Thursday, March 22, 2018


"Begin therefore from little things. Is a little oil spilt? A little wine stolen? Say to yourself, 'This is the price paid for apathy, for tranquility, and nothing is to be had for nothing.'"

--Epictetus (This is One Art! Was Bishop reading Epictetus?)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


A sprained knee and skinned elbow (both tennis) plus pregnancy equals old, tired, stiff body.

Unpopular Opinions

I immensely dislike Mr. Rogers. He gives me the creeps. I need to find out a way to block him so he never shows up on the internet that comes up on my computer.


MSI demands pregnancy details, so here they are. But I might recommend skipping this post. In a word, I was sick, sick, sick. 

I knew I was pregnant very, very early for this child. I could see a very light, barely there second line at 9 days post ovulation. I felt the implantation cramps. I felt ever so slight nausea soon after seeing the second line. And I could smell EVERYTHING, including the ink from my pen (without holding it up to my nose). And the hormones--Francisco asked what was up with me all week. I was possibly grumpy before I had a pregnancy to blame it on. 

Pregnancy is awful--nausea, uber-grumpiness, uber-tiredness. Why did I sign up for this again? And thinking about the next three years, well--that just puts me deeper in the dumps. Not that I don't like my kid, but when I don't have energy to take care of him, our relationship is not at its finest. Kind, forbearing husband. 

​6 weeks

It's so confusing to be soooo uninterested in food. Food is so off-putting, but I know it will make me feel better, so I spend all my time trying to want food. And not wanting it.

7 weeks

Definitely more nauseau this time around, and starting in like the 4th week. I've already lost a couple of pounds because who can eat when you feel like this? 

I've noticed that the less like food something is, the more likely I'll be able to get my body to choke it down. You know--mac and cheese from a box, etc. Not good for my digestion. Also grapefruit. 

8 weeks

I wanted food for the first time in a month. What a great feeling!
​Still nauseous, but the worst in terms of food aversions seems to have passed--some food my mom makes for me even tastes good. And I occasionally crave Chex Mix!​

9 weeks

Starting to feel a little less nauseous! Down six pounds. So cold. 

11 weeks (tomorrow)

Had my first appointment with a midwife. She couldn't hear the heartbeat with the doppler, so we had an ultrasound. I don't believe in unnecessary ultrasounds, but how joyful and emotional to see our little baby--she looked huge and wiggled around for us. We could see her heart beating. The whole time I'm pregnant I feel like s*&%, I'm losing weight but thickening around my middle--I know there's a baby in there. But all the same, you don't really know until you hear that heartbeat, and seeing the baby in there was even better. Incredible. You could even see her little nose. 

Feeling little twitches in my belly. Gas? Baby? 


12 weeks 

I am nauseous all the time and I (obv) hate it. I also hate suffering in silence. I would much rather loudly complain. So this is killing me. I'm taking B6 now three times a day and enough with the pills! Also I think I've lost 8.5 pounds. I'm eating again, so I'm confused. When will the weight loss stop? I promised myself that I'd be more chill this time (and I am!). But boy, my body had better start working the way it's supposed to! 

So much nausea. 

13 weeks

I am showing now when I wear maternity clothes--still hideable when I wear regular people clothes. But I would really just rather not hide it and look like I am gaining weight. Stupid workplace politics. I guess soon I simply won't be able to hide. At mass the other day I wore maternity clothes and Chester started pushing on my belly. I asked him what he was doing and he said, "Pushing it so it isn't so full." I guess we'll have to tell him soon--but we can't tell him before my work people know, because he just might tell them...

14 weeks 

On to maternity clothes. Feeling better--but not yet all the way. 

Stupid belly which doesn't hold up pants with a full-belly panel, and yet doesn't fit comfortably into my old pants. Plus, I have to pee forty times a day, so it's delightful when I have to maneuver the belly band around. Plus, I'm worried that when teaching some part of my pregnancy gear that isn't supposed to is showing. Why can't I find half-panel pants? (My favorite.) Why are warm work clothes so freaking difficult to find? 

We told Chester about the baby. Francisco said, "There's a baby in mama's belly." Chester got an excited look on his face and said, "Who is the baby?" (As if it were someone he's already met.)

He asked if the baby could hear him at bedtime and talked to my belly a bit. He said that made the baby so it wouldn't cry. 

15 weeks 

Sometimes I'm over the sickness and sometimes it comes back with a vengeance. 

I told the kid to talk to his brother or sister about what the world is like. He said, "There is air out here, and you breathe it."

Dressing a small bump is torture. Maternity clothes are mostly too big and my regular clothes are mostly too small. I look terrible. I was complaining this morning and the kid said, "Mama, your shirt is pretty. You don't look pengui-- pregrant."

15 weeks, 2 days

I felt the baby for the first time(?)

Heard the heartbeat this morning, and got harassed by the midwife about not gaining weight. I am not taking Zofran. 

16 weeks

Still nauseous. This is is when it stopped for me for the other kid, so I was counting on that :((( Seems worse at work--even though I really like my job--I guess it's still stress? 

I gag or heave basically every time I take a pill, and I take a ton of pills. Some of them to help with the nausea a bit, maybe. 

17 weeks

Taking more drugs. It seems to maybe be helping. Still not Zofran. Stressed about my weight, but doing my darndest not to. This feels familiar. 

We often talk about pregnancy in glowing terms. Throughout this pregnancy, I've been thinking about this article about pregnancy as a battle. It seems far more appropriate. 

I always wondered why they compare the baby to the size of fruit in those things you can read about your baby's development online. And then I read one that--no kidding--compared the baby's size to a gerbil. I strongly prefer the fruit. I don't ever want to imagine a gerbil in my womb.

17.5 weeks

I swear I felt the kid kick. So hard to tell! 

18 weeks

I keep forgetting to wear my seabands to work, so maybe the nausea is easing up? 

Also I HATE HEALTH INSURANCE AND DOCTOR'S OFFICE BILLING AND THEIR COLLUSION. I just found out that I guess prenatal care is no longer considered preventative care and that I first need to meet my deductible and then my health insurance will pay 80% up to my out of pocket max? This is *&^^$%*@. Health insurance has become very expensive catastrophic insurance that basically refuses to pay for anything normal. And I think that this encourages people to avoid care. The whole point of the affordable care act was to encourage people to have access to and use care. I am so mad. Also: unrelated to pregnancy: This article says what I think--that preventative care (though not bad!) will not decrease health costs.
​Francisco and I felt the baby kick together--somehow it's little feet ​kicked low through thin enough skin to be felt this early. It's nice to share--and have someone else tell you you're not imagining digestion or something. Oh, so the baby kicked as soon as I laid down in bed. I grabbed Francisco's hand and stuck it on the spot. And then Francisco leaned down and talked to the baby and the baby kicked when he heard his daddy's voice. 

Still nauseous. Not all the time, but definitely some of the time. I think it gets worse with stress. 

19 weeks

On vacation--the baby liked the vacation--lots of kicking every day and no nausea. We even snorkeled together! 

20 weeks

My ultrasound today was cancelled and moved till tomorrow. It's killing me. But the midwife appointment was fine--for the first time they're positive about my weight gain. 

It's a boy.

I almost couldn't believe it as the ultrasound technician showed us the distinguishing feature. I had been absolutely certain that it was a girl. And I shed some tears on the ultrasound table.

Why do I care so much? I don't think that gender matters much, nor would I want to constrain a child based on gender norms. I shouldn't care.

On the other hand, I am woman-positive and I am much more inspired to encourage women to overcome gender stereotypes. I guess I need to buy the kid a doll and work on this stuff from the other perspective--and focus on raising caring sons.

Aside from the outcome of the ultrasound, this one went a lot better. Last time around laying on my back made me nauseous, and if I remember correctly, the ultrasound tech turned the screen away from me and did her measurements. This time it was great--she showed me everything in detail--the kidneys, every bone, the brain!, the four chambers of the heart, the bladder, the stomach--really everything. 

Monday, March 19, 2018


"O Prince of Peace, to all who receive You, You bring light and peace. Help me to live in daily contact with You, listening to the words You have spoken and obeying them. O Divine Child, I place my hand in Yours; I shall follow You. Oh, let Your divine life flow into me."

"I will go unto the altar of God. It is not myself and my tiny little affairs that matter here, but the great sacrifice of atonement. I surrender myself entirely to Your divine will, O Lord. Make my heart grow greater and wider, out of itself into the Divine Life."

"O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will open before me and I shall meet with peace."

--Edith Stein from I wish I knew where

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Dear Diary, Cayman Islands

Day 1:

I leave our town in Indiana at 3:50 a.m. It is 32 degrees and snowing. In the afternoon, I am at Diana's pool, which is super fancy. Little swinging hamocky chairs, reclined chairs carefully submerged in several inches of water, couches, etc. The sun is wonderful, being alone is wonderful, reading a whole book just for fun (okay, not really--rereading one that MSI and I are planning to write about). But still--a novel!

And hanging out with Diana and her husband and son in the evening is really great. Because of course while being alone is wonderful, one can have too much of it.

Day 2:

First, writing up a review that I just realized was due today. And then driving bravely on the left side of the road through three roundabouts, getting lost twice, hitting the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal every. single. time. and finally making it to a snorkeling beach. I graded and read and snorkeled and took a nap.

There are roosters instead of seagulls on the beach, trying to seduce passersby with their crows. It doesn't really work.

The quiet is amazing. I love reestablishing my old internal dialogue, which sometimes gets muted in the constant action of work and family life. I love to remember myself. Okay, okay--there was also a really annoying woman in the next group of vacationers and when the roosters would really start to get on my nerves, I would go back to snorkeling. And I wasn't totally alone--I brought my baby along and he really likes this trip because he's kicking more than ever.

I got to see lots of different coral and lots of different beautiful fish. Including like 25 yellow striped ones hanging out in a pack underneath some coral. And one scary looking three-feet long, narrow one that glared at me as it went past.

Day 3:

A gift shop to buy something for the kid, the National Gallery for Miss Lassie paintings, the Cultural Center to (unsuccessfully) beg them to let me into her house museum (closed for renovations--has been since the last time I visited about five years ago).

This one isn't by Miss Lassie, but I include it here because I like it a lot. 

And then a rocky beach to snorkel and play in the waves and read. I'm no longer scared to death to drive on the left side of the road.

In the evening: sunset on the beach and fish tacos. And hours and hours of talking with Diana and her husband.

Day 4:

Packed a lunch to eat while we watched the kitesurfers. Afternoon by the pool, grading and dozing. Mass. Dinner and netflix and tea and talking for hours and hours.

Day 5:

Diana made crepes for breakfast and then we relaxed on surfer's beach before packing up and heading to the airport. And in the night--back to freezing Indiana.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Central West End, St. Louis

St. Louis is a great city--and we stayed in a great apartment in the best neighborhood, the Central West End.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Airplane Movies

Don't worry: I was grading while I watched them.

It's been a while since I was on a flight long enough to watch a movie. I enjoyed both of these thoroughly, even if the only device I had with me that would play them was my phone.

Blade Runner 2049

Must rewatch the original. I'm a sucker for this robot stuff. I think that this is the first movie I've ever seen with that actor who is in all the "Hey girl" memes. He's a little too introvertedly emotional for me.

Goodbye Christopher Robin

I didn't anticipate being interested in this film at all: While I love Winnie-the-Pooh, which I experienced first as a parent, I'm not a big biopic fan, nor am I entranced by all things British (except detective shows), plus I heard this was sad. And it was heartbreaking, but I would probably watch it again.

Dad, you *might* like this.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Best inadvertent child-raising book: MacIntyre, Dependent Rational Animals

Sunday, March 4, 2018


After mass this morning, in a city we were visiting, Chester wanted to shake the priest's hand. The priest surprised him with a little green piece of hard candy. I thought, "How sweet" and unwrapped it for the kid as we walked down the steps. Two seconds later he was silently gagging. It was stuck in his throat.

I started googling "what to do with a choking toddler" and then quickly stopped just to comfort him and encourage him to breath and throw it up (he finally did). I mean, I know what to do for a choking baby, and I know more or less what to do for a choking adult, but realized as he was gagging and heaving that I don't really know when being a baby stops and being an adult starts. (I guess, it turns out, from 1-12 is some sort of hybrid between baby and adult choking with recommended treatment after coughing stops being slaps on the back and a sort of Heimlich.)

Anyway, it was the scariest two minutes of my life as he silently gagged and heaved and threw up mucus and finally threw up the candy. Some people standing nearby stood with us; one offered a bottle of water. An old man to whom Francisco had been previously lending his phone to call for a ride was oblivious to the choking child and returned Francisco's cell phone with some pleasantries.

The poor kid was crying and crying and very scared. But a couple of minutes after the candy came loose he was beginning to get back to himself--telling me authoritatively that I shouldn't have given him the candy. (Thanks kid; hindsight is 20-20.) And for the rest of the day we fielded questions about why breathing tubes are next to swallowing tubes. (I told him I didn't know--and suspect that God really screwed that one up. We clearly need two separate throats.)

Anyway, we were reminded today about the fragility of our bodies and of our vulnerability. And are really glad that our kid didn't die of a candy given to him by priest, because that would have just been wrong. And have mutually agreed to stay away from hard candies in the future.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


"You're not eating anything," said Marilla sharply, eying her as if it were a serious shortcoming. Anne sighed.
"I can't. I'm in the depths of despair. Can you eat when you are in the depths of despair?"
"I've never been in the depths of despair, so I can't say," responded Marilla.
"Weren't you? Well, did you ever try to imagine you were in the depths of despair?"
"No, I didn't."
"Then I don't think you can understand what it's like. It's very uncomfortable feeling indeed. When you try to eat a lump comes right up in your throat and you can't swallow anything, not even if it was a chocolate caramel. I had one chocolate caramel once two years ago and it was simply delicious. I've often dreamed since then that I had a lot of chocolate caramels, but I always wake up just when I'm going to eat them. I do hope you won't be offended because I can't eat. Everything is extremely nice, but still I cannot eat."
"I guess she's tired," said Matthew, who hadn't spoken since his return from the barn. "Best put her to bed, Marilla."

--Anne of Green Gables

(My way of saying, if you pray, won't you say one for me? Also: Someone should put me to bed.)

Monday, February 26, 2018

St. Joseph's Oratory

After a long climb up many steps, I remember being seriously disappointed by the inside of St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, especially after its attractive exterior.

My husband made me climb up the many stairs and didn't warn me that what was at the top would be a let down.

The aesthetic is very Metropolis, isn't it?

Anyway, I was at a work dinner the other night, at which St. Joseph's Oratory came up. I asked, Is that the church with the very disappointing interior? And my interlocutor hedged, It depends on your taste.

Really? Is this just a question of taste??