At 30 Seconds

This is not the first time she’s done this, but it’s the first time she’s done it in front of the camera. She did it twice in a row two days ago, but she was VERY ANGRY while doing so. Like, totally ticked off. Never mind doing it in front of the camera. And she did it for her father yesterday morning, but the camera again wasn’t out. So here’s Little Zinger’s debut of her upcoming mobility. It’s bittersweet imagining her rolling onto her back into the sunset already. Pardon the ESPN in the background, though news of the NBA draft maybe helped her.

 

 

Constant Movement

Video title

Baby Girl seemed to know when I picked up the camera. I’d feel her move and want to get it on video, but once I turned the camera on, she became quiet. So I had to be sneaky about it. The camera captured minutes and minutes of stillness, except the 20 seconds or so you see in the video.

The segments you see are in the order they were filmed. Our baby obviously came up with a well-planned storyboard and didn’t depart from it.

I’m sitting sort of slumped back on the couch. Baby Girl moves best and most often when I’m in this semi-reclined position.

Baby Girl quickly warmed up to the idea of another video about her. She insists on the credits being longer than the actual video; sorry about that. She likes seeing her not-yet-decided name rolling up the screen.

The video was fun to make, but I also consider this real documentation, acknowledging our blessings. Besides, it’s important to preserve certain things for posterity and the improvement of the human race.

Our daughter would like you to know the rules for watching this video:

Do NOT:

  • make fun of Mommy’s tummy
  • laugh, unless it’s out of awe and excitement
  • say out loud how cheesy you think it is

Do:

  • watch with the sound on. In Baby Girl’s opinion, the soundtrack is one of the greatest introductions to anything she’s ever heard.
  • watch closely. The movements may look like indistinguishable jiggles, but they’re actually quite distinct.
  • smile a lot
  • be nice

Depending on what Baby Girl wants, she may post more videos in the coming weeks.

Enjoy.

The 20-Week Picture Thingy

We pull in to the parking lot about 30 minutes early. We enter the medical plaza, look at a map of the grounds, find the imaging center, and head in that direction. Reilly walks beside me on my right. We pass through a long corridor and glance into other offices. They look crowded.

This is the longest hallway in the history of the universe. I find myself tearing up a little. I switch my water bottle to my left hand and ask Reilly if he wants to hold my hand. He grabs my hand and we smile at each other and then I look forward and catch the smile of a woman walking right past us. A brief moment of eye contact. I can’t help thinking that maybe we were cute to her. And that I wouldn’t blame her.

We enter the imaging center. We walk up to the reception desk to check in. The receptionist confirms our address and insurance. Reilly hands her a credit card, which she processes, then she instructs us to sit until someone calls us, which should be in just a few minutes.

The waiting area does not have a lot of people at all. There is a youngish mom with a boy who appears 6 or 7 years old. A man in scrubs calls her soon after we sit down. I wonder if everyone there has to wear the same color scrubs.

There is an elderly couple. The man helps his wife fill out a questionnaire and I hear him say, “Speak honestly.” She looks nervous and self-conscious.

The receptionist comes out with a clipboard. She asks me to sign one of those releases or waivers that has to do with the equipment. With the form signed and dated, she heads back into the reception area.

There is an elderly man sitting to our right. I notice only two things about the man. He reads a hardcover book about Winston Churchill. He also happens to be wearing khakis whose waistband come to a place on his torso that would seem beyond fashion or even comfort.

The waiting room television plays at the perfect volume for a waiting room. One of those local news panels (that come on after the actual news) is talking about hair color. One of the ladies thinks that blonde is the most popular hair color in Utah, because she sees blonde hair all the time. But one of the men says that brunette is actually more popular. The ladies look surprised. I ask Reilly why they’re still talking about this, because they have been talking about it since we sat down. Which hasn’t even been for five minutes.

A lady in scrubs swings open a door and calls out my name. Reilly and I then walk toward this lady and follow her through the door. We follow her through another door with a plastic sign that says “Ultrasound in Progress.” After we enter she closes the door.

The lady is the ultrasound tech. She instructs us to put our things on the far counter. I put away my purse and take off my coat and cardigan. The tech dims the lights then tells me to lie down, so I step onto the stool next to the bed because there is no other way to get onto the bed without looking like a sea lion flopping her way onto shore.

I lie on the bed, which is covered in a long sheet of that hospital paper. I feel a little bit like a kindergartner during one of those activities where you draw around each other’s bodies. I rest my head on the pillow and the tech asks me questions about due date and miscarriage history and if this is my first pregnancy. At this point the tech notices that I’m looking straight up at the ceiling and asks if I need another pillow. I stack the pillows so that I can comfortably see the television screen.

Reilly sits in a chair to the left of the bed. He hasn’t talked. He watches.

The tech asks me to bare my tummy. She tucks towels above and below the bump then squeezes a generous amount of ultrasound gel on it. I smile and say that I like when the gel is warm.

The tech asks if we have any guesses. Reilly says not really. I say that friends and family have a lot of guesses, and I ask her if she’s seen more of one gender than another. She says she’s seen more boys, but there have been girls, too. That’s a weird answer, but I do not tell her this. We’re excited, either way.

Reilly notices the tech is ready to begin. He stands up and looks at the screen.

The tech gets to work and discovers the gender pretty quickly. An image appears on the screen and she asks again if we have any guesses. It takes us a bit too long to figure out what we’re looking at, so we say no. She points out three little lines, which means that Baby is a girl.

GIRL.

Tears begin to fill my eyes, but I make myself talk. I say that’s great. I look up at Reilly and say that we’re having a girl!

Heartbeat: 137 bpm.

The tech comments how strong the legs look. I often tell Reilly that my calves are strong because I’m short and I have to tippy-toe all the time. Maybe Baby inherited this.

Throughout the session we laugh, and as she takes all the necessary measurements, the tech giggles about how cute Baby Girl is: her profile, the way she moves her arms, positions her legs; her nostrils, lips, chin.

Aww.

AWW.

The tech views and points out several angles that further confirm that Baby is a girl. She laughs when Baby Girl seems to move away from the pressure of the monitor-wand thingy and puts her arms in front of her face and wants to be done with it all.

AWWWWW!!!

Reilly is going to make a wonderful father to our daughter.

GIRL! GIRL GIRL GIRL GIRL GIRL GIRL GIRL! YAY!

I coo and “aww” more in that half hour than the rest of my whole life.

Mom’s Birthday

Do you know my mom? You should. Everyone should. She’s great. She’s been great all her life, and she’ll probably keep being great, because once you’re great, there’s no point in stopping. I don’t think she’d even know how to stop.

This is my mom:

Young Mom

Super cute, right? I don’t know how old she is in the photo, but I’ll guess late teens or early 20s.

Here’s a photo of mom and me. I like the way she appears to be adoring me:

Wedding day

But today isn’t about me; it’s about my mom. Today’s my mom’s birthday. She was born in the Philippines in a tiny town in the middle of the 20th century. After 8 siblings. She was 9th out of 10 children total.

I am taller than my mom. This shows how unselfish she is, how she doesn’t have to be at the forefront of every situation. I really admire how my mom knew to stand back and let me be taller.

Just because I’m taller does not mean that I am stronger. My mom has amazing upper body strength. And since she watched a lot of Bruce Lee movies while I was growing up, I know that she can use her compact body to force a thunderous fist to send me crashing through a wall if I ever provoked her. My mom has worked hard her whole life, and the result of that is a wonderful balance of brute strength and endearing gentleness.

My mom also pounded rice when she was a kid. My brother and I attribute most of her strength to this traditional chore. Here is a short video of some villagers pounding rice. I don’t know if this is the way my mom did it. I remember a bowl carved in a log and then the poles you see in the video are used to pound the rice.

Of course she’ll give you what you deserve. She won’t let you walk all over her or disrespect her. She won’t hesitate to lecture you if you’re being a jerk. She’s learning Spanish, and one of her favorite phrases is to tell you to kiss her butt.

And if you deserve a hug, she’ll give you one. If you need a hug, she can tell and will give you one. And even if you don’t feel like you’re doing anything to deserve it, she will raise you with your best interests in mind and make sacrifices so that you can have wonderful opportunities and encourage you in every way to be happy. She will love you with more energy and effort than you think is possible coming from any one person. Which is what she has done for me.

Happy birthday, Mom.

Another Library Sale or, I Love Sharing Books!

The last one we attended was in October 2011. We weren’t married then. Weird.

We tried giving ourselves a $10 limit–$20 total, but the library had so much good stuff this time. (I must say that I only chose enough books to spend $7.50. SOMEBODY’s restraint needs to be checked. But also take note that I didn’t object too strongly to Reilly’s choices. See below.)

We took inventory of this year’s loot. We picked up a few duplicates of books we already have, but we’re replacing the ugly copies with cooler ones. Also, I’ m sorry about the capitalization. Reilly read the titles to me for me to type quickly, and I didn’t want to have to think about which letters in an author’s name got the capital treatment in addition to spelling the authors correctly. Yes, in other words, I got lazy. But at least I italicized the titles. Know that all titles have conventional capitalization.

Reilly’s shelving the books right now. I’m off to look over a friend’s master’s thesis. This is our relationship.

  1. angelou    maya    i know why the caged bird sings
  2. austen    jane    persuasion
  3. banks    russell    cloudsplitter
  4. bellow    saul    collected stories
  5. benoit    pierre    l’ile verte*
  6. boccaccio    giovanni    the decameron
  7. byatt    a.s.    possession*
  8. chabon    michael    summerland
  9. de maupassant    guy    short stories*
  10. de troyes    chretien    arthurian romances
  11. dillard    annie    an american childhood*
  12. eco    umberto    the name of the rose
  13. enger    leif    peace like a river*
  14. erdrich    louise    beet queen
  15. faulkner    william    collected stories
  16. frazier    charles    cold mountain
  17. gilmour    david    the film club
  18. hardy    thomas    the collective novels, volume 2
  19. hernandez    amado v    rice grains*
  20. irving    john    trying to save piggy sneed
  21. jackson    shirley    come along with me
  22. kingsolver    barbara    pigs in heaven
  23. kingsolver    barbara    the lacuna
  24. kingsolver    barbara    the bean trees
  25. lahira    jhumpa    the namesake
  26. lamott    anne    crooked little heart
  27. lecasble    guillaume    lobster
  28. lehane    dennis    coronado
  29. lessing    doris    the memoirs of a survivor
  30. mann    thomas    the magic mountain
  31. nemirovsky    irene    sweet francaise
  32. oates    joyce carol    we were the mulvaneys
  33. oates    joyce carol    black water
  34. ondaatje    michael    divisadero
  35. ondaatje    michael    the cat’s table
  36. pasternak    boris    doctor zhivago
  37. rousseau    jean-jacques    le contrat social*
  38. saarikoski    pentti    poems*
  39. saramago    jose    seeing
  40. saramago    jose    the double
  41. saramago    jose    the gospel according to jesus christ
  42. smith    zadie     on beauty*
  43. smith    zadie     white teeth*
  44. smith    betty    a tree grows in brooklyn
  45. sontag    susan    volcano lover
  46. thayer hamann    hilary    anthropology of an american girl
  47. twain    mark    a connecticut yankee in king arthur’s court

*Titles I chose.

New Year’s Reduction

86,400 seconds starts over at midnight. That’s the way it worked 366 times last year, and on the 367th time, another year began.

We’ve had a recurring — or maybe chronic — problem that’s carried over from last year. Yesterday came and went uneventfully enough, but it’s taken all the energy I have to not tell today to suck it. Truth is, though, it could be worse. It could always be worse.

It’s symbolic for a lot of people: A new year, a new leaf, a new resolve. I’m not guiltless; I start thinking about resolutions months ahead, probably around the 25 billionth second of each year.

I don’t start a lot of new things, though. I carry over a lot of things from the previous year, much like the way the seconds tick forward.

1. There’s this concept called Clearing to Neutral that I find very useful, because it helps me enjoy waking up, cooking, going to work, and keeping my friends. It helps me avoid the stress of procrastination. I’ve applied this concept to most of my life, but I consciously want to implement it in other areas, such as laundry, vacation planning, and my non-introvert social skills. Let’s hope I can use it to ease some of my social anxiety.

2. I wake up every morning with the intention to read my scriptures, and I go through phases where I’m really diligent, but other times I just go to friends’ websites where they contemplate the scriptures. They do the thinking for me. It’s time to stop piggybacking. The youth Sunday School curriculum is new this year. It aligns more with the way I prefer to study the scriptures. I think I’ll use it, because this change seems a cute little tender mercy.

3. So, maybe 37 books last year is the most I’ve read in a year since 3rd grade, when I read 40 50-page books in a month to get a free personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut. I’d like to continue the trend (not the 3rd grade one). I don’t know how many books I’ll read this year, but a goal of at least 30 pages a day seems reasonable. Some days I’ll read more, but 30 is the hard minimum, even if it takes up to 3600 seconds.

4. They say more reading makes better writing, so I’m going to push writing as well. This does not include writing that is related to work. No, thank you (except that I really enjoy writing for work (see #1 above)). Well, do I write at least 30 minutes or 300 words a day? Sometimes I write as slowly as I read (or vice versa), so I’ll just give myself the flexibility of going between those parameters.

5. Sometimes if I’ve been sitting for a long time, my lower back gets stiff and it hurts to stand up. That makes me feel old. I do not like that feeling. I like feeling limber and spry, so I’ll be stretching my body 5-10 minutes every day. Not only will that help loosen my joints, it will help me feel younger in other ways, other married-activity, hubba-hubba ways.

Other things, like being kinder, smiling at old people, removing clutter, being an awesome wife, only cussing 3 times a day — those go without saying more than the five things I’ve mentioned. But they also help me to keep from telling days like today to suck it, as much as days like today deserve it. The seconds — 86,400 of them — will tick into tomorrow, and we all get to start again. Who needs new years? We have brand new days.

I Saw Hilary Hahn Tonight

A review of the concert with the Utah Symphony at the de Jong Concert Hall is coming soon. I’ll be a guest reviewer over at my friend’s music and interview blog, The Glass.

In the meantime, a few pictures:

Here is Hilary Hahn’s autograph:

Here I am talking to Hilary Hahn. She appears to be listening intently:

Here is Hilary Hahn laughing at something I said. Believe it or not, I made her laugh on purpose. This is what happens when you put two charming people near each other:

YOU GUYS.

She was so wonderful and cool, and of course charming, and I was SO starstruck.

More to come.