Monday, March 30, 2009


Holy crap! Oprah in my hometown of Eldorado! At the YFZ ranch. Wow, I'm so proud. (Insert heavy sarcasm.) Seriously, how embarrassing to have the town I've loved my entire life seen as a backdrop to this clusterfuck of nutters.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Baby Guilt

I know this is going to sound really odd to those who have never dealt with infertility but I'm fairly certain those of us who have will get it. I feel guilty about my surprise pregnancy and the ease with which it's progressed. I miraculously ovulated without meds and managed to make it through my entire first trimester without progesterone supplementation. Yes, I had some spotting in early pregnancy but because I wasn't aware I was pregnant, I didn't worry about it. I thought it was a super short period and left it at that. That I've made it this far without any complications is virtually unheard of--and I'm so thankful. And yet...

After the initial excitement and elation of the positive pregnancy test, I was consumed with guilt. "How the hell am I going to tell so-and-so about this?" Yes, I realize that women suffering through infertility aren't made of glass. Honestly, we're probably more emotionally strong than most women. We learn to steel those expressions and suck it up and deal with all the babies and pregnancies of our friends and family members. We grin and accept all the patronizing and often insulting "advice" from friends and family. We learn to deal with the natural feelings of worthlessness and jealousy and depression. We push through life despite the emptiness we feel every time we see a stroller or a baby bump or our husbands playing with this niece or that nephew all the while knowing we're the reason he can't have a child of his own.

And yet when we finally get that one thing we've wanted more than anything in the world, we're instantly consumed with immense guilt. Every time I feel Zaphod move or see his/her little face on the ultrasound screen, I rejoice but that happiness is always tempered with sadness. I feel so badly for all those women in my life who have lost their babies to miscarriages or who can't even get a single positive ovulation cycle. When these women are snippy with me or make snide remarks, I let them go. I remember what it felt like to bite my tongue and feign happiness for others even though I was dying inside. They're in pain, and if sniping makes them feel better for just the tiniest of moments, then so be it. I'll be your punching bag.

Of course there are women like my cousin, Suzie, who is so genuinely loving and caring and supportive despite the hell she's been through time and again. The woman has the brightest and warmest maternal and nurturing instinct I've ever seen. Even as she's struggled with infertility and lost babies, she's always been there for everyone else--even going so far as to provide fulltime care and support and nurturing to her four nieces and nephews. Hell, she even came over to visit during my trip to E-town and talked about my nursery plans and my health and the baby--all while she's still waiting for a birth mother match for their adoption. Seriously, she's just amazing. We'd all do well to take a page out of her playbook and learn something of graciousness and goodness.

Friday, March 27, 2009

To Grandmother's House We Go

So Dave, Bosley, and I made the six hour trek to Eldorado to visit family. It was one of those vacations that's sort of more stressful than relaxing because you have such a short amount of time to pack in everything.

We watched Garret's little league game (too funny, folks) and had dinner with Dave's grandfather, brothers and their spouses. Penny wasn't in town but we'll see her and Dave's Aunt Carolyn in a few weeks when they come down for a china painting convention. Bob is persnickety as ever and just as curmudgeonly, lol. Here's a snippet from the what-to-do-for-dinner conversation.

Bob: Well, you women are welcome to head into the kitchen and pull something out of the freezer.

Me, Amy, and Stephanie exchanged amused WTF glances while Dave, Todd, and Lee looked like they were going to choke on their laughter.

Bob: Or we could go out.

Me, Amy, and Stephanie: Go out!

Mom, Tricia, and I drove to San Angelo for dinner and baby shopping. We chose the pattern for the nursery and picked out tons of fabric for the crib, window, accessories, and swaddling blankets. My brothers barbecued and avoided Bosley at all costs. No, seriously. Bosley isn't very fond of the boys so they actually pitched a tent and air matress in Dad's shop and slept out there!

Dad was a smidge grumpy because he had to lay off more people. He's at the end of his rope, and it really worries me. On top of all his diabetes complications, the man just had serious cardiac problems and stents put in place. The day after Dad returned to work after taking off a few weeks to recover from his surgeries, he had to deal with a massive brouhaha over an employee threatening to sue. Every day, it's something else, you know? I really, really worry about him blowing a pupil.

Lately, it seems like everyone I know is dealing with some serious illness or other. Dave's grandfather is undergoing chemo for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Mom just had skin cancer removed from her face and is waiting to hear back from the pathologist as to whether or not she'll need to undergo radiation or worse. As concerned as I am for them, I'm most concerned for my lil bro Marcos.

Marcos has been having problems with high blood pressure, elevated liver enzymes, and a spiking white cell count. The morning Dave and I left for home, he went to the doctor for a follow-up to intense testing. Right before we took off, he called Mom to let her know the doctor's want to take a bone marrow sample because they're concerned he may have cancer. CANCER! He's just a kid. I'm just sick with worry. God forbid it's the worst but even if it is Marcos has three siblings and a niece/nephew on the way who might potentially match should he need some sort of bone marrow or cord blood product. And I'm already in the registry so that helps a little.

Oy veh! When it rains it pours and all that...

Anywho. I hate to end my posts on a downer so I'll leave you with this gem from my parents.

Mom: Maria, if you or Dave need to use the bathroom during the night just use the one attached to our bedroom. And don't worry. We sleep in our jammies.

Dad: Not me. I just sleep in my cowboy boots.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


So I'm 15 weeks and change pregnant now. I've been able to feel Zaphod banging around in there for the last two weeks or so. First, it felt like bubbles popping in my uterus. Now it feels like tiny little pings. (S)he seems to get really active after my workouts or hot monkey sex. Yeah. The last one's a bit odd. Makes me feel sort of pervy--even more than usual!

Still haven't gained a single pound. I'm still 6-8 pounds down from my pre-pregnancy weight. My body shape, however, has changed a lot. My cargo pants and a few pairs of jeans still sorta fit but I'm going to have to resort to my Bella Band pretty soon. Most days I'm in a Nacho Libre mood--stretchy pants but not the Luchador mask. Although...

Oh, and my tatas are off the effing chain. All of my t-shirts look like they've shrunk. At 13 weeks, I had to move from a D to a DD. Two weeks later and I'm already eyeing the E's. At this rate, I'll be in those big mamma-jamma bras they sell at Lane Bryant by the end of the pregnancy. You know the ones. You can stick your whole head inside the cup and still have room for snacks. I don't even want to think about what's going to happen when my milk comes in! I'll need one of those back support belts weight lifters use.

Dave, of course, is like a kid with new toys. The other morning we were hopping into the shower. Dave had been away for a few days so he hadn't been around to behold the glory that is my new boobies. His eyes lit up like Christmas as he exclaimed, "WHOA!"

Much hand smacking ensued.

Other than that life is same old, same old. I'm writing my butt off because I've got deadlines out the wazoo. I'm not planning on doing any work from late-August until late October. I might write for fun but definitely not for profit. I seriously doubt late night feedings and general exhaustion will be conducive to entertaining the muse.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Booms and busts--I've been thinking about them quite a bit. Anyone who grew up with a parent in the oil field knows the realities of booms and busts all too well. I think it's part of what shaped my attitudes toward money and saving and my desperate need for security.

Daddy's worked in the oil field for, oh, thirty years or so. In west Texas, there really isn't any other option for earning a decent wage. He went to college and then came back and went to work for Western (now BJ) as a mechanic. With a lot of hard work and tenacity, he climbed the ranks from mechanic to lead mechanic to the head of the entire mechanic and fleet department. Each of those promotions brought newer and greater responsibilities, but Daddy's always risen to the occasion.

For the last decade or so, his shop has been the highest ranked in the entire company for cleanliness, safety, and productivity. The entire global company, folks. He's a hard ass but he keeps people safe and working. That's all that matters, really.

A few weeks ago, Daddy was informed he'd have to let half of his mechanic team go. That's 8 mechanics plus office staff. He was devastated. I can't even describe how heartbreaking it was for me to listen to Mom recount the day of the layoffs. Instead of sending the guys over to the main office by themselves, Daddy walked with them and told them the truth even though the district bigwigs wanted him to do otherwise. (Basically, they wanted Dad to just throw them under the bus.) One of the guys became violently ill. Another begged for reconsideration because he had kids and a house and a wife. It was gut wrenching.

You have to understand that in that area of Texas almost all families have one sole source of support: the husband. Wives stay at home and care for children and homes. To lose their entire source of income is devastating to them. And it's more than that. It's health insurance too. Who the hell can afford $1500 a month or more in COBRA?

At any rate, Daddy stayed with them and helped them adjust to their new realities. I'm sure he gave them lots of fatherly advice since he's a man who's survived two huge oilfield busts--once with a new baby one the way. God, I remember that year like it was yesterday. It was 1988-89, I was five-ish and Mom was expecting Marcos. Dad went to work one day, and the entire place had been boarded up. He ended up finding work in San Angleo at Gandy's as a mechanic.

Even though money was super tight, I remember that year as the one I ate so much ice cream I never wanted to see it again. See, Gandy's is a dairy company. Anytime they'd have a refrigerated truck break down, Daddy (and the other mechanics) would load up ice chests with cottage cheese and milk and ice cream. Seriously, almost all of my memories from that year are of me and Joey chowing down on dairy goodness.

Another thing I remember from that year is Daddy driving it into my head that you don't buy things you can't afford during the booms. This was a message he'd repeat over and over and over. When Joey went to work on the rigs, Dad shook his head at all the young kids running out and buying new trucks and houses and other shit they couldn't afford on loans and credit cards. Joey smartly listened and didn't get himself in hock with any of the banks. He also left the oil field which was an even smarter move. Now most of Joey's friends are laid off and facing forceclosures and repossessions and worse.

Of course, Joey's found the upside to the recession. The other night he joked about the fact that he's having no problem finding girls now. He's got a job, after all. I pointed out that maybe those aren't the sorts of lady friends he wants. He seemed scandalized at the idea he'd want something different. Boys. What can you do?

Anyways. I don't know if there's a point to this post. I just felt like blogging about booms and busts and other economic woes. Texas seems to have been largely spared from the economic crisis so far but I don't think we'll be lucky much longer. Oil and gas companies are cutting back on expenses across the board which means less demand for all those welders and those bulk chemical orders and parts and so on and so forth. Think about all the people involved in the energy sector here who have been put on 40 hour work weeks. Yeah. You can't go out and buy anything if you're barely scraping by. Businesses depend on us to spend money so they can employ people. It's just a vicious cycle I don't see ending any time soon.

Sad. Just really sad.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


For those of us who know sweet fuck all about basketball but love us some romance novels (and prizes!) behold the awesomeness of DA BWAHA. The Smart Bitches and Dear Author are hosting their second annual Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hellagood Authors. It's the Big Dance for a field a 64 reader nominated novels in a variety of genres.

Just like that other March Madness and its basketball-aholics, DA BWAHA allows romance writers and readers to fill out and submit brackets based on their personal hunches and (dare I say) research and statistics. You can bet your sweet buns I'm all over Amazon and B&N and review sites for comparisons within the various genres. There's a Sony Reader 505 at stake here, folks! Ruthless. I shall be ruthless!

Oh, and the Smart Bitches and Dear Author Ja(y)nes have put together some amazing discounts with Harlequin for all of their nominated books. Fictionwise has put all the e-book versions of DA BWAHA nominees on easy to navigate page.

Will the book of the year belong to the perennial favoriteNora Roberts? (La Nora! I prostrate myself before your greatness!) Or will it be a Cinderella story for a YA author like Suzanne Collins? The suspense it slays!

So get your brackets inand browse the nominees for some hellagood reads!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


1) My new cardiologist rocks! My old cardiologist was a supremo jackass. Seriously, when I told Dr. L (new guy) my old guy at The Med was a jackass, he said, "Yeah. I know that guy." He even smirked a little.

Anywho. Heart is good. Mitral valve is more wobbly than prolapsed. Murmur is the same. If my PVC episodes increase, I go back for one of those 24 hour or 2 week monitors. If not, I'm good.

2) OB appointment went well. Dr. A couldn't find Zaphod's heartbeat with the doppler but you could hear my heartbeat through the placenta. I thought Dave was going to blow a pupil there for a sec. I probably should have warned him beforehand that it's totally normal not to be able to hear the baby's heartbeat with the doppler in early pregnancy.

Dr. A wheeled in a portable ultrasound just to be sure though. Zaphod is perfectly fine. Still incredibly active too. The only small problem is that my placenta is really low and right over the baby. Dr. A thinks the placenta issue will resolve itself so I'm not worried.

3) Mr. Rogers would not approve of our neighbors. He'd tie them to Trolley and evict their asses straight outta Make-Believe. First of all, our next door neighbor decided to build a pergola. Okay. Fine. Whatever. Build your pergola...just not at 6:45 in the friggin' morning! He seems to work a weird graveyard shift so when he gets home, he saunters right out into his back yard and starts sawing and hammering. It's open window weather so the noise is particularly deafening. It took every ounce of my willpower not to pull out the chicken bones and wax on this one.

Secondly, some random lady from down the street showed up on our doorstep at a few minutes past 7 a.m. frantically ringing our doorbell. This was a morning when Bob the Builder was fast asleep too. Bosley ran downstairs to sound the intruder alert. Dave pulled on a robe and hustled down after the dog.

Why was this woman ringing our doorbell so early you ask? Her backyard was flooding. Yes. Her backyard--four or five houses down--was flooding. What does that have to do with us? I still don't know. Oh, and thirty minutes after she left, guess who decided to pick up the saw? Yeah. So much for us getting any sleep. (This was the morning after Dave had worked one of those whacky noon to midnight shifts so by the time he got home it was after two in the morning. He needed his sleep.)

4) I've lost two more pounds. I'm sort of wigged out about it since it seems weird to lose weight while pregnant. I got this amazing new pregnancy fitness DVD with 60 minute workouts mixing pilates, cardio, toning, and yoga with a partner component too. I have a feeling I'll lose more weight once I start doing the workout 3 or 4 times a week. Dr. A doesn't seem at all concerned. As long as I'm not losing weight because of vomiting and malnutrition, I'm good.

5) Baby registries. Dave and I had time to kill between my OB appointment and my echocardiogram and cardiologist appointment so we waltzed into Target and did a little registering. We were looking at a baby swing and, well, here's what tranpsired to cause Grandma in the diaper aisle to give us the stink eye.

Me: Hmmm. Says it has six speeds.
Dave: Is one of them ludicrous?
Me, after much guffawing: Sweet zombie Moses!
Dave: I try...

Friday, March 06, 2009


Today, two young people I attended high school with were murdered in a subdivision maybe five minutes away from our house. Travis and Rachel Joiner were a few years younger than me, but in a high school of less than 200, you know everyone, especially when they're active in UIL, athletics, and band. I'm just stunned. Shocked. Disgusted.

It's so bizarre, but we have such a high rate of fatalities among the people I attended high school with. Mitzi, Thomas, Landon, Rachel, Travis... That's not counting people who have died who were in middle school when I was in high school. It's disconcerting to say the least.

These deaths feel different to me than the others. Now that I'm going to be a mother it's just, well, different. I can't imagine what it was like for the Joiners to get that phone call, to be told their children had been gunned down in their own home by some disgruntled asshole, had died so violently. What must that five and half hour drive have been like? With each passing mile knowing you're this much closer to the faces of your dead children? I just...I can't.

I know many of you reading this post won't give it a second thought since they weren't people you personally knew--and that's okay. It's normal even. Still, I want people to know society as a whole is poorer for the losses of these two young people. I can honestly say they were among some of the kindest, gentlest, most intelligent, and generous souls I've ever known. They will be greatly missed.