Nicknames we’ve given our animals

(Because everyone knows you can’t just call a pet by the name you gave them. That’s just crazy talk.)

Shee-Shy-Sho

Shy Guy

Sugar Booger

Montresser

Monster

Montgomery Jones

Snack Pack

Princess

Fang

Booger Butt

Fluffer Butt

Rotten

Brat

Licky Lou

Puddin’ Pup

Shelly-Bean

Shelly-Belly

Shabaebae

Buddy

Mont

Shy-ee-yai

McRottenPants

(Our pets’ actual names are: Monty, Shy, Fang-A-Lang and Shelby. Can you guess whose nickname is whose?)

The 35 Week Waddle

35 weeks. Five weeks away from my due date. I keep telling myself that even though I’m approaching my due date that doesn’t mean I’m gonna have this baby anytime around then. I know that only something like, 5% of women give birth on their actual due dates or whatever and I’m at peace with that. But it’s still the date that my brain has fixed as, “baby time,” so the fact that it’s within spittin’ distance is starting to freak me out.

And at the same time I am so ready to be DONE.

I understand now why everyone whines about the third trimester. You get a lot of similar symptoms to your first trimester except now you’re unwieldy and huge and oh my god, so ready to be done. I have been having pretty constant heartburn from everything lately; water, bread, mac ‘n’ cheese, EVERYTHING. Still nothing bad from food with spiciness to it which is such an unbelievable miracle that I’m afraid to type anything about it here, lest I anger the Irony Gods and they decide to punish me for my hubris.

(I feel like I made that joke already but my god, the pregnancy brain has been in such full swing it’s a miracle if I leave the house wearing pants.)

My worst heartburn was brought on by pasta with a tomato sauce and that heartburn was so extreme it actually made me want to cry. I didn’t cry because that would have required the ability to breathe inwards which I couldn’t really do because it felt like my whole chest was being squeezed by the fiery hand of God. I ended up breaking down and taking the heartburn medication my doctor prescribed me which I had been avoiding because while it works it makes me stop pooping. But in that moment? It was like, fine! Rob me of my ability to have bowel movements, I don’t care! You can have it! Just take this hellish pain away from me!

In spite of the horror show that eating has become with this giant honkin’ uterus pressing up into my stomach’s personal space I have been so freaking hungry pretty much all the time now. Well, that’s sort of inaccurate. It’s actually more like, when I get hungry I get so hungry that I need to eat ALL THE FOOD RIGHT NOW. And then I’m so full I end up not eating anything else for like, six hours by which point, HOLY SHIT STARVING SHOVEL FOOD INTO MY GAPING MAW. (Yeah, I’m sure these eating habits help me with my heartburn so much. /sarcasm)

The baby’s definitely running out of room to move around in there though. I often feel pointy heels and feet pressed against the top left of my uterus and I can watch as the baby squirms about, trying to get into a more comfortable position. Gone are the days of actually feeling kicks, now it’s just shifting and wiggling. My sister (who is a labor and delivery nurse) poked and prodded to feel where the baby was and gave the professional opinion of, “If you’re baby is less than eight pounds at birth I will eat my hat.”

My sister also gave me and Matt a sort of childbirth class herself, which I greatly appreciated. I didn’t want to do group classes or anything like that but I also felt too nervous to just sort of wing it on my own with no real information. So my sister offered her expertise and even made us a power point presentation complete full of segments with fun names such as, “OMG is that blood!?” and, “Did my water break or did I just pee my pants?”

(The answer to that second question by the way, is determined by whether you have just one big gush of fluid that immediately stops or a slower, more steady and constant leaking of fluid. Constant leaking? Your water broke, get thine ass to a hospital. One big gush that stops pretty immediately? You just peed yourself hon, I’m sorry. But obviously if you’re ever in doubt it’s better to just go to the hospital to be safe.)

Other than all the “joys” already mentioned above, the only other pregnancy thing I got going for me is a sharp increase in Braxton Hicks contractions. Most of the time they don’t really hurt, it’s just a sudden tightening in my uterus that is really weird to feel. The ones that have hurt have been on the medium to bad end of menstrual cramps pain. But they’ve all been irregular as hell or only having one every six hours or so, so I haven’t been paying them too much attention.

I will say that nothing freaks out a restaurant full of people more than when you’re very obviously pregnant and stand up out of the table too fast, causing yourself a painful little Braxton Hicks that makes you put a hand on your belly and gasp ever so slightly. I swear, every head snapped to attention right at us and at least three people asked if I was okay, when am I due, do I need an ambulance? I assured them I was fine and waddled away while they made bets about whether I was truly in labor or not.

I feel like time is moving by so quickly and it’s really sinking in that I’m going to be a parent very soon. I have an appointment set up to tour the birthing center at my hospital and I’ve begun to discuss my labor plans with my doctor. We are starting to acquire more baby things and the animals all have shifty looks in their eyes because they do not know what is going on here but they know they don’t like it.

(Still no nursery or anything like that set up because, hey, we’re still going to be moving like, a month after my due date and Matt still hasn’t found work and everything is still so uncertain and in the air that GEE GOLLY GOSH MAYBE THERE IS A REASON I’VE BEEN TRYING NOT TO THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS CAUSE IT’S SO UNCERTAIN AND SCARY AND I CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT AND AAAAAAAAAAHHHHAILHDFKJWHRI. *pant*pant* Okay, I needed that I guess.)

We’ll get it all figured out eventually. What was that I was saying before, about being ready to be done? Shut up, me. We need a lot more time to get this crap straightened out. Take your time, baby. I swear, we’ll be ready someday. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Recipes and Stress Dreams About Beans

There was a memorial for Joyce this past Saturday. I don’t want to talk about it much other than to say that it was a really lovely affair, filled with stories and rememberings and laughter and very few tears. I think she would have liked it (well apart from it being her memorial and all). She didn’t like being fussed over and I know she wouldn’t want us to lay in the dirt and stop living because of her passing.

Plus with this little one on the way I don’t really have the luxury of falling apart for very long. It seems my nesting instinct has finally come in full swing and I find myself getting neurotic and freaked out about every little thing.

Finally started a baby registry. After months of relatives asking if there was anything they could buy for the baby and me staring at them blankly because my brain was still switched to, “Too Scared To Think About That Stuff,” I finally buckled down and started figuring shit out. (Much to the relief of everyone in my life, including myself to be honest.)

But it’s not just that my brain is suddenly super concerned with having the right crib, the right diapers, the right car seat, etc. Oh no. I’m getting worked up over stupid little stuff too.

For instance, there are beans bubbling merrily away in my crock pot right now. Beans that my brain and anxiety decided to turn into A Thing.

I decided to make the beans recently after receiving a very generous package of green chile from The Hatch Chile Store.* Since the easiest way to cook beans is in a crock pot on low heat, that meant waking up early enough to start the beans so they’d be ready in time for dinner. This is where my brain decided to go CRAZY.

I kept waking up before my alarm would go off (it was set to 8 am which is Early but by no means is it Early enough to deserve anxiety). I woke up at three, four, five and finally six am when I was like, “FUCK IT. GUESS I’LL MAKE THE BEANS NOW!” So I stumbled out of bed and into the kitchen to get things going.

(I actually for once tried to pay attention to quantifying what I was putting in the pot cause I figured it would be fun to share the recipe with you all. Unfortunately, I am one of those cooks who has a tendency to just eye ball everything and then I’m incapable of telling anyone else how to recreate the recipe. So I actually tried to pay attention this time which resulted in me having to pull packaging out of the trash so I could say exactly how much of something went into the crock pot after I had forgotten I was supposed to be caring.)

KATIE’S BASIC BEANS THAT ARE PRETTY MUCH HOW EVERYONE MAKES BEANS (But they are really good!)

Ingredients:

16 oz bag of dried pinto beans

3/4 cup or so chopped white onion (you can put more or less depending on how much you like onion, you’re not gonna ruin anything)

1 and 1/2 lbs of either beef bones w/ marrow or pig knuckles (you want something mostly bone with not a whole lotta meat. I know meat is tasty but bones and such are where the flavor is AT. I usually use pork knuckles but couldn’t find any this time so I went with the beef bones. Pork knuckles have slightly more meat clinging to their outsides so if you want little shreds of pork in your beans go with those. I know it sounds gross and if you want vegetarian beans you can totally not put in either of these options but trust me people, the beans taste so much better with them in there and to top it off, bones and such are CHEAP. Protein and flavor on a budget!)

8 oz hot green chile (this is another thing that is super subjective to your own tastes/tolerance for chile heat. I’ve got a pretty good tolerance for spicy foods but sometimes hot chile around here is destroy your taste buds HOT. Which is why I only put in half a package of chile instead of a whole one. You can go with mild or medium or whatever your taste buds can handle.)

Directions:

1. Rinse and check the beans to make sure there aren’t any small stones masquerading as beans running around in there. It only takes one small stone to crack a tooth and it only takes one cracked tooth to ruin a friendship. DON’T RUIN YOUR FRIENDSHIPS. CHECK YOUR BEANS FOR ROCKS.

2. Put all the ingredients in your crock pot along with eight cups of water. I like putting in the bones and such last so I can stir all the stuff together before setting them in.

3. Set your crock pot to low for 10-12 hours.

4. Stumble back to bed so you can have stress dreams that you totally ruined the beans somehow by adding too much water or some such nonsense even though you’ve made beans this way roughly 4,000 times.

That’s right people. I HAD STRESS DREAMS ABOUT RUINING THE BEANS. That was dream(s) as in plural. I don’t know why my brain decided that these freaking beans were something worth stressing about but it did. I slept for crap but when I finally woke up again around 10:30 this morning I got to be greeted with the most delightful smells emanating from the crock pot. So I think it’s going to be okay.

But seriously, these beans are the best. Not only can you eat them as is but you can also have them with a couple fried eggs on top and some tortillas for a lazy version of huevos rancheros. (I prefer flour tortillas but there are plenty of people who like it with corn tortillas, so go with whatever floats your boat.) Basically any traditional Hispanic recipe that calls for finished beans? Use these. They keep and keep and keep and they will feed a lot of people for a pretty dang low cost. And they’re GOOD.

And they need to hurry up and finish so I can have dinner.

beans

Yeah, you’ll want to fish the bones out before serving but my god, look at the flavor.

 

*This is not a Sponsored Post, BTW. I would be very upfront with any post anyone might pay me to write. I linked to them in an earlier article and they very generously asked me if I would like some free chile as a thank you and I practically tripped over myself to say, “HECK YES.”

Grief.

Monday. I’m getting out of therapy around 1:30 pm and I check my phone. I always have my phone on ULTRA SUPER DO NOT DISTURB mode when I’m in therapy because to do anything else is kind of an ass-hat thing to do. I notice I have two missed calls and three text messages from a good friend, Hannah, I haven’t spoken to in a while. My heart preemptively swoops into my stomach as I open the messages.

Her grandmother, Joyce, has had a heart attack and is in the hospital. Doctor says she is stable for now.

The messages were sent a little over half an hour before.

I’m in my car and frantically calling, trying to get through so I can find out which hospital and how is she doing now? Getting Hannah’s voicemail a few times I leave a message and start driving home. I’m not in the car for too long before I start to cry and yell out curse words at no one in particular.

I’ve known Hannah since we were eight. We were in the same class together and our shared goofy sense of humor and habit of chattering about anything and everything quickly cemented us as Best Friends Forever. When I first met Hannah it was just her and her mother, Lisa; a sweet, unbelievably kind woman who has a tendency to be a mother to anyone who needs it.

We spent the next few years seeing each other all the time. I would always go over to their house for sleepovers and while occasionally I had to spend a weekend at my own house (usually because my mom would sniff and whine that if I loved them so much maybe they should just adopt me and become my real family) it was at Lisa’s and Hannah’s place that I felt the most comfortable, safe, and at home.

Around when we were 12, Hannah’s grandfather passed away. Cancer. This left her grandmother, Joyce, living by herself in a huge house in a rural part of Minnesota. Lisa did the Good Daughter thing and arranged to have her mother come and live with her and Hannah. This was the first time I got to meet Joyce.

I remember Hannah being so nervous. I understood, entirely. We were still very close, BFFs and as a kid, you want your friends to get along with your family. It’s hard to hang out or see them often if they don’t.

Turns out, Hannah didn’t need to worry at all. We got along from the word go. Joyce was sassy, smart, irreverent and our sense of humor was one and the same. That first day we both made jokes that were eerily similar and cackled together (our laughs were even the same) and basically acted like we had known each other for years instead of only a few hours. I still remember Hannah looking wild eyed at us both, as if thinking, “Oh my god, they’re the same person! My best friend is my grandma!

As a young kid I always had a hard time spending the night at other people’s houses. It didn’t matter how tired I was, or how many times I’d been to their house, or how late the night before we stayed up, I always found myself awake at four or five am, completely unable to go back to sleep. Every time it had happened at Hannah’s house I’d lay in bed and try to wait patiently for her to wake up.

But after Joyce came to live with them, that changed. I wasn’t the only person awake at that time anymore. I don’t remember how it started but soon she and I had an indelible routine. When she woke up in the morning (usually around four) she would make coffee for the both of us. When I woke up a little later I would find a fresh pot waiting for me with a mug already selected and put by the coffee pot. After fixing myself a cup I would go into Joyce’s room (she always had the door open to let me know she was up) and I would sit in the armchair next to hers and we would watch the news and talk together. We talked for hours, waiting for Hannah and Lisa to wake up so the day could get fully started in earnest. So by the time Hannah woke up at the much more reasonable time of 10 am she would find me and Joyce, sitting together, talking, having already been up for anywhere from 3-6 hours.

I always used to say that Joyce was the only grandma I had that I actually liked since the two I’m related to are not people I get along with in the slightest. So while it might seem weird to some people that I should care so much about someone who isn’t technically related to me, it’s important to understand that she was my friend and grandmother in everything but blood.

On Monday, I was almost home when Hannah finally called me back. The doctors had only just finished telling them that Joyce was not going to come out of this. It was only a matter of time and anyone who wanted to say goodbye to her should do so now. I got the name of the hospital from Hannah and pulled into a post office parking lot so I could figure out where I was going.

My phone struggled with maps and refused to give me directions from where I was, saying my location somehow wasn’t valid. I screamed obscenities at my phone and slammed my hands against my steering wheel, scaring the crap out of some random passerby walking back to their car. I managed to finangle it into working and found myself driving back the way I came to get to the heart hospital.

I called Matt somewhere in all this and garbled what I was doing and where I was going. He told me to drive safe and take as much time as I needed. I hung up and focused on driving as safely as I could through a face clouded in tears.

I called Hannah once I got into the hospital. She told me where Joyce’s room was and I started attempting to navigate the maze that is every hospital layout, following vague signs and asking any nurse I passed to help me out.

When I got there it was Hannah, Lisa, and Lisa’s sister all clustered around Joyce’s bed. She was on a ventilator and looked so small and fragile. She had had a moment of coherence before, they said but she had been in pain so they had given her more pain meds which made her sleep again.

If you’ve ever been by a loved one’s bedside in a hospital like that you know how strange time behaves there. It seemed to warp and twist itself around us, going both terribly slowly and unbelievably fast all at the same time. I don’t remember what we sort of talked about. Random nonsense chatter; about Joyce, about the heart attack(s), the hospital, the traveling to get here, her last moments of consciousness. The conversation was as empty and hollow as the hospital hallways, only there to take up space and serve the function of avoiding silence.

Lisa and her sister stepped into the hall at some point to talk to the doctors and nurses again, leaving Hannah and I alone with Joyce. Hannah was stroking Joyce’s hair and kissing her forehead when Joyce woke up again. She looked at Hannah and I and you could see that she saw us. She was there and understood. Hannah told her she loved her and Joyce mouthed around the breathing tube, “I love you too.”

I got to hold her hand and tell her I was there and she saw me. I thanked her for the blankets she crocheted, not just for me, but for my baby. I told her what the sex of my baby is and told her the name Matt and I picked out. Her eyes danced and she nodded her approval at the name and I was just so happy I got to tell her. That she got to find out what I am having.

She stayed awake for a while. Every time we asked her if she was in pain she would shake her head no. I think it was obvious to all of us that she was actually in pain, she was just trying to stay awake so she could say goodbye to everybody. She didn’t want to sleep again until she had said goodbye.

I don’t know how long I actually ended up staying, probably close to a few hours. Eventually my body made it clear to me that I had not eaten anything since early that morning and it was now past supper time. When I decided to head out I went up to Joyce again and held her hand. She gripped mine as tightly as she could, which was just enough for me to know she knew I was holding her hand. I told her I needed to go and she looked at me and nodded. I thanked her for everything and told her I loved her again. One last time she said she loved me too and I said I would see her later before I let go of her hand and left.

Yesterday Hannah called me to let me know that Joyce passed away at 1:00pm exactly that day.

I still haven’t had my big cry from that news yet Monday when I got home I was a wreck and Matt and Red did everything they could to be there for me and let me grieve as I needed to. Today and yesterday I still feel so numb. I can feel the wave of grief lurking behind me, waiting to crash down on me once it really hits me that she’s gone now. That she won’t be there to hold my baby and talk to me about motherhood and tell me more stories about her life and the things she’s gone through.

I know I’m incredibly lucky that I got to see her before she left. I’m lucky that I got to say goodbye to her and tell her about my baby and hold her and say I love her one last time. A lot of people don’t get that. But I don’t feel lucky right now. I just feel this raw, overwhelming sense of loss. I’m trying not to just lay in bed like a sad sack because I know Joyce would have hated that. She never liked being fussed over and I know she wouldn’t want any of us to fall apart at the seams over her.

But she was an incredible, strong woman. And we all loved her so very, very much. So goodbye for now, Joyce. I love you to pieces and miss you so much already.

Joyce

Cat Got Your Heart?

Matt is never allowed to give me grief about “spoiling” Shy ever again. He has spoiled Fang-A-Lang so much worse than I ever could with Shy. It’s kind of cute actually, in a, “Oh my god, did you really just do that?” sort of way.

Case in point, the other day Fang was laying on our bed and was curled up in a tiny little ball. Matt came to pet her and then bent his face down and like, warmed her with his breath. You know how if it’s cold out and you exhale warmth onto your hands to keep the chill at bay? He did that, to his cat’s FACE.

He stopped and looked up at me. I’m pretty sure my eyes were wide and my mouth was agape. He looked sheepish and slightly embarrassed as he said, “What? She was cold!”

I mean, I guess I’m not too shocked or horrified really. I’ve got some weird habits when it comes to spoiling Shy. It’s just so funny to me now because Matt used to give me so much shit about all the little things I would do with Shy and how they were, “inappropriate” and “teaching her bad habits.”

One of his biggest peeves was always about my cereal milk. As mentioned before, I am lactose intolerant and have a weird habit when it comes to eating cereal that leaves a butt-load of milk still in the bowl. Shy loves any form of dairy and would always sit and silently beg for a small amount of this ambrosia.

Since cats (like pretty much every adult mammal out there other than humans) are also lactose intolerant I would never give her more than like, a tiny spoonful that she would happily lap up before trying to stick her head in the bowl to claim the rest. It got to where if anyone was eating cereal she would wait nearby for them to offer her some milk. When no offer would come, she would get a little pushy and try to stick her face in the bowl without an invitation. This drove Matt crazy.

“You’re teaching her bad habits! I shouldn’t have to share food with her, she shouldn’t even expect it!”

But with Fang? Everything he eats he offers her a little tiny portion of. It doesn’t matter if she is asleep and in the other room. He’ll tear a piece of meat off his dish and go to her, calling her name softly and offering her tidbits. He’ll even try other bits of stuff to see what she does or doesn’t like. The results of this spoiling is that Fang will run up to anyone who has any sort of food and rather than just beg for some of it she just straight up jumps to trying to eat it. Right off your fork, if she has to.

I think at one point I got mad at Matt because Fang was actively assaulting me in an attempt to steal a chunk of my food. If I was defending the plate too well she’d wait for the fork to head to my mouth and attempt to bap the food off of it so she could eat it. If I defended the fork, that left my plate exposed and vulnerable so she’d just go for that. Worst case scenario is when Fang decides to blow her nose all over your food in an attempt to get you to not want it anymore.

Matt thought the whole food song and dance was funny and he saw absolutely zero connection between it and his almost ritualistic offering of his food to Fang-A-Lang.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that things have ended up the way they have. Matt and Fang fell in love with each other in that special pet-owner bond way before we even officially adopted her. When she still lived outside by the dumpsters he would leap at the chance to go out there, even if it meant he was taking out the trash several times a day when it wasn’t really full yet.

I knew we didn’t really have space for a third cat but when Fang started waiting on our front porch for Matt to come home from work I conceded defeat. The day before her first vet check up that we had scheduled to make sure she was healthy and not crawling with parasites I caught her in a cat carrier and brought her in for the night to stay in our bathroom. I hadn’t wanted to trust that I would find her immediately before the appointment since she was still a stray and would go wherever she pleased.

Matt had a miniature hissy fit after I caught her and brought her inside. “Great!” I remember him saying, “Now I can’t go to work tomorrow!”

“What?” I was completely baffled, “Why? The appointment is scheduled for after you get off of work. There’s no reason you can’t go.”

“But you brought her inside today! Now if I go to work tomorrow I’ll be too busy being worried about her to be able to get anything done.” Matt said.

There were some giant holes in that logic that I didn’t even want to attempt to address so I just let it go. Indeed the next day Matt took a personal day off from work and spent the majority of his time in the bathroom with Fang-A-Lang, trying to get her to calm down.

(He did later apologize to me over the whole freak out and blaming me for missing work thing. He acknowledges now that it was smarter to catch Fang the day before her appointment as opposed to the day of and it also turned out she had a respiratory infection and he didn’t like the thought of her spending another night outside in mid October with raspy lungs.)

Fang is indeed the super spoiled princess of the house. Though I guess I can’t blame Matt too much for that. After all, she is incredibly cute.

Matt and Fang

A boy and his cat

 

More cat pictures after the jump!

Continue reading

Knitting for Solace

I knit in bursts. You know when you’re trying to get back into running or jogging or whatever and you start of walking with little bursts of running when you can manage it? That’s how I knit. Nothing… Nothing… Nothing… ALL THE KNITTING!!!!! And then I don’t touch the stuff for anywhere from 2-6 weeks.

I think it’s because I get that knitting bug and then I burn myself out; both mentally and physically. Actually, especially physically. If I’m not careful my carpal tunnel gets to the point where for days afterwards I have to alternate wearing my braces with ice packs to try to make the constant tingling and loss of grip in my hands go away. That’s when I have to just NOT KNIT for at least a few weeks cause I’ve fucked up my hands to the point of forced rest.

I’m getting better at pacing myself but I have restless hands. When I’m in a knitting mood I NEED something to do with my hands. Anything. Knitting helps me out the most because it most duplicates my most negative habit: picking. I’m not officially diagnosed with dermatillomania but my therapist has conceded that I’m pretty much There. When I get frantic or anxious or too stressed or just, I dunno, Mercury is in retrograde or something, my hands just start absentmindedly picking at my skin. At little bumps. At imagined little bumps. At nothing until I’ve created a little bump that I can now pick at.

I’ve tried so many different methods for stopping this very unhealthy and destructive behavior but not much has stuck. Knitting helps. Its soothing, repetitive motions keep my hands occupied and provide a sort of calm, restful feeling for that part of my brain. I didn’t pick up the needles specifically to deal with my picking. I had been knitting for years before I noticed that my picking all but ceases when I am working on a project.

But the fact that I use it to help deal with stress and anxiety contributes to my burning myself out and murdering my wrists with carpal tunnel. I swear that phrase, you can’t win for losing has never been more appropriate.

But with how everything stands in my life at the moment (baby due soon, Matt unemployed and looking for work, where we’re gonna live after the baby is born 100% still up in the air) it makes sense that I’ve been knitting like a madwoman lately. I’ve been so much more fidgety and full of nervous energy but I don’t really have an outlet for it other than my crafts. It’s probably why I cranked that poncho out so relatively quickly.

(I’m also knitting a bunch because my skin is still so zit-infested that it could easily double as a set for an alien planet. Pregnancy hormones have NOT been kind to my skin. And dermatillomania is hard enough to control when you don’t literally have big glistening white heads covering every square inch of your skin. There is a reason I have yet to take a single photo of my bare stomach and probably never will. I really don’t want any concrete reminders about the time in my life where my skin has never looked worse. Needless to say the urge to take sandpaper or a cheese grater to every single spot on my skin is occasionally overwhelming. Healthy, I know.)

I’m normally total crap at finishing a project before starting another one. If the project is big, I tend to get to the point where the pattern tells me to, “continue as established for 400 rows” before I end up being like, “NOPE.” The thing gets put down and rarely ever gets picked back up again. Then I get to look wild eyed and nervous when someone asks me if I ever finished it as I debate whether I should be honest about how it probably will NEVER be finished or if I should lie and hope they never ask to see it.

BUT I think I may have found a way to prevent me from turning into a Knit Gremlin (a dastardly creature that crafts its hermit crab-like shell out of the remnants of unfinished projects that have otherwise long been forgotten). I just have to follow one simple rule: I am not allowed to start another project until my current one is 100% completed. NO EXCUSES OR EXCEPTIONS.

Didn’t bring your current project with you but you coincidentally have the yarn and pattern for that other thing you wanted to make on your person? Tough nuts, I guess you’re not gonna do any knitting right now. Because after 26 years I’ve finally gotten to know myself well enough to know that once that new project is started my desire to go back and finish the other one will be virtually nonexistent.

It’s been working well for me so far. I finished the poncho with minimum incident and I’m almost done with the thing I’ve been working on for now (I can’t really say specifically what it is or show off lots of pictures cause it’s just gender specific enough to give the game away).

(I can however show you the yarn I’m using because look! It’s so pretty~)

yarn skein

I don’t care what anyone else says, orange can be for boys or girls. It’s totally a gender neutral color.

yarn gauge

This is my gauge swatch. Look at the slight variations in the color. *swoon*

yarn closeup

My camera sucks so if the yarn looks like crap please chalk it up to my crappy equipment and not the quality of the yarn. This stuff ROCKS.

 

It also helps that baby knits, even the ones I’m doing which are technically more like toddler sized knits, are super duper fast. They use so much less yarn than most other projects and just seem to get done so much quicker. (The only exception to this rule, of course, are baby blankets which still involve casting on hundreds of stitches and working in pattern for huge amounts of rows and oh god I tried making one once and burnt out like three quarters of the way through.)

I also love that I get to essentially not stress the fuck out about gauge as much as I would over something for an adult or person who already exists outside my womb. I still do the little gauge swatches just to see if I am anywhere near the same gauge as the author but depending on the results I tend to not give a damn.

For instance, this current project. I knit the swatch and checked the gauge. Hmmmm, I’m like, two stitches too big width wise but my row number matches perfectly. So I try smaller needles. Aw crap, now I’m like five stitches too small. So I shrug my shoulders and knit with the too large gauge. So it’ll turn out bigger than the pattern says, big whoop. That just means I’ll need more yarn (already got that covered) and that my kid will be able to wear it for more than a millisecond before they grow out of it.

(Does anyone know what you’re actually supposed to do if your gauge is in between like that? It’s not like they make needles in half sizes and the internet didn’t really have any advice for me outside of, “MAKE SURE THE GAUGE MATCHES COMPLETELY OR DOOM SHALL FALL UPON YOUR HOUSE YE SEVEN GENERATIONS!!!” Which, yeah, big help there guys. I know. I honestly hate mucking about with gauge which is why I tend to gift my finished projects based on who they’ll fit.)

paid-for-by-the-making-shitty-sweaters-association

Image courtesy of nataliedee.com

 

Still, as fun as baby knits are, I think next project is gonna be something for me (or whoever I end up giving it to. I have a weird compulsion to never keep anything I knit for myself. It just doesn’t happen). And by, “I think,” I guess I mean, “I know,” because I already have the yarn and the pattern picked out and they’re both sitting there together, taunting me. I guess I should wrap this up so I can get back to my project before my Knit Gremlin habits win the day again.

Stuff I Like to Eat

Hello everybody! Pregnancy is kind of a bummer when it comes to food, huh? All these new restrictions, no sushi, no undercooked meats (I miss you so much, rare steaks! *sob*), blah blah blah along with all the food aversions and stomach crap that happens as a result of hormones, organs getting moved around and all sorts of other fun stuff.

My pregnancy has been especially bumpy for me in regards to my stomach and what I can eat. First trimester was all nausea and food aversion which led to some severe weight fluctuation resulting in hours spent with a nutritionist and food alarms on my phone like some sort of horrible class schedule only instead of taking courses on history I had to try and choke down food that held no appeal to me (and then hope I didn’t just barf it all back up as soon as I was done).

Second trimester was totally just a “second verse, same as the first” sort of deal with the nausea and food aversion but there was a few glorious weeks where my food aversion went away and I was able to eat food like a normal human being!

Now in the third trimester I am carrying exceedingly high which means my uterus is displacing my stomach like it has a turf war vendetta against it. This means I can eat a very small amount of food before instantly feeling so full and nauseous and heart burny that I want to just lay on the ground like a beached whale. But I can’t even do that because laying down makes it feel worse, like I’m an overly full, long-necked vase that is going to spill water if it tilts too much but instead of water it’s vomit. FUN TIMES.

But I thought it would be fun to sort of talk about what I have been able to eat while pregnant. Just to act as a sort of food journal/interesting snap shot to show how pregnancy food wonk is different for all of us!

MY FAVORITE PREGNANCY FOODS

1. ANY SORT OF SPICY FOOD.

This one seems weird because you’d think with the high levels of nausea and heartburn that a pregnant woman can experience she’d want to avoid eating things like green chile stew and chile rellenos. But get this: I have NEVER had heartburn or any of my other stomach problems when I eat spicy food. *knocks on wood* I honestly have no idea why. It was never among any of the food I barfed up either. Which is good because the thought of throwing up something outrageously spicy sounds just awful. My favorite cheap, crap way of getting my heat fix has to have been my Spicy Ramen (super unhealthy for you but it’s not like I eat it every day or even every week).

SPICY RAMEN

Ingredients:

1-2 packages of ramen, the kind you cook on the stove

A metric shit ton(ne) of Sriracha (or any hot sauce of your choice)

Directions:

1. Cook the ramen as you like it. I myself like to add the flavor packets to the cooking water but I use extra water so the “broth” as it were is extra watery and bland. Mmmmmm good stuff.

2. Pull the ramen out of the water and place in a bowl to the side. Cover the noodles in Sriracha. More. No, no, more. MORE. They need to look like red demon noodles fresh from the coals of hell. My rule of thumb is if when I eat the finished dish I don’t have tears streaming down my face I didn’t put enough Sriracha on there.

3. Pour just the smallest amount of the broth onto the noodles so that way it’s kind of soupy still. Add as much or as little as you’d like.

4. Enjoy! Try not to die from sodium overdose!

2. SOUP. OH GOD, ALL THE SOUP.

Soup has been a fucking blessing this pregnancy. Too nauseous to eat? Sip the broth. Feeling up to something a little more hearty? Have some potato rolls handy to eat with the soup or put some meat in there. Favorites on soup are a toss up between the lentil soup I talked about here and what I’ve taken to calling, Freezer Soup.

FREEZER SOUP

Ingredients:

Random variety of vegetables, usually the kind that are frozen in bags at the grocery store

Maybe some protein

Various seasonings such as oregano, thyme, basil, bay leaves, garlic, onions, cayenne, red pepper flakes (see entry #1), etc.

Either bullion cubes or your favorite kind of soup stock

Maybe some sort of grain or legume like lentils, barley, rice, etc.

Directions:

This soup is much more free form. I usually put like, 4-6 cups of water in a pot and just start adding stuff. I pick out two to three different types of veggies (my store even stocks frozen veggies marked for soup specifically so I love using these) that sound like they would go good together. Combos I have tried include sliced okra, lima beans, corn and green peppers; peas, carrots, green beans, and tomatoes… Things like that. I dunno, it’ll probably work if it sounds good. And if not well… This is why it’s probably good to start with smaller batches of soup until you get the hang of it.

For seasoning I try to work off of whatever vegetables or protein I’m adding. For protein I’ll do things like add eggs like an egg drop soup or cube some tofu or even just toss in a can of precooked chicken chunks. There are a bunch of options here too. The point is you just sort of throw whatever healthy sounding crap you have together and hope it comes out well.

I haven’t suffered any failures on this one yet but it’s probably not a helpful recipe if you aren’t particularly good at cooking. Other tips to consider is to keep in mind how much liquid your added grains or legumes might need. Lentils are a thirsty bean and while they take a pretty short amount of time to cook compared to other dried legumes they will deplete the shit out of the moisture level in your soup. Maybe that’s your thing. Maybe you like thick soup. Me, I prefer soup that’s a little more on the soupy side so I always add extra water when I add lentils. Barley and okra both can make soup a little thicker so consider that if you’re considering combining them (that soup turned out really thick but it tasted great so it worked out).

Actually if your soup turns out a little too thick you can always do what I do and have it for breakfast. With a few fried eggs on top. Just, plop, right up on the soup. I like my eggs over easy so the yolk combines with soup and it’s soooo goood. Plus you’re getting your protein plus a bunch of extra fiber and healthy carbs from all the vegetables and shit in the soup. (And before anyone asks I actually do purchase pasteurized eggs so that way I can enjoy my over easy eggs without having to risk salmonella from the egg shell.) I don’t really think it would taste as good with scrambled eggs but eh, whatever floats your boat I guess! I’m the weirdo eating a big ass bowl of vegetable soup with fried eggs on top so I don’t think I get to judge anybody.

3. FAST FOOD CRAP.

Yeah, I have succumbed to the siren song of fast food joints more than once or twice. A notable entry includes the Chili Cheese Coney from Sonic microwaved to fully cooked. Honestly this is only noteworthy because I HATE hotdogs. Like, they are one of the only things on the list of pregnancy no-no’s that I was like, “Eh, who cares?” about. LITTLE DID I KNOW THAT I WOULD CARE. I WOULD CARE A WHOLE LOT.

Towards the end of my first trimester I started wanting one so damn bad. Which is weird. I normally eat maybe a single hot dog every two or three years or so. You know, just long enough for me to have forgotten that they taste like crap and wonder why I haven’t had one in so long. It’s like a taste bud reminder. But suddenly those Coneys sounded so damn good and nothing could replace them.

So I bought one. And I microwaved it. Because I’m weird and the thing felt so tepid that I didn’t want to risk disease from something I don’t even like anyway. And I ate it. AND IT STILL TASTED LIKE CRAP. But I ate the whole thing anyway. And then I bought another one the next day and I ate that one too. I remember Matt coming in at some point, asking me if my dog was any good and I just shook my head no and said, “It’s disgusting.” And then I took another giant bite.

“Then… Why are you eating it?”

“I DON’T KNOW. I really wanted it and it’s really gross but it’s not making me sick and I actually feel better now that I’m eating it!”

I think he backed out of the room at that point.

4. ALL OF THE DAIRY.

Being lactose intolerant means I don’t really like milk. Or things that taste like milk. Or have a lot of milk in them. Ice cream has always been the exception to that rule for me and I have always eaten it with the attitude that I am eating a very delicious poison. Have I eaten too much? Is this enough poison to make me sick or can I have more? Did I eat enough food beforehand to help dilute the effects of this poison? It’s like playing Russian Roulette only if I lose I don’t die, I just ruin the bathroom for everyone else.

About a month ago I started wanting all of the dairy I could eat. ALL OF IT. It didn’t have to be like, actual cows milk but it better be close. Which is funny because I still hate anything that tastes like regular milk. So if I wanted a big tall glass of almond milk I had to put chocolate syrup in it because plain it just tasted too much like normal milk for me to choke it down.

I would eat a lot of cereal to have more “milk” (milk substitutes honestly) but a lifetime of lactose intolerance has left me with a weird built in habit where I can eat a bowl of cereal and still somehow consume so little of the milk that it almost looks like the exact same amount from start to finish. So I ended up eating a lot of cereal.

Funny enough but ice cream was the only thing I could eat by itself and of course I like the kind with actual dairy in it so it was the only thing I could eat tons of easily and the only thing that could make me sick from over consumption. But it hasn’t happened yet *knocks on wood again* so for now I get to eat as much Rocky Road as I am willing to let myself eat without having to worry about repercussions of the nausea type.

So those are the major players in terms of my food from this pregnancy so far. We’ll see how I handle all the new tiny squished stomach crap and if any of this stuff will end up betraying me.