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w May 23, 2006

Food, Glorious Food

My friend in Vancouver was pregnant last year and so has sent back a bunch of the maternity clothes I sent her, as well as some other odds and ends from other women; included in the boxes have been some books, some of which I had read before, others I had only heard about. One of these was Jenny McCarthy's "Belly Laughs"---a quick read that is actually pretty droll; best for first time moms, of course, as are most of the tomes out there, but still an amusing 30 minutes. One thing that did make me literally laugh out loud though was when she talks about hitting the point where food in any shape or form starts looking as good as sex, probably better, given the circumstances. I have to just quote the passage, because it perfectly sums up the deeeeeeeelightful period I seem to be entering:

"...[O]n the TV was the most delicious product I'd ever seen. In fact, it seemed to me to be the best Shake 'N' Bake commercial ever made....And this kind of thing happened almost daily. I would tune into commercials just to see what rang my bell, and that's what I would go hunt down or make my husband go hunt down." BL, p. 45

YOU TELL IT SISTER. I have finally hit the point where I see things advertised, whether in print or on TV and think "Oh YES, that's EXACTLY what I feel like eating." Now, to my credit (I hope), I have not indulged in many, if any, of those cravings. Frankly, I know they're just going to get worse, and I had best be pacing myself. Don't get me wrong, I still ate two fingerswipes of chocolate frosting AND two hard boiled eggs with mustard yesterday, but I think that shows a good deal of restraint, yes?

Actually what really dawned on me yesterday was that I wanted a collection of various "ethnic" grandmas to come and cook whatever cuisine it was that I felt like eating at that exact moment. Yesterday I needed a Babushka. Badly. Why is there not a pierogi stand at the corner? Why does borscht not come frozen at the grocery store? I've gone through Korean cravings (bi bim bap and kim chee), Chinese cravings (hot and sour soup...easier to find than anything else), British ones (scones and toasted cheese taste better when other people make them for you), German cravings (ooh, must butter up the neighbors), Jamaican ones (reason numero uno to be pregnant in Toronto)...well, you get the idea. There are 28 more weeks of this, people, give or take a few days.

On a less hoggish note, even though I have "looked" pregnant for rather a while now (oh, those little second born scamps!), today was the first day I actually felt a proper bump...very small still, very, ah, low down, but there. Of course I had to prod and poke at it, probably causing Peabo to initiate the decades-long whine of "Moooooooooom! Stoooooooooooooop iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!". You know.

My sister calls me this morning to tell me she is headed to the REAL Mystic Pizza. Mystic Pizza! Yeah, I admit it, I love that movie...and I love pizza now, very very much. Why does she torture me? Anyway, that's where we are now. Food, and poking at the fetus.

by Heather Hoffman at 5:56 PM

w May 20, 2006


I told Gene a few minutes ago that I must finally be feeling better, as this is about the first time in probably 6-8 weeks that I've felt like knitting. Seriously. He registered surprise and then said "I didn't realize it was quite that bad...".

Yep. When one's soothing quiet activity sounds like too much effort, it's not so fun. But. I hit 12 weeks on Monday, which may or may not be the end of the first trimester (naturally, three-quarters of what you read says 12 weeks, an eighth says 13 weeks, and an eighth says 14 weeks...I'm going to play the optimistic odds); I am, however, going to stick with the fact that I seem to be feeling better. I still have bouts of nausea, but nothing that makes me feel like all of Satan's minions have decided to inhabit my digestive system. I don't even need to nap during the day anymore, though 9 pm seems to still stay the pumpkining hour.

Have not yet started knitting anything for the Peabo, as I have a couple of projects on the hook already. I figure, baby stuff is pretty tiny and will whip up quickly; I did however cast on a hooded sweater for Bean. The rate I'm going, it probably won't be done until the autumn anyway. It's funny having one kid on the outside and one on the inside...of course I want to make things for Peabo, but right now, it's actually more interesting to start projects for the one I already know. This whole second pregnancy/kid situation has really been a learning experience for me, mostly in a very good way. I'm hopeful that I will be an even more relaxed mom now that it's kind of old hat. That can't be anything but good.

Anyway, I'm sure everyone will be pleased to see an end to the vomiting recaps.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:15 PM

w May 18, 2006


I won't get on my soapbox here about education and testing and all that, y'all have all heard it before I'm sure. Probably after I've had a few glasses of wine, but I will say I was heartened to read this story in Yahoo news today.

Imagine that. Tracking how students GROW over a period of time. Not how they stack up randomly to other groups of students, ignoring changes in demographics or student population or even, wow, how THAT STUDENT IMPROVES OVER TIME.

Have I just heard a grain of sense from the wacked out administration shovelling this education model on us? Obviously it's only a test and if you read closely, Tennessee and North Carolina are given the *option* of tracking students this way, but hey, baby steps.

People often ask me if I will go back to the classroom once the Bean and the Peabo are at an age; I have to say, I'm not sure. I don't know if I can stomach teaching under the current asinine curriculum "standards" and guidelines. While I was teaching, social studies didn't fall under the auspices of "MUST TEST MUST TEST"...but now it has. And the last I heard, you test in 8th grade...but you test everything the kids have learned in 6th AND 7th AND 8th grade. If you aren't familiar with the California social studies regimen, in 6th grade they do Ancient History. In 7th, they do Modern World History. In 8th, they do US History through WWI.

See anything a tad funky with that? Yeah, that's *exactly* what I want to do with 40 minute periods, 6 times a day, with a bunch of hormonal teenagers who can barely sit still long enough to learn the stuff I'm "supposed" to be teaching according to the state friggin' standards. I REALLY want to re-teach 3000 years of world history, oh, and cram US history on top of that.

So the answer is no, I will not be returning to the classroom. Call me a quitter, but I did my time in the trenches, and I simply don't have the patience to endure that mess again. I love teaching. I just hate the public school system. And yes, my kids will go to public school, but I think being a public school PARENT is going to be tough enough without adding public school TEACHER on top of that. I may go get my master's and try to pick up a few part time gigs at the community college level; I'm under no illusion that the students want to learn anything more intensely, but I won't be saddled with the extra folderol that frankly doesn't seem to do much of anything anyway. I had kids in 8th grade who had gone through 8 or 9 years of public schooling in California, not some foreign country...who couldn't write a coherent sentence in English OR Spanish. Believe me, I would have taken well written Spanish in place of what I had to decipher.

It's a damn joke. And I love being pregnant because I get to be strident! Yay!

Shoot. I got on my soapbox, didn't I?

by Heather Hoffman at 10:17 AM

w May 11, 2006

Cranky Pregnant Woman Rant

About other (okay, SOME other) pregnant women. On occasion I read those message boards devoted to the navel-gazery that is particularly common to first time pregnancies. I have NO problem with the establishment and loyalty to these things...I did it myself the first time around, and it feels really nice to have people in the same boat with whom to commiserate. I don't read the boards as much this time around, mostly because I pretty much know what's going on, but also because I frankly don't have a whole lot of energy, and I'm not about to spend it "listening" to everyone else's neuroses about something that is, I hate to break it to you, just biology. Which brings me to tonight's rant.

I will try to make this as delicate as possible, but if you think you might never want kids, stop reading now.

So if you go in for an early ultrasound, to date the pregnancy, confirm heartbeat, etc, at least where we live, you get an "internal" ultrasound. That means you have to take your underwear off and show the va-j-j to the doctor. They've seen it all...and it's not the last time they're going to be looking at yours. Don't even get me started on the number of nurses you will...entertain...during labor. Anyway, internal. Yeah, it's not as small as a Q-tip. But neither is it as big as a...muffler on an 18-wheeler. However, I read these women fretting about the possibility of having an internal exam and how that "doesn't sound like very much fun".


I'm sorry, but Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Did you even have sex to get to this point? Because a lot of people do. And it usually involves something "internal". Trust me. Internal is a LOT better than what will be trying to become EXTERNAL around your damn due date.

Forgive me. I am pregnant, and hormonal.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:56 PM


Nice Treats, Eh?

About three weeks ago, in the throes of early pregnancy misery, I had a rush of homesickness that was really quite visceral. I couldn't figure it out until I remembered with the Bean, I also had weirdly nostalgic food cravings and the need to hear/see *something* Canadian. A friend suggested that perhaps I am like the salmon...returning to whence I came when it is time to spawn. Perhaps.

A box showed up on our doorstep today, one that I had nearly forgotten ordering. Mackintosh toffee...the favorite of my late grandfather and utterly soothing in its glorious carameliness. Christie's Maple Leaf cookies. Coffee Break cookies, which are sort of cautiously flavorful but remind me of coffee hour after church on Sundays and tea time. Peek Frean Fruit Creme cookies, which have always been my favorite. Dill pickle and ketchup chips (not TOGETHER). Two bags of Hawkins' Cheezies "fun paks". A box of Shreddies. Not shredded wheat, SHREDDIES.

I am in hog heaven. Particularly since I am starting to feel better and thus am actually interested in eating this food.

My mom also kindly went to the University of Toronto bookstore to fetch me a gigantic tshirt and something twee for Peabo. Bean has much in the way of Carolina gear, but I figured it was time to acknowledge the university that actually gave me a degree.

by Heather Hoffman at 10:53 AM

w May 09, 2006


One glass of club soda
Handful of ice cubes
Healthy slug of strawberry margarita mix

It's really not bad, y'all. One wonders at the benefit of switching alcohol for Red Dye #5, but I think it's probably a minimal risk.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:45 PM

w May 08, 2006

Whee, Shopping

This was actually necessary shopping. So, it would seem that with pregnancy #2+, one "pops" a lot sooner than with the beloved firstborn. The agonizing part is that it is in no way, shape, or form, the fetus. It is pure abdominal laziness and, well, dare I say it, bloat. There. I said it. I LOOK five months pregnant, but I'm barely 2.5 months. Granted, I am short, and have no waist of which to speak, so there is really nowhere for this...stuff...to go but out. But still. I think I whizzed on the stick and went kerplow. Anyway. Have tried to get away with jogging and yoga pants and that sort of thing, and for what it's worth, that has worked pretty well. Also, my friend in Vancouver sent me a pile of (well worn) maternity clothes that have probably seen four different stomachs; only problem is, Camille was basically pregnant during the winter. I, however, will be sufficiently large during, yes, the SUMMER. And it's already getting warm here. I simply had no shirts that were long enough to cover the squidge that looks like a bump but isn't. Oh, it was getting trashy, y'all. I really and truly was trying to limit how much I spent on maternity clothes, having learned my lesson the first time around, but today I really had to bite the bullet and say, Old Navy is not going to break the bank. And you know, it didn't. I actually have a sufficient number of shirts to wear a clean one every day, and even splurged on two pairs of comfy looking capris of both a cotton and a denim nature. I think this will do admirably until such a time as I am too huge for even these. At which point, perhaps a muumuu. We shall see.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:03 PM

w May 02, 2006

Something Other Than Barfing

One lovely thing about waiting four years to have another child is how independent a little person Bean has become. I don't mean in the typical ways, we don't have that luxury, but in her emotional needs. She has somehow, over the last few months, become the happiest, most delightful child. She was always pretty cheerful, but now it's almost like she's so thrilled with life, she wants to make sure everyone else joins in. Her teachers tell me that she basically chuckles throughout her day at school---loves everything, enjoys everyone, eats like a "truckdriver". Where did this precious child come from?

I wish I could let her know how much help this is for me during a time when I'm not 100% myself. If anything, I want to squish her even closer, something I've been trying to do a lot recently. Her world is going to turn topsy-turvy come December; maybe it's wishful thinking on my part, but I want to just fill her up with as much attention and affection as possible. It certainly makes the constant desire to hurl a lot easier to bear.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:09 PM

w May 01, 2006

Today's Life Lesson

Grilled cheese sandwiches don't taste very good on the way back up.

Jolly Rancher Sours, on the other hand, work nicely to quell nausea.

How much do I hope this all settles down in 2 or 3 weeks? Way too much for government work.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:32 PM