Pampers Perils in the Mash-Truck Melee: With a Side of Penguin Auntie Anomie

In the 36th week of whoa-this-thing's-gonna-happen-soon, spongy peril persisted at the very edges of sanity (and/or kitchen sinks!), while bellies quivered inside and out at the stirrings of alate melon ball babies. Family rushed into the fracas for a birthing frenzy with a Falconer influx. Lightening threatens to break waters and burst plugs for one bloody show. And traffic travails were tolerated by generous gentlefolk to bring offerings of monkey and myrrh to the crest of spandex laden mountains. 

As 37 weeks gallop into term, well skittle me timbers and gulp up the gumdrop gumbo: Preggers penguins could pop (or merely dissolve into tears over spilt lemonade) at any time!! Husbands walk the thin line of sanity while wives wearily waddle through a bevy of meal miasmas. Tours tantilizingly end to the chagrin of young Falconers. Bootilicious goes babylicious. And drawbridges are constructed over neonatal moats for diapering dynasties.

Rustling Rash Diapers in the Reeds And Other Moody Pre-Mominal Madness

Mom-guilt and mom-pressure are probably more inevitable than death or taxes (although those get more complicated as well during motherhood, or so I hear). While most fatherly figures go blissfully pinballing between work-life-and some semi-formed sense of equilibrium (read your Facebook stream to the baby for a half hour while mommy takes her first shower in a week, then spend the rest of the day thinking about whether you need new running shoes for your next Ironman competition), there's a constant stream of messages telling motherly figures that they are definitively not doing it right. Messages that they should be doing it some other very specific way on peril of being ousted from the roster of fit parents. That if they don't do it right, by god they aren't just screwing up but are actually morally bereft repugnant monsters.

 Ok, it must not be universal. I have definitely seen some bad parents - mothers and fathers - who care not a whit for their performance as primary parental figures and prioritize the well-being of their children slightly below checking the expiration date on that mustard that has been in a fridge since the Carter administration.

But, for a certain segment, mom-guilt is an intrinsic part of existence. An extension of the weird double-standards women encounter when it comes to most anything - physical appearance to ambition to pleasantness to everything in between. Certainly an extension of the subtle condemnation a woman struggling with fertility issues may feel. It persists right through successful reproduction into an entire makeover of woman-as-woman (hear her roar), to mother-above-all-else-equals-woman. Do it right, or forfeit your right to be called woman. But do it too right and you'll be called woman with a pejorative sneer. Yadda yadda yadda. I won't rant. Just suggest that American motherhood extrapolates on American girlhood just so. 

While the pressure is pretty prevalent, the way that it emerges, and the specificity of its impacts seems to be pretty contextualized. It's also typically so insidious that you don't quite realize you aren't necessarily making your own decisions.

 Live in Mountain Lakes like my sister and you'll spend panicked evenings making elaborate Valentine's gift bags for each and every member of any class/camp/activity-circle in which your children are involved; you'll feel guilty when you realize that your 2 year old child's birthday party did not include an ice cream truck, ponies, or a bouncy castle; you'll spend more time commuting between various activities that promise to enrich your child in mind or body than you do actually at these activities; your child may well collect various tutors and counselors like little charms on a bracelet; your books on parenting variously "difficult" kinds of children will take up an entire wall of your bookshelves (just next to your other two walls of carefully crafted photo albums); and you will spend hours perfecting your five year old's elaborate homework assignments, while worrying that he's too rambunctious on the one hand and too sessile on the other. You'll also probably find it natural to be involved with at least twenty volunteer activities related to the ongoing upkeep of a certain level of school and extracurricular enrichment for your children. None of this will keep you from having a lingering sense of uncertainty that you do not officially have a career to provide some sense of role modeling for your children, but you would still have to do all of the above if you did find work and you'd die a little inside each time you left in the morning. 

If you live in Bellingham, well time will tell. But so far I can tell you that you'll naggingly wonder how you could possibly be having a hospital birth when your baby/body/all-that-is-right-and-good-in-this-world prefers pools, doulas and midwifes. You'll suddenly pang with urges to concoct every variety of "lactation cookie" (because the measure of milk you can produce shall be the new measure of your moral fiber); you'll also wonder why your freezer isn't pre-stocked with frozen handmade organic meals that you whipped up in a nesting frenzy after receiving your latest bountiful basket of co-operative farms local produce. You'll feel incomplete until you've practiced every pose and strengthening exercise recommended for "natural birth" for the greater part of your pregnancy, and you'll endlessly wonder if not seeing a chiropractor and a homeopathic consultant is putting  your child at unforeseen risks that are sheerly unfathomable (and whether your baby is already disadvantaged by not having a nice chiropractor hook up before birth). You'll worry that you won't have the energy to attend all those breastfeeding circles and other social events, thus turning your child into a socially inept pariah. You'll panic about BPA, parabens, phthalates, and biological boogie-men that cannot be avoided beyond your fastidiously kept glass storage policy and hippy-dippy toiletries.

 And you'll probably also start angsting over diapers. 

Diapers. About to become the center of your extra-mammary existence. Or the coda to the boobage, anyways. Yes, you'll be producing as much milk as the lord and a good batch of brewer's yeast can afford you (in direct proportion to your self-worth), so that your little one may produce a constant stream of baby fluids. And the way those functions are handled is more important than any Iran-US Nuclear deal, let me tell you. 

The perpetual conundrum: hug the Huggies or hug a nearby tree and go old school?? At this point, I'm thinking maybe we just go uber-natural and get our baby a litter box.

 I found myself somewhat obsessed with the diapering issue a few days ago (advice need not apply here - I am resolute in my determination that we'll figure it out ourselves with the help of and a lot of smelly laundry).

The science is, of course, somewhat contradictory depending on the parameters of any given study. And the bigger questions are irresolute. Are cotton diapers actually better for the environment? Even with the washing and the gas involved in a good diaper service? Are they any cheaper/costlier? Are they somehow not infinitely grosser?? Are disposables demonic dalliances with devilry, exposing your baby to untold toxins now, and a landfilled world of degradation in the future?? Are the cartoon characters on the infant Newborn Winnie-the-Pooh brands pushing stereotypes or sending messages to my newborn infant forcing her to conform before she's had a chance to choose for herself and/or actively interfering with her cognitive development??? I just don't know!!

And important factor for consideration: Andrew is extraordinarily squeamish about bodily functions. Or perhaps just typically squeamish for a man who's rarely tended a pet or taken care of nephews. Having grown up with several pets (some with colon cancer), volunteered at humane societies, kept a vituperative cat for a few years, and definitely experienced the simultaneous pee/poo of a potty-training toddler boy (do you stand or do you sit? Either way something's not making the bowl!), my context is a little skewed for the DINK world.

 When I mentioned the option of hybrid diapers (in a frenzy of work-interrupting text messages, because this diapering question is - again - the most urgent issue ever) he asked if the outer shell part was cheap enough that we could dispose of them if they got anything on them. This may need to inform our purchasing decisions. 

 Hybrid diapers are half non-disposable outer shell with a liner that can be flushed down the toilet. I find them appealing on several grounds. The whole "flushing down the toilet" part being one of the major plusses in my mind. Not having a huge pile of baby bile in the nursery appeals; and not having to carry around a plastic bag of soiled diapers if we ever go out of the house is an appealing feature.

To my hubba-hubba's question regarding disposal, I assured him that when our baby has blow-outs, there will be a heckuvalot more than diaper shells needing laundering. But probably the diapers themselves shouldn't be thrown out. Definitely not the clothes, the bed, the carseat, our clothes, our hands, our soiled baby...  

So yes those are the options in a nutshell: 

1. Bleached out anti-matter disposables that you stack up in garbage bags and then send off to the dump. Plusses include the fact that you don't have to do much handling, there's little extra washing involved (beyond the blow outs), and your hands are likelier to stay clean (beyond the blood of the innocents involved in producing them). Minuses include the fact that are basically hugging a tree while sticking a dagger in its back, the possibility that all those chemicals are bad for baby or for the landfill run-off, and the high likelihood that you will be transgressing against Bellingham mommy moral codes. Oh and they seem cheaper but might actually end up being more expensive.

2. There are disposables made by environmentally friendly companies. They are kind of a step-child in that they aren't that much better for the environment and are definitely demonstrably more expensive.

3. There are cloth diapers with the option to wash yourself (probably more hands-on-the-poop and possibly as energy intensive in a drought-filled area) or through a diaper service (which probably is better environmentally in some weird way, but then there's the pick up cars and everything, and more importantly involves keeping all of your dirty diapers in a smelly pile somewhere, which is a lot grosser if you're out of the house much). Also there's the looming likelihood that Andrew's disgust for the process will interfere with the father-daddy attachment forming, leaving my daughter with serious psychological damage and the inability to form a healthy relationship with men (should she swing that way, which - as a Bellinghamster - I certainly will never tout as her sole option or any kind of expected norm)

 4. As above, there's also hybrids or cloth diapers with flushable pads. Probably more expensive. But possibly neater, and they do come in some very attractive patterns while remaining cheaper than those beautiful baby wraps (another thing I'll slowly come to find more and more vital to my mommyhood, I'm sure). 

Oh and while we're playing with all that, let's ponder absorbency, fit, and the inevitable likelihood that your baby's sensitive skin is not going to like whatever your choose. 

And yes, you  may finally agree with babygearlab that you already have been gifted newborn disposables, and are down for their plan of "giving various recommended cloth diapers a selective audition." But you'll do this only after an entire day of intermittent research and detailed messages to your husband (who is, of course, occasionally letting his mind wander from work to think about... bikes... but hey if he weren't checking his facebook for posts from his teammates, he might have started ignoring your barrage of diaper-filled information!)

Thirty-seven weeks tomorrow! Apparently my brain is getting ready to be a first time mommy for sure! Now to spend a week researching baby sign language and banning all televisions from within a fifty mile radius of our home!

Tinkle Tinkley Taylor Term School's in For Summer 

We've taken this fantastic fandango of fun and frights all the way to term baby. Early term. But term. Meaning I'm likely to be turned down for any elective inductions this week, but nobody nohow gonna wanna stop this baby from coming out if she wants ta. And if she wants ta, she's probably gonna make her grand appearance looking like a normal newborn (covered in "cheesy vernix", cone-headed, and a little bit shriveled-old-mannish in that way all newborns are). 

I don't think she wants to yet. I'm not going to push her before she's ready (har har). Got to practice those parenting skills. Don't want to be overbearing (har har) from the start. 

Of course, for those who are starting to feel like maybe "it's time," there are a billion little home induction rituals to try. I know this because I spend as much time thinking about pregnancy as my husband does thinking about bikes. Which is pretty staggering. But as I told him at the beginning of this, carrying a baby and parenting it is for me the kind of epic rigorous training bucket lister type thing that the Iron Man or Boston Marathon or Tour de France might be for various athletic types. 

Also, I have friends on Facebook. And they're Bellingham moms. They're not going to sit idly by and just let medical science have a big hoorah over their parturient bodies. If they want that baby to spelunk out into the fond birthing pool/kiddie wading pool they bought for the home birth... well they've got approaches. I find it funny that several of these "get it kickstarted" type things are things I have done pretty much regularly since this bun started cooking. I take loooong walks every day (five hours on many week days when you add up the treadmill desk walking). I climb 12-36 flights of stairs each day. I practice squatting. I guzzle dates and pineapples. I nearly freebase ginger and pile on the spicy foods still. I've been sitting on my birthing ball since it was an exercise ball that I used as an alternative to chairs. And there are other things done behind closed doors (in air conditioned rooms) that I still am actively participating in. 

I admit, my massages are not intended to induce labor. And I don't drink castor oil or smear evening primrose oil down where the sun's already set. And my membrane remains free of sweeping (don't ask, I barely know and don't really want to share). Ok, and just the phrase "coffee potty" scares me enough to stick my fingers in my ears and start humming the Smurf song. 

Really, though, I'm happy to wait a while longer if she's happy to do so. 

Of course my little "Your Pregnancy at ____ Weeks" sites get kind of boring once you've hit this point. They basically remind you that you could pop at any minute, but most women probably give birth within 2 weeks of their due date. Still, you may not be most women, so here are fifty signs of labor and how they're different from the dreaded prodromal labor. They'll probably chide you once again for not having your hospital bag ready and suggest you just go ahead and finish up all those projects this week or give up on ever doing them again. And you'll not be surprised to hear that you still have stretch marks, fatigue, vericose veins, indigestion, etc. etc. 

But there are a few little tidbits about the li'l tidbit. Those sites that still even bother have compared her to a summer's Swiss Chard or a Large Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe might be apt at this point, since she's purportedly a bit of a melon head - her cranium is currently the same size as her hips and shoulders. 

While we hold off on the big shebang, I'm rapidly passing off as many of my antibodies as I can, while she's figuring out how to grab more things and stick them into her mouth and working on her very first meconium. 

And I've been warned that (1) once the baby is born, everyone will flock to see the baby, and (2) this will be exhausting and overwhelming if we don't develop a strategy to "handle" visitors pronto. I'm thinking a moat? Not sure if the Condo board will approve that on such short notice, but they seem like understanding people. A gal in my birthing class apparently has a family policy that all visitors within the first six weeks must either bring a meal or be there to do some kind of chore. And they must leave when instructed. Maybe we can have some kind of moat boat just big enough to float meals across. Once we've received the meal, we can lower the drawbridge briefly.... Think that should work. 

As for me, well I'm quite taken up by baby at the moment. I've been taking my measurements on and off through the pregnancy. Before baby I was roughly 36-25-36.5. For the current tally, I've started measuring my belly instead of my natural waist for drama. I'm not really sure what the largest part of my belly was before pregnancy, but it was not 38.5 inches! In fact, that's about a 2.5 inch growth since the last time I measured a few weeks back. I'm so proud of my little girl. She's growing so fast (right out through my belly and into my beleaguered bladder)!

Currently, I'm actually 38.5-38.5-36. Or maybe even "-35.8." This is a complete reversal of my early twenties in which I was a Sir Mixalot fantasy. I once got that trunk junk up to 40 inches according to some costume measurements from my more voluptuous days. 

But bootlicious no more (my babe-to-be doesn't even own booties at this point)! This girl is strictly babylicious at the moment.  My shapely little legs look so scrawny by relativity. 

All said, I neither feel glowingly beautiful nor particularly unattractive in my ninth trimester (I know women often feel one or the other at this point). And I think I'm fairly lucky in terms of symptoms at this point. Although I often feel nauseous and hormonal, have some swelling, and the inevitable mystery twinges that are probably Braxton Hicks or round ligament pain or something pregnancy-related, I do not have that sort of incapacitating swollen feeling that many women report at this point. Probably why I'm not super anxious to get that "bloody show" on the road just yet. 

Also, The Tour de France hasn't ended, and I haven't managed to analogize Andrew into a state of sporty obsession with his role as labor coach. I thought maybe if I used enough bike analogies, I could get him to be super fixated, but well... it's hard when the real thing competes. I'm sure he'll be up to speed, but I'd love to give us both a little more time to look over that book together and to think he's pretty confident with whatever taking charge I'm hoping he can do when I get far gone. Besides I'm going to forget everything in the midst of the "aggggg" so having somebody who is well versed enough to remind me of things like breathing and drinking and using the damned bathroom regularly... kind of reassuring. 

Today I have another OB appointment. I should get the results from my Strep-B test, and maybe have a looksie at things like "dilation" and "effacement" and "stations" which will give some illusory understanding of the progress towards laborial onset, without being particularly accurate! But I'm curious nonetheless. 

Just as I'm heading there, my sister and my nephews should be rolling into town. I'm guessing they don't want to participate in my OB exam, ah well. Maybe we'll just discuss it afterwards. 

Big Wheels and the Saturday Skirmish The boyz are back in town and Auntie Adella is Duck-Waddle Dilated

New tactics: a misleading sponge still within belly striking distance to divert from the big pointy sponge over on the edge. Our domestic warfare is getting tricky here!

As I wind my way towards parenthood, I'm having a last little taste of exclusive Auntiedom, as my sister and the brood arrived yesterday afternoon. When they got here, I was actually being poked and prodded by an OB. Apparently I'm a little dilated, a fair bit effaced, and most assertively earning my waddle. And yes, yes, those are contractions. I have verification after having had several during my exam. Does that mean anything on the timeline to mommyhood? Not necessarily, except that my body does know I'm pregnant and will be kicking the little belly creature out into the world at some point... either today or five weeks from now. The specifics kind of elude medical accuracy. But I'm told if the contractions get to a point where I've had several that make it impossible to have a conversation in an hour, then I should call in. If not, I'll see them again next week for another check in. 

Onto the Boyz in the Gramma Pam's House. They're bigger! They grow every year, the little buggers. And the rough-housing has moved from exclusively an Ian-Braden dynamic, to a very spirited Braden-Sam dynamic. With freelancing by all Falconers of course. 

After a slightly harried halloo at La Fiamma (crowded to the gills for contrast to the extremely pleasant lunch I'd had there with Azita just the day before), I returned home to have a nice little slice of Tour with Andrew. After he retrieved his bike from Fairhaven. We followed up with the penultimate (and decisive) Tour stage this morning. The boys are not huge cycling fans. And I'm not really sure I saw much of the race. But the really exciting stuff right near the end coincided with a bathtime spell, thank goodness. 

Afterwards, Andrew went off for a ride. I ended up a two hour lunch that started at the Old Country Buffet (where several plates were laden and virtually no food consumed), a play area stopover, and some kind of train ride through the mall. I have returned home for a brief dose of hubba-hubby and a much needed walk. Watching nephews is usually more of a stand-sit-run-in-a-panic kind of deal. Less steady ambulation. And then back into the breach (but not the breech birth, because she's head down and ready for the plunge). 

Maternity Leaves Monday at the Office Until the Nephew Madness Maunders Back

Well, after three thriving days of family funtastic frenzies, none of the not-so-little bundles o'nephew have managed to spark more than an extra few contractions and a whole new array of  sciatic and pelvic eeks. That's even despite 4 year old Sam's suggested that I have the baby last night so she could come play chase with the boys.

She's a willful little belly beastie. There's been plenty of thrashing and stomach jabbing, but ultimately I've still got a belly creature in my belly. Still starting my Monday morning by rising, shining, feeding the loris, and trucking on in to work. 

The afternoon will morph back into Auntie-centrism, of course. With a side of safety checking (yes I found a safety inspector for our carseat!)

 I'm not entirely clear what this afternoon will hold for us. We've several lists of "possible activities for boys aged 4-10," but these visits are inevitably anomie. I know when they visit their other grandparents, there is a strict structure and several planned outings, but that really must be a force of will thing, because in our fair Bellinghamlet, it's usually a spontaneous day-by-day and second-by-second.

The vital restaurants are getting their check marks in the Falconer travel log. We started at La Fiamma on Friday (which was a flamingly frantic Friday dinner version of my typically placid lunch destination).  Lorenzo's (a/k/a "the Mexican restaurant with a vintage truck on the ceiling) on Saturday evening. Old Country Buffet (a/k/a the place where your kids can waste as much food as they want and you don't care because they more they waste, the better deal your entry price seems, and by god at least they're distracted by playing with it for a few minutes!!!) on Saturday afternoon. That was followed by the ubiquitous stop at the mall play area, a Target run in order to buy a small battalion of supplies and sports gear, and a ride on the mall train.

I think last night, they went somewhere necessary, but I missed that one. As I missed the excursion to a "very athletic" lunch at Boston's Pizza. In between, they broke in their new scooters out by the Harbor. Well, the boys who still had them.

 My sister ordered scooters on amazon to arrive at Gramma Pam's. Arrive they did. And of course Ian was too grown up for a scooter (nevermind I see several adults commuting into work on them). So he traded his in for roller blades. By which I mean mommy will send one scooter back to amazon and buy roller blades at Target. Braden thought he might emulate his brother by exchanging his scooter for a skateboard. But then he had second thoughts when he realized he would have to leave the board here. Final tally: two boys still have scooters. 

And yesterday, we dragged the boys on a delightful excursion to the stupid and boring and totally not cool (until they were there) Whatcom Falls Park playground. Through my trails! I was starting to fade in the mix of humidity and Braxton Hicksing twinges, and almost thought to head back home while they were still carousing. Until I realized that nobody would have any idea how to get back to my house without my guidance. This was affirmed on the walk back a few times. Probably good I stuck around, even if Ian does theoretically know how to make a lean-to shelter for himself based on some tv program he's seen. 

The park was only agonizing on the way there (and back - oh god cruel mother that she is, Rachel made us all walk back past the falls themselves and only carried Braden back part of the way). 

For their own good, they were also force fed some serious Tour de France action. I'm sure they were riveted. I base this on their whinging near the 'fourth hour' of broadcast and Ian's insistence that what they really needed were crashes. And the fact that most of the morning airings they spent attacking each other in various rooms with light sabers. And in the bath. And pouring themselves bowls of snacks that they subsequently would not really eat. But Uncle Andrew did get to see the Tour and occasionally to put on his wise educator hat and try to explain some aspect of the Tour to a querying (alternatingly querulous) kiddo. And, uh, I saw a few snippets here and there of the final exciting days. 

Note to self: men can ignore almost anything to watch sports. Women are perpetually drawn towards the eye of the youngster action with bandages, super-glue, and shiny distractions ready for triage. Life is unfair. But you'll probably see something in the recap. And hey, quality time!
So by my count we still have a handful of restaurants on the checklist, and a million potential diversionary activities to fill the afternoon with. But no good prediction of when or where activity will strike. 

Which fits the "any day, but also maybe five weeks from now" uncertainty of pending labor! I'm telling you, coaching a labor would be a total blast for the kiddos. 

Speaking of labor, Andrew and I watched an episode of Psych last night treating the topic. In this episode, one of the main character's wives waddles out to a (junk) food (fusion) truck to satisfy her mad cravings 

While she's hiding from her husband in the truck, her water breaks. They all run to the food truck in an emergency panic, while the husband drives to the hospital. Of course, the woman lays on her back making pained noises and occasionally threatening to kill one of the men, while they discuss their man-relationships having nothing to do with the baby. All the while, the father figure delivers the baby into some cheap napkins right as they reach the hospital. 

After prior discussions about labor, and the role of the birth coach and blah blah blah with my husband and with other women (about their husbands perhaps), I found it a particularly enlightening revelation: this is what all expectant fathers and thirtysomething single males think labor looks like!. They know better. They've seen the birthing videos. But in their heads, it's a woman waddling into a truck full of skittle burritos, making a watery mess, falling into a five minute swoon, a car chase, and a clean little kiddo delivered like a take-out-M&M-burger patty! Somehow it clears up much potential confusion. Meanwhile, I was spending the entire sequence going "no, don't lay down, that's the worst position!" and insisting that they treat the subsequent delivery of the placenta at peril of feeling lied to. 

Not that I'd mind such a surreally fast labor experience, but somehow, it's not quite the birthing plan so far. Especially given the health code violations of the food truck in question...Although, the nephews would totally dig the ice cream jerky and pork tarts. 

Anyways, boss lady will be in for an addled interrogation about various work issues (from me to her - she's gone full Gramma Pam mode, and will likely fight all suggestions that all the millions of things she's set in motion during her last attorneydom phase are now requiring input and action), and then fleeing again. I'm sure it will be a strange and productive day. With a bevy of Braxton Hicks and creature hiccups to keep me occupied!

Tuerific Tuesday Tarango and the Testy Tarantara

For a hormonal waddling-whale, I like to think I've acquitted myself fairly well during this pregnancy thing. Sure, I break into tears over the air conditioning positioning. Sure, sometimes I'm grumpier than your average trash-can-dweller. Sure, I will curse the high heavens when a random event triggers the sudden onset of flame ear. And yes, sometimes I'm far too uncomfortable to be touched or even looked at lovingly before I burst into a heat rash.

 But mostly, I get along well enough that one could even forget the fact that a tiny parasite has hijacked all bodily and mental functions to create itself at my own expense. I manage to keep house as well as ever (crazy mess, but shy of condemnation or burning down... and the plastic, cardboard, paper, and newspaper recycling, compost, and trash remain sorted fastidiously). I'm still equipped with a sense of humor. I still get up first thing in the morning and make my husband breakfast and lunch and get the house into order without skipping a beat. I even surprise the loris with surprise bits of chocolate and other treats in a partially terrifying and partially-romantic (all love is ultimately scary at its heart) manner. And I don't particularly have any strange or bizarre cravings - ok, other than a head of cabbage slathered in peanut butter and several groves full of graps. My pregnancy quirks are hardly different than my typical quirks, for the most part. 

Typically, the huge pod sticking out of my once-svelte midriff is the big clue to the pregnancy thing. That and maybe the maternity clothes that my husband swears makes me look uncannily like my sister (and which are far closer approximations to "I cared when I woke up this morning" than my typical office attire of sports tops and blouse jackets). 

Early pregnancy fashion
Maternity fashion

But I have my moments, of course. If the world should remember well enough to occasionally cut me some slack and/or not take a moment to heart too deeply, so should I. And sometimes I can just shake my head at myself and say "let's mark that off to preggers, shall we?"

 Like this morning, when I started off with the benign inquiry of my husband about whether he was doing a ride tonight. This was partially a desperate stab at conversation after a prolonged lull, and largely a scheduling verification for myself. But when he answered "yep, it is Tuesday," I found myself in a strident snark opining that he'd better enjoy it while he could because once the baby was born, I'd probably be less thrilled about him heading off on evening rides.

 Not untrue, but totally out of nowhere and said with an edge that could cut through even the thickest veil of civility. We both paused a second for the various crickets to chirp and pens to drop. Of course, one can't just let these things lie so his ginger "well I guess I'd better do them while I can, then," triggered the clarifier beast and her friend world-parser-attorney. 

Attorney-Adella defensively pointed out that I had told him to enjoy so that's what I was saying obviously. So there! Then I said I hadn't meant to say all that. Then I was saying how I did sometimes worry he would continue to try keeping up his same cycling schedule when the baby was born and well no, don't respond to that, because I didn't really mean to start that conversation and don't have time for that and well it's fine. Really. I just mean that things might change. But really, I didn't mean that. And it's fine. What I really meant was I would probably spend the evening with my sister and nephews. Andrews "ok." In a way that made me feel far less certain that things were actually ever going to be ok again. Or maybe that he'd already checked off "pregnant lady ramblings," and thus didn't really care. One of those. I restrained myself (finally) from pressing further, but only because it was time to leave. 

I'm not sure if that exchange was more or less "fun" than the fifty million times I asked him if he was "ok" in the last 24 hours in reaction to what I (probably correctly) perceived as a somewhat muted mien and still affect. This is something that comes on from time to time and can indicate several things: (1) something is on his mind but not really processed yet - quite often bike parts or a work problem, but occasionally something more personal (2) general tiredness after a long commute and a day sitting at the office, (3) accidentally having purchased decaf, (4) absolutely nothing at all. 

Ah well. We made it out without any breakdowns about the fact that the weather is forecast to get hot again. Nor did I start crying when he asked if he could run the dishwasher and indicated his amnesia for the fact that we had had a similar conversation not very long ago. And whatever else, that ride tonight should either break the spell that triggers my "you sure? You sure you're ok??" reflex or at least limit exposure until my need to poke has subsided in some self-fixated obsession with the perfect air conditioning set up. 

In the meantime, so many distractions! Another day, another nephew avalanche. I actually ended up spending less time with the family yesterday than I'd intended. I had an appointment with the carseat inspector yesterday afternoon, which ate into prime "activity time" (ok most of the time that I was at the fire station, I'm told they were running errands). 

I also flaunted out my lily-penguin-waddling-livered inability to cope with a sunny day, by declining to join them at the "zip line" park that is all the rage in Bellingham these days. There was sun. Sun makes my face fire up. I'm a wuss. A shame the boys didn't make it to my car seat inspection. It was at a firestation. With firemen. And trucks. And workout equipment. And stuff. Also, what six year old doesn't go ga-ga for proper seat belt strapping of infant inserts. 

I did, however, attend a grand luncheon with the family at Fiamma Burger, the spin off to our Friday night La Fiamma woodfire pizza experience. My sister and mother have realized that dining exclusively at places where you can order at the counter minimizes the dining sturm und drang significantly. So we'll be hitting several of the Railroad eateries with some fast-fast-food peppered in there from the sound of it. Unless everything changes by tomorrow. Which is probably will. 

 Fiamma Burger is a fancy burger joint. How fancy? Well, ice for beverages comes in elongated skinny shapes, and their lemonade looks like an icee and tastes tart enough that all of it had to be disposed of and replaced with kid-friendlier Sprite. They also have a few varieties of ketchup and mustard that would not be boy-approved. I particularly like the spicy brown mustard and chipotle ketchup (and will take some with me in to-go cups despite routinely ordering only a salad there). 

But it's not so gourmet as to be unfriendly to families, which make up the bulk of their clientele. The hot dogs (on fancy rolls) and sweet potato fries were less offensively fussy than the lemonade. Sure Sam only ate the hot dog pieces as an after thought to stabbing pre-cut pieces with his knife, and then only the pieces that he didn't accidentally fling on the floor. But liking food is really not the point of eating out. And liking food is not necessarily displayed by consuming said food. It was still a hit. And it was close to Mallard's Ice Cream where Sam got and subsequently rejected a chocolate ice cream (probably because he couldn't stab it), and the other boys got mint-oreo with half a scoop each of Sam's rejected chocolate. I boldly requested a sample of their peppermint ghost chili, despite knowing full well I had no intention of getting anything there. It was good, though less spicy than I'd have anticipated. 

Last night, they stayed home for a movie night that involved Domino's pizza (practicing to be stoner college kids already!) and a movie that made everyone cry. Gramma Pam can pick 'em! But I think they cried in a good way. Maybe. They're emotionally erratic little boys after all. Maybe they felt the humor was stale or the underlying Capitalist message was offensive to their socialist underpinnings. Not quite sure. 

I am equally unsure what today holds in store, except that I'll be undergoing a CLE this afternoon. I'd previously speculated that this would ensure today would be my big day to go into labor, but I don't really think I'm going to after all. My body at least isn't giving any warning signals. Then again, as Psych pointed out to me, I could just any day wander into a food truck, break some water and give birth on a hamburger bun within five minutes and before the commercial break. Only time will tell!

When in Romaine, Do as the Canary Lettuce Do: Baby Bear's Big Swagged Out Whoopee

In Week 35 of gestation-a-go-go-go, rattles and mortal coils coughed out from a feeble treadmill less (recently) traveled, but final hail mary's promised reprieve. Belly battles against the intransigence of inanimate objects amplified and turned soapy. Honeydew chickens roasted a little less, as the heatwave o'Hades notched it back a few. Expectant parents wrapped themselves in togas and paraded through households with eensy animals to pass the final countdown month, while veteran mommas attired themselves in infantry. The ghosts of babies past reminded mom-to-be of the gigantic blub the lay behind and possibly in store, while men in tights once more tackled the ornery Pyrenees for glory. 

As the months turn to 9 out of 9 (knock on wood), inanimate enemies loom, perched on surfaces and looking for belly bursts. Harmonics are honed in a Midsummer Day's Meeting while maternity matures in a blaze of hisses and hums. Showers of wealth and generosity nearly flood out a happy and harried couple of preparing pre-parents. Canary melons fly over the Cantaloupe towards a final countdown of mucuousy proportions. And competitions heat up on distant mountaintops to ward off the hormonal napalm.

Thuper Duper Throes of Thursday
We're at the penultimate day of the week in the middle week of July. How the heck did that happen? The Ides of July already past in a celebratory blur (yesterday was slated to be the first day of a truly awful trial that implausibly settled a few weeks ago, so yesterday was quite a party day). Gestational weeks ticking by towards the irreversible term! Even tomorrow, another appointment to check on fancy pre-labor words like dilation and whatnot. And nope, I didn't find time on my own time to get my last thyroid test. Whoops. I guess I'll have to sneak out later today.

In a week, my sister and nephews will be arriving in a glorious caravan of craziness. That will also be the beginning of the "term birth" window, a date etched in my brain for months despite the ongoing uncertainty of any particular woman's birthing period.

Good timing, I think! I figure that it would be very instructional for all the little nephews to help out with a live birth. Plus, what would be more "natural" than dropping my solo-litter lovely right in the backyard of my mom's house while little boys play soccer and wrestle about me? 

Birthing Position # 201: Assisted Nephew Squat

Or maybe I'll wait until they take their week up in Canada with Grandpa Ian. I hear kids under 12 aren't allowed in the birthing center anyways (gee, darn!)

In a day, the uber aunties are back for a brief spell before going to that same island in Canada. Basically people come to Bellingham as a jumping off point to accompany Papa T to Canada.

 But this is good. It's a little bit of a "final crunch" weekend and I'm feeling a wee bit overwhelmed with how much is left for the happy-harried couple to do in ratio to how little time there is to do it. 

On the domestic front things go tres bien, inasmuch as our main focus has been pretty exclusively Le Tour de France. It's just moved into the mountains and the real competition is heating up. Literally. It's like 31 degrees celsius there. Which I believe is metric code for 4 gallons? Something like that.

 I meanwhile am cooling down in tank tops and with the a/c blaring, but the weather has offered a more than welcome period of "normal PNW summer" for my delectation. Not supposed to last into the weekend - a weekend threatening yet another hot spell - but I'll take the days on tap with a refreshing smack of my lips and a slightly more human tinge to my rubicund cheeks. Hell, I even managed to leave the a/c off yesterday. It was miraculous! Forget birth. Weather that doesn't kill me: that's the true miracle. 

Of course the domestic guerrilla warfare continues, particularly by the side of the sink. I'm learning to be wary of surfaces and check countertops first before moving too near to them. But I still am ensnared from time to time by these stealth tummy jabbers. 

And yes, since I shared a photo previously of my enormous belly that may have taken advantage of angles to make said belly look as large as it currently feels (roughly the size of Luxembourg), this is what I'm actually rocking right now. 

Basically, yes, I'm one of those creepy looking ladies who can look entirely unpregnant and somewhat lean from a variety of angles, but then turns to reveal an enormous pod extruding from her midsection. I'm all baby belly, baby! Mostly. I hear there's some amniotic fluid and crushed internal organs squishing around somewhere in there as well. And no, no I do not intend to take any artsy black and white nudes of myself with my palms over my udders and a coy turn to the camera... camera selfies are hard enough here. 

And today is the second day of no-trial celebration. Unlike yesterday, we are actually taking appointments today after a wonderful catch up day of semi-open yesterday. We got enough done yesterday that I think we're in good stead to finish the week on par if never quite ahead. 

And very good news (knock on wooden treadmill desk): the supposedly crucial replacement part to my death rattlin' treadmill arrived yesterday. It was rather crucial that such part appear before our "repair appointment" scheduled for "sometime Friday." Hopefully now that there's a part to add to the mix, the guy will actually look at my treadmill and make sure there's nothing else up with it. In the meantime, who doesn't love the chaotic rattle of a rapidly deteriorating hamster wheel in the morning mellow? 

Nobody. Nobody doesn't love these things nohow!

Babylution Numbah Nine: The Final Countdown

Thirty-six weeks for me and the little belly creature. That is, in case we're keeping score "late preterm" and/or "the last week before TERM" And term is code for "holy shizolla, any second now... or several weeks... nature works in mysterious ways, but still... really... have you packed the damned go bag for the hospital yet??" 

Since I actually know several people who gave birth in their 36th week, I'm a little more attuned this week. And my body is starting to get ready. I haven't hit the checklist of "am I in labor" signs, yet. But the body is definitely adjusting. 

Incidentally those signs are: 

1. Losing your mucus plug - Well I'm losing everything else these days, so what else is new. I'm sure it's somewhere very logical. Likely in the freezer next to my long lost kindle, or maybe in some filing cabinet at work. My apologies to anyone who might find that. I don't envy you.  

2. The Lightening! Greased lightnin'! Whooo. That's right, I'm about to drop a baby here folks. And/or the baby will soon be going from squeezing out my lungs and tummy in order to more effectively engage herself in a non-stop onslaught against my beleaguered bladder. With bonus points for quick shots at other pelvic pressure points. Because walking around like a sodden penguin on her walk of shame - and occasionally jumping at some less than sensual "down there" jolting - truly is the miracle of life. 

3. Nesting energy. Whatever. I think this is all placebo and panic. Women go nuts cooking and cleaning and baking because they realize that nobody else is gonna do it once the little beast has burst free. Maybe I'll find that afflatus in the final countdown, but I'm still more inclined to hide out in my roost and squawk. 

4. Discharge. We won't get too descriptive here, but it may soon come in colors and provide a bloody scary show there old chap! Hopefully with a little instructional map to finding that darned misplaced mucus plug. 

5. Stronger better than before 6 million dollar contractions! That come at regular intervals and get worse over time. But before that you'll have several days of ambiguous contractions that may really feel real but aren't really. Not really. 

6. Broken water. And no, not even duct tape can put that water back together once it's burst. Of course with the increased need to urinate every five minutes as the little belly creature's head continues to swell right into it, who can say for sure? I guess some people can. We shall see. 

Anyways, there are probably more signs. Like a baby emerging from between your legs. That's a fairly clear one. 

But I probably do have some time before that occurs. Probably. Maybe. Knock on wood. Regardless of the weird thoughts I have while half asleep and toe-deep in a dream about being in labor. 

But before we go there, oughtn't we check in on the little belly beast herself? 

This week she's apparently either a casaba melon, a canary melon (chirp chirp), or a head of romaine lettuce. 

I've never experienced a canary melon. They are apparently sweet, but tangier than a cantaloupe. And to my knowledge they believe that their reflection is actually another canary melon. Canary melons are also bright yellow, confirming that my baby would likely have mild jaundice if she were born this week. 

In theory she's up to nearly 6 pounds and maybe around 18 inches long. She's going to continue to get fatter for a little while. I apparently may not expect to do so, although I have had such minimal weight gain to this point, a little belated catch up may be in order (and given my increase in size, I'd even warrant likely). 

Where's my weight theoretically going if she's getting heavier? Well, she's shedding lanugo still so that she can instead be covered in waxy vernix. Both of these will kind of mix into her amniotic ambrosia and be major components of the delightful meconium mix on our parental horizons. The fluid she isn't drinking is probably slowly being reabsorbed. Or stocked up for some dramatic "my water just broke!" scene in some madcap and awkward place just rife for comedic hijinks (I have learned from tv that this is always where and how one's water will break). 

Anyways, she's otherwise doing swell. Wait, I'm the one swelling. She's almost fully developed in every relevant way, but with a dodgier digestive system than she might have in a little while. 

And she may be getting cramped in there, but she's plenty happy to keep up her deconstruction work on my remaining abdominals in between her mexican bladder dances (La Cucaracha can no longer walk because if she moves, her non-water- water will burst).

As for me? I'm on my way to yet another exciting (nonstop) OB appointment! I'm kind of excited in a sick way for my very first (cringe boys, cringe in horror at the lady words!) cervical check. Oh and some kind of swabbing of my 'nether decks to check for Strep-B. If I am positive for that, then I need to come in earlier in my labor in order to get a big bag of antibiotics. Harmless to mommy but a problem for little babies I guess. 

And I totally got my "mom-friend" preview on earlier this week. That's right, social butterfly that I'm not (more like battered moth) I met up with some other recent mothers for a lunch at Terra Organica. Facebook, damn you but once again you become a ubiquitous cog in the mechanisms of my active social support network. They all had their babies already sprung, but let me tag along as an honorary "almost there."

While there, I saw many bosoms and baby mouths, was assured that I had no idea what sleep deprivation truly was until the baby is born (but it will be worth it), got the lowdown on the challenges of cloth diapers, and discovered that eating a bag of baby carrots is even better when you steal another mother's extra plate of sushi ginger and wasabi. This mom hadn't eaten all day so she ordered roughly an ocean's worth of sushi which she then could not finish. 

We also began the comparing of notes about activities women with little babies could actually pursue. Next week - should the creature appropriately bide her time - I will be attending my very first "babywearing ballet" class. Technically most of the attendees will be wearing their babies on the outside, but I'm going for the more natural kangaroo approach personally.

Oh and today I'm having coffee (where coffee is code for "some sort of ingestible or potable that serves as an excuse to be in a location with another person for a certain spell of time) with a gal who's right around the same timeframe as I am. Maybe that's why I have no energy for nesting. Socializing is exhausting (if worth it), but I want to start reaching out before the baby is born and I'm too exhausted to do anything but isolate myself in a hermitage with the little creature. 

Not that I could isolate myself. I'll be buried in family soon! First my aunties tonight. Then my sister and her brood next week through the first part of August. Then the (W)rights will be dropping in mid-cruise. And I'm always surrounded by my parents of course. Thank goodness their dogged work ethic means that they tend to instinctively set to work helping out without waiting for so much as a "hi could you possibly..." or asking much of anything in return. I am so spoiled. 

And soon I'll be in a waiting room with baby radar ablaze, waiting several hours in what's likely an overheated lobby with several other preggers waiting for their checkups. Excitement!!

Happy Friday folks! Legs crossed for at least another week for me and fingers crossed for all y'all to be having a wonderful weekend kick-off.

Miniature Monkeys and the Fabulous Weekend of Wanton Generosity

Well, that warm glow I'm feeling spread across my scarlet cheeks might be due to the resurgent heat in our region, but some of it has got to be that ooey gooey gratitude for yet more affirmation of my incredible support network. This was represented in food, of course. And, well, swag. Er, I mean tokens of love and excellent taste. 

Yesterday I became the proud trustee of a genuine+Miniature Monkey Creations infant companion. He is, by the way, roughly the length of my little belly creature. Although I suspect she weighs more at this point. Nonetheless, it may well explain why I suddenly feel quite enormous. Cramming 18-20 inches of sock or belly creature into that abdominal area is quite the venture. Even discounting any remaining internal organs that might be hanging in there. Belly creature also received a luxe and lavish baby blanket, made by hand by people far more talented than me.

And to receive these grand gestures, I got to mostly wait around for +Ann G to brave the various vagaries of I-5's temper tantrums and make it up to Bellingham past an overturned gravel truck and 23 vehicles that had been crushed underneath. Oh, and eat Mexican Food in an appropriately air conditioned eatery. It is so hard being me these days! 

Little belly beast was something of an ingrate and continued her pattern of gaslighting mommy by being stomach-burstingly active every minute that somebody else was not trying to feel her movements, at which time she hides behind the placenta snickering quietly until they stop trying, at which point her made hiccups take over and make mommy's belly ripple like fudge in ice cream. Ah well.

Not to be outshone, the uber-aunties returned this weekend for a Panda Palace dinner, a ridiculous lavishing of baby booties, mommy sockies, and cute Quebecois stuffed animals.

They were in town for the weekend before heading up to Canada with my dad, so we got to see them on Friday night (after they braved a prior spell of heinous traffic - because the I-5 corridor between Seattle and Bellingham is god's punishment to mankind for their many vehicular transgressions) and came by to check out the condo/nursery on Saturday. Maggie is looking to get back into cycling, so she and Andrew mostly disappeared for several hours while Andrew began the process of identifying the absolutely perfect bike for her. After a lengthy consultation and an additional thirteen hours of mulling, he has figured it out. I believe she will find a bonafide email with his perfectly honed recommendation. 

Today the flood of generosity is holding steady with the levees, while Andrew and I attempt to cram in our mundane weekend tasks, a full Tour de France binge, and even some discussion of the looming labor. I made Andrew test drive an assisted seated squat with me yesterday. Basically I kind of hang off his lap with my arms around his neck like a monkey. I like it.

Our book is fun. I'm hoping to get into more of it so I can discover more ways to remind myself that it's the good kind of pain. Like Tour de France finishing uncategorized climb and I'm a breakaway of one with enough of a window to make it to the finish line if I just keep digging, and maybe I'm French on Bastille Day! Or Jens Voit! I'm Jensie and my legs can just shut up! Like that. Except possibly with more blood and fewer crazy fans in costumes tossing urine at me and accusing me of doping my way through natural childbirth. 

Something like that. Today, it's back to tending my always tenuous balance between wanting to get a lot done and avoiding all heat in a big ice-cocoon of air conditioning. What will win out? Only time will tell. 

I'm guessing the cocooning though. Unless our downstairs kitchen suddenly turns into a walk-in cooler. Which would change everything!

Perhaps the Final WCP Meeting Minute Snippets (Definitely before Adella's self-proclaimed maternity leave from her secretarial duties!)

Believe it or not, members attended this Midsummer's Day Dream of a Meeting! Athenian exchange youths stirred up merriments, and turned melancholy forth to the offices where emails snowballed in pomp! A few members had run off into the Athenian woods and fallen in thrall with donkeys and various litigious ensnarements over changeling boys. But those who were present were fully so and ready to collaborate the heck out of that soft summer's afternoon. 

In the spirit of Make New Friends and Keep the Old (mmmm girl scout cookies... yes please to a samoa tagalog sandwich with chips and coleslaw please), members celebrated a summery breezy (thanks to Adella's insistence on bringing portable fans to throw tempests towards her torrid visage) summer session with a halloo to our long term members while also welcoming the new.

Golden Members Present:

24 Karat Gold Members Present:

Honorary Golden Trinkets of the Neonatal Sort: The bizarre flailing creature in Adella (a/k/a the penguin-waddler) Wright's protruding abdomen. After some denials, a swift graduation to the "any day now" nine month period has officially come with enough of a waddle and some actual maternity clothes. Members may now comfortably confirm and allow that she is, in fact, particularly parturient at the moment and we have a new semi-member in our midst.

Belly-creature, also known as "The Fonz" due to her propensity for thumbs up gestures during ultrasounds, enjoys the following activities: head-butting nearby bladders; kicking back amniotic cocktails with her feet up (and poised to strike the diaphragm); going completely still and hiding behind the placenta tittering whenever her daddy attempts to feel her through mommy's stomach;  and bopping to the steady creaky hum of her mother's busted treadmill. Her favorite color is "dark but with various shades of light. And her favorite music is the mix of King FM and her mother's gushing ranting self-talk disguised as "bonding with baby!" Belly-creature already has an extensive vocabulary of archaic obscenities and enjoys hearing her Gramma Pam stage hissing the content of highly charged emails to her fingers just out of volume required for actual comprehension. Her long term plans involve teasing her parents with several false starts to the labor process, squishing her own head into a cone shape, producing a glorious meconium (don't ask), suckling anything nearby, vomiting onto her adorable little onesies, and crying loudly between long naps. 

She looks forward to future Collaborative Cases with Lord Jared and his babysitter. 

II. Visions, Goals, and Difficult Imaginary Conversations.

Ou fearless president charged ahead to our next item of business. Way back in the Wayback Machine, we The Never Bored Board had a dream. And that particular dream did not involve showing up to high-school band practice in nothing but bunny slippers, a Mickey Mouse life jacket, and one pink star earring. No, the dream in reference was a series of visions for the 2015 WCP year. And those visions came with attendant action plans. 

And the group heard them. And the group saw that they were good (albeit lacking the cooshy cozy warmth of those bunny slippers). As the season slips by into the big halftime show (Katie Perry, really?), we began to revisit these goals and reflect on the steps we have taken towards our dreams.

And where better to begin than at the ooey gooey center of vulnerability, trust, and all those delightful things achieved only through a certain modicum of discomfort. 

As our training approaches, the devilish tritone of false harmony resonates with us as a heavy barrier towards our final goal. When working collaboratively, the intention for this year is to really develop relationships of trust and connection within our teams. When the team truly supports itself, the ability to move the people through the process is very different than when there are unspoken issues within the team. 

At our April meeting Laura and Roy demonstrated giving the honest feedback that breaks through false harmony like the People's Elbow through Shane McMahon's office window. The experience was pretty amazing, we all agreed. 

They opened up to each other in front of us. Tackled difficult issues. Made plans for working together in the future. And Roy totally got Laura to admit she was like totally wrong, before doing a happy dance and singing nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah with his thumbs in his ear and fingers pointing in her direction. No wait, I mean, they had a really open and frank conversation that put them in good stead for future collaboration. And nobody died or even cried. Much. ...

... And speaking of the outside world, the iron tongue of  midnight hadst told twelve, our ballgowns turned to rags and our coaches to pumpkins, and we were all thrust back into the offices with all those looming emails and responsibilities. A hungry Jared roared, and the belly creature howled at the moon, whilst the not-so-heavy sitter snored, all with weary task fordone. 

No epilogue, we pray you; for that meeting needs no excuse

But if Collaborative Shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended, that you have but slumbered here, while all these discussions did appear. And this grand collaborative theme, no more yielding than a dream. Gentles do not offend, if bunny slippers can but mend.  And, as we flow with honest pluck, our cases earned with lots of luck. Now to 'scape the litigator's tongue, we will make amends ere long. Else the pluck a liar call; so good day unto you all. Give me your emojis if we be colleagues, and let us restore intrigue!

Preggo Pointy-Things Skirmish: Number 2001 

I'm getting clever now in my ongoing domestic battle of the bulging belly. That belly, mind you, has not a mite of protective blubber on it, but quite a bit of skin stretched to the point of snapping over a spelunking little belly creature who is raring to get out and take on these pointy objects herself. She'll get her chance. Maybe that's why babies and toddlers are always grabbing and throwing things. Maybe it's revenge for the indignities suffered in utero! 

I have avoided the sponge handle several days in a row at this point. Since I tend to grope my way through the house (now that we're finally actually having nights again) in crepuscule, I have previously been vulnerable to such booby traps, but once I reach the kitchen, I am prepared! Light on. Move the sponge! Check the rest of the countertop area. Clear anything remotely near the edge. Begin my day... probably by placing several things near the rim of the counter. But at least I started off on the right foot. And the left foot. Both of my feet, really. That's pretty impressive for me, I'd say!

Of course the physical battles are crisp quinces compared to the hormonal bio-warfare my own body wages on me. This morning, for instance, has been a fairly full scale attack of hoary hormones. No weeping, though I feel that sort of vergingly weepy that precludes the sort of energy required to actually get all emotional. I just feel weary and defeated (damn you sponge!) and completely demotivated at the moment. 

 I'm not too bothered by it, if that makes any sense. I know it's irrational. I'm actually having a great week so far. My treadmill appears to be (knock on wood and make several offerings to mighty Skynet) functioning as normal again. I was very productive yesterday. Today should be a fun day with plenty of opportunities to bail on several social activities. The weather is cooling down again for a spell. I had a very pleasant evening with the hubba-hubby watching a rousing stage of Le Tour...

Maybe that's what it is. Poor Peter Sagan. Peter Sagan is one of my favorite cyclists. He's a bit of a green-jersied fish out of water (on a bicycle). The Tour kind of cycling typically has several categorical areas into which a cyclist falls. There are the general contenders - think Lance Armstrong, but without the river of steroids. They are usually lighter and lankier, and rely on the support of their team members to win the overall. This can be done without ever winning a race, since it's a matter of time over three weeks.

There are the "climbers" (they race for points on the biggest mountains to get a polka dot jersey). There are the sprinters. They are larger, heavier and more powerful. They do their magic on the flatter stages, having to be lugged through the mountain stages. They are explosively fast for short spells, and win stages. There are the support guys - many, many of them - whose strengths are specifically protecting the other members on the team from crash, and providing other support in terms of setting the pace, giving draft, and picking up the food and snacks. 

Then there's Sagan. He's heavier than a climber or a general contender. He's got a little less kick than a pure sprinter. He's one of the best bike handlers in the group, and certainly one of the most broadly talented. He can climb mountains. He can sprint... He can do wheelies and funny little dances when he crosses sprint points. But he's not a pure anything, and he just can't seem to find his niche. He wins a certain sprint jersey every year, because he is strategic and strong enough to get many intermediate points. But he is so well marked that he hasn't won a stage since 2013.

Always second, poor guy. Like yesterday, in which he launched some daring attacks, sped down the side of a mountain in a way that could only be magic. But still seconded. If he weren't being paid an obscene salary and always seeming to have a good time, I'd feel bad for the guy. 

And maybe, deep down, I just really do! But probably it's just the hormonal napalm coursing through my throbbing veins. Like a thick layer of morning fog destined to burn off by afternoon. Then again, I do like the fog. Stay with us little misty moodiness, if that's what it takes to decrease the facial flush!

Happy Tuesday all! Keep a watch on those inanimate objects. They are everywhere.