medical school to be mechanics of the human body, to fix the broken parts.  That’s incredibly important if a person needs heart surgery or diabetes treatment or a way out of an unusual birth situation.  Still, I don’t like the idea of giving birth as a broken state.  Unless there’s a serious medical complication, I could probably give birth squatting in a closet.  Letting a bunch of interventions happen takes it out of my control and turns me into a series of problems to be fixed.

Wow, that got a little rantier than I meant it to.  All I was trying to say is that we have baby class on Saturday, and after that we’re going to visit Denny’s parents.

So there.


Time goes by so fastly

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:55 pm

Holy crap, it’s Thursday afternoon already.  Where is my life going?

Oh, right.  To work.

It’s very fall-ish outside, in a nice wear-a-sweater-and-eat-squash kind of way.  I knew I should have bought some squash.  I think I have a couple of sweet potatoes.  Those feel fall-ish too.

Last night Denny dreamed about fighting zombies and I dreamed about descending a long flight of stairs and passing Klansmen and decapitated cheerleaders along the way.  What’s wrong with our brains?


20 year meme

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:00 pm

I try not to do memes too often, because they’re kind of silly most of the time, but this one kind of grabbed my interest.

20 years ago, I…

…was 10 years old and in fifth grade. I really loved school. That was the year my school got an extensive new playground, and it was a big community effort that my whole family was very involved in. I spent all kinds of time over at the playground. My best friend was Pam Olson, I had a crush on a boy named Jacob Luft, and I loved to read books by John Bellairs (really great books; they still hold up when I read them now). I wrote John Bellairs a fan letter and he sent me back a reply that was obviously hand-typed on a typewriter and personally signed. I’m working on a young adult novel right now that I hope follows in his tradition (though with more jokes. I can’t resist the jokes).

15 years ago, I…

…was fifteen and a sophomore in high school. That was a fun year–I was involved in a lot of school activities that I really enjoyed (theater, literary magazine, choir, dance), and I had a lot of good times with my best friends Sarah Teas, Sara Stevenson, Ruby Hsu, and Emily Olson. I had a crush on Andrew Farrington. He smoked a lot and I thought he was very exotic. He was actually really smart and interesting, and I’m always glad when I hear from him now and then. I do hope he’s quit smoking, though (if you’re reading this, Andrew, it’s only because I care!).

10 years ago, I…

…was 20 years old and having fun in college. I lived in an apartment on Clinton street with three of my friends (Buffy, Becky, and Carrie). I was still doing a lot of theater, mostly No Shame, but also a really cool play called “A Wild Romp through the Endocrine Canal,” which was written by a playwright in the Playwrights Workshop. It was a semi-autobiographical account of some serious health problems she’d had, done in a really humorous but also very touching way. I played her brain.

My grandparents came to see it, and my grandmother really identified with a scene in which the protagonist was trying to explain her symptoms to doctors, and the doctors were just practicing their golf swings and generally not caring about her as a human being. I think that rang true to my grandmother, who had battled breast cancer and understood how dehumanizing the medical world can be for patients.

5 years ago, I…

…was fairly new at my first grownup job, having finished my MFA and found a job in instructional technology (where I remain to this minute). It was exciting having a regular paycheck, since I’d gotten accustomed to living on a T.A. budget. My personal life wasn’t doing so hot at that time; I was at the tail end of a relationship with someone whom I cared about very much (and still do—he’s a high quality person and I’m glad we’re on good, if not close, terms). It just wasn’t right for the long-term. Looking back, there are some things I would have done differently, but I don’t regret any of the things I learned and experienced during that time.

2 years ago, I…

…was a newlywed. Denny and I got married in July of 2005, and I’m very glad we did. He’s my best influence in so many ways. I’ve gushed about him on here recently enough, and every now and then I get a surprise about who’s reading this blog (hi, Vern D.!), so I’ll keep the more personal details under wraps for the time being. I will say that I’m glad we had a big wedding with lots of friends and family, but I am NEVER DOING IT AGAIN (any party of that size, not just a wedding). It was a lot of work. Our honeymoon to Nevis was fun; I got to snorkel with a really big stingray, or maybe it was a manta ray. I was delighted to be living in our house and making some aesthetic changes therein.

1 year ago, I…

…was fielding a lot of “when are you going to have a baby?” comments. I was also getting very excited about our trip to Rome, which I was in the midst of planning. I bought a new laptop and I was mad at Blackboard (the company) for being litigious and stupid. I gleaned these facts by looking at my website archives. They are very useful.

So far this year, I’ve…

…begun cultivating a human, taken a self-portrait every single day, considered some changes in my work life, wished for some pork-flavored Chinese stamps (I never did get any), gained a certain amount of fondness for a surly faculty member, made Oscar-themed treats for my friends’ annual Academy Awards party, bought the shoes I’m wearing right now, and lots of other boring crap.

Yesterday, I…

…worked all day like a sucker. Yesterday was a really busy day; it felt like I had about eight meetings. After work I made dinner (homemade waffles a la Alton Brown—we’d just seen a Good Eats on that topic and Denny was hungry for them), then chilled out some, then we watched Bones and House on Tivo. Both shows were a little too much for me last night; Bones had some really gross scenes of a cadaver swarming with maggots (ew ew ew) and House had a really sad part where a disabled guy and his beloved guide dog died together (cry cry cry). I should have just watched The Golden Girls. Last night when I was trying to go to sleep, Bisquito was being very kickful and it was quite distracting. It kept making me laugh.

Ooh, another exciting thing from yesterday: we paid off the small mortgage on our house (we have our main mortgage, then an additional one that allowed us to put 20% down to avoid having to pay for some sort of extra insurance). We now officially own 1/5 of our house. I hope it’s Bisqui’s room. That’s the nicest one at the moment.

Today I…

…got up, went to work, went to some meetings, tried to get some actual work done, got sushi for lunch, and worked on this thing. I was planning on doing some exercise-walking over lunch (still might), but I’m feeling really tired all of a sudden. I should, though; I’ve been slacking on that lately. I think I’m making Mongolian beef for dinner, which is good because it always makes enough for leftovers, which means I don’t have to think about what to pack for lunch tomorrow.

Tomorrow I’ll…

…probably do more of what I did today, though thankfully with fewer meetings and more actually getting the things done that I get assigned to do in meetings. I have a library book I need to finish because it’s due tomorrow. We have baby class starting on Saturday, then afterwards we’re going to visit Denny’s parents and go to the Covered Bridge Festival (that’s the covered bridges of Madison county, which you may have heard of), so maybe I’ll get some packing done for that little adventure.

Whew. That was hard.


Power out

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:55 pm

Last night the power went out while I was cooking dinner.  We were supposed to be having chicken parmesan, but I couldn’t heat the sauce or make the pasta.  The chicken was mostly done, so I finished it on residual heat and we just had chicken.  Unfortunately, Denny’s was a little underdone in the thicker part.  Oops.

The power came back about half an hour later.  I’d like to send a special thanks to the anonymous neighbor with an unprotected network that allowed me to find MidAmerican Energy’s phone number on my laptop (and some other, less productive sites that I surfed while waiting for the power, and thus our network, to come back).  The outage was only on one side of the street; I heard a bang from the generally back-yardish area, so a transformer must have blown over there.

It was reasonably exciting.  Denny was going to mow the lawn, but he couldn’t get the garage door open (or at least wasn’t sufficiently motivated to find the manual override).



Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:37 pm

Wobbity wobbity, busy day.

So, what did you do over the weekend?

I, with much help from my husband, finished (well, 95% finished) painting Bisquito’s room. It’s 3 white walls and one light-but-very-bright green wall. It looks pretty good in natural light, but under incandescent light, it’s kind of WOWZA. Hopefully getting some stuff on the walls, some furniture in the room, and a rug or two on the floor will break things up a bit. It does look nice with the hardwood floors, though. I like it, but then I like exciting wall colors. All the typical baby colors just look so Easter eggy to me, and it’s only Easter once a year.

Also interesting: we painted a square on one wall that’s kind of the activity zone. Denny did a couple of coats of magnetic primer, then he put chalkboard paint over that. We’re going to arrange some kind of frame around it to differentiate it from the rest of the wall. Denny did all that part because those paints aren’t available in low-fume varieties, and we want Bisqui to be born with minimal chemically-induced dumbening.

We also drove all over the area looking at cribs and changing tables and stuff. We still haven’t decided for sure what we’re getting, and it was all becoming quite frustrating until we arrived at Bliss for the Baby in Coralville, which is apparently the only place in eastern Iowa that has stuff that isn’t totally crappy and/or totally absent. I hate shopping in general, and I especially hate shopping if I don’t see anything I like, so it was a welcome sight. We might get this crib. We might not. It’s a possibility.

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