Monthly Archives: May 2011

Countdown to 30: What I’ve Learned


This one’ll be brief as Piet and I just got back from a late dinner and I’m pretty tired. Actually I’m pretty much always tired lately, but I was good about writing my posts early in the day until today.

By this stage of the game I think there are a few things I can unequivocally say that I’ve learned from life so far. I’d share them with my kid, but if he’s like every other kid, he’ll ignore me until his own 30th birthday, so for now, I’ll just say them here.

  1. Don’t be afraid to take chances in life. They may work out in your favor, they may not, but it’s always better to know you took the chance than to spend the rest of your life wondering “what if.”
  2. Don’t change the essential you to please someone else. The people who are most important to your life will love you for who you are, not for who you become in order to please them.
    a. Don’t confuse this with admitting to your faults and trying to better yourself. Everyone has negative aspects to themselves. Acknowledge them. do your best to modify what you can. But the important thing is to do this for yourself, not for anyone else.
  3. Despite what some people may say, failure is actually an option. In fact, it’s an inevitability. Sometimes failure will make you a stronger person than success. I think this is one of the hardest lessons to learn in life, but it’s a lesson everyone should, indeed, learn.
  4. Do not be afraid to ask for help. This applies to such a broad spectrum of topics under the header of “life” but I think overall it can be applied almost anywhere. If you’re in trouble, swallow your fear or pride or whatever it is that may be causing you to hesitate, and ask for help. Asking for help is not a show of weakness. Believe it or not, it takes a lot of strength to now when you really can’t do something on your own.
  5. Love does not conquer all. But love is something beautiful that, when it is true and real, is worth giving your all for. Love isn’t easy, but that’s part of what makes it so very worth it in the end.

It’s not a very long list, I know, but it’s things that I’ve learned time and time again that continuously apply throughout the years. If you all have any good ones to share, feel free to leave them in the comment section. Eventually I plan to write these in the journal I’m keeping for our son.

Countdown to 30: Ten Years Ago


I’ve always hated the “where do you see yourself in ten years” hypothetical.

I think it should be banned form all questionnaires/interviews/applications, etc. because really, how many people truly have any idea what they’ll be doing in ten years? And if you do have a path neatly mapped out in your head, the chances that your map will lead you exactly where you want to go at the exact pace you’ve planned are infinitesimally small.
Even the map for Candyland has detours and quicksand (a.k.a The Molasses Swamp).

Back when I was an idealistic and naive 17, I was convinced I had the perfect plan. I was going to go to college, get a degree in clinical psychology, have a great job, be married and have two kids and a nice house with a weeping willow in the backyard all by the time I was 25 years old.

Never say I don’t set my sights high.

But all that plan resulted in was a 25th birthday spent locked in my apartment, depressed and grieving over all the things I hadn’t accomplished, all the grandiose scheming that had disintegrated faster than tissue paper in a rainstorm.

So today I’m going to look back at where I was 10 years ago, right before I turned 20.

I was just finishing up my second year in college and had recently broken up with my first serious boyfriend for an older guy who had stayed interested in me for all of a month before no longer returning my calls, pretending that I didn’t exist and claiming I was stalking him if he happened to see me and my friends eating in the same cafeteria when he was. I was wavering over whether or not I really wanted to pursue psychology, and had become crushingly depressed when I tried to reconcile with my ex only to find that he’d recently moved on. I also spent two weeks in Belize for an archeology course on the Maya which would’ve been so much cooler if I could keep any food down or stop crying for longer than a few hours at a time. When I came home from the jungle I found out that I was out of a summer job (the place I’d worked since I was 16 decided they didn’t need me to work that summer) and I ended up making sandwiches and eventually working the counter at a bread/coffee shop. I met a guy who ended up being a complete and total dickface who royally blew me off once the summer was over, despite telling me I was the first girl he’d ever loved.

Yeah, aside from the trip to Belize, I’d have to say that was one of the suckiest summers ever. The only semi-positive thing that came out of it was that I lost about 30 pounds because I was too depressed to eat and spent hours traipsing through the jungle in tropical heat and when I returned home I tried distracting myself from my ex by running on the treadmill for an hour or two every night.

Anyway, here I am, ten years later.
I live in Europe and speak another language (when I’m not being stubborn).
I’m married to a wonderful, intelligent, caring man.
I’m almost 36 weeks pregnant (yes, pictures Tuesday when I’m officially 36 weeks) with our first baby.
We have two great cats, employment, health insurance, a car and a house.

Maybe my life at 25 was nothing like I had hoped when I was 17, but at 30 it’s a damn sight better than it was when I was 20.

Looking back on how good things are now compared to last decade definitely gives me even more reason to look forward to the next decade!

Countdown to 30: Made to Last


This one is going back to music.

Because I like music.
But also because I personally tend to use music as a sensory bookmark to recall experiences and times in my life, both positive and negative. So music is very important to me.

To begin, I have to confess something very painful and very, very embarrassing. I can only hope that you’ll keep in mind that we’re all young once and that we all make mistakes. That being said…here goes…
When I was eight years old, I was a huge fan of New Kids on the Block.
There, I said it.

I was also probably the only 8 year old listening to Paul Simon and Eric Clapton at the time, but still, I was all about the NKOTB.

And since this was the first time I’d really listened to anything besides the oldies station my parents tended to listen to in the car, I was absolutely unfamiliar with the phenomenon of the one hit wonder. when my dad told me one day that no one would remember New Kids on the Block in ten or even five years, I couldn’t believe it. I mean, everyone my age knew Hangin’ Tough! How could anyone forget that song? It was on the radio constantly! Daddy, you have no idea what you’re talking about! Songs from when you were my age are still around, so how can you say these songs won’t be??


Obviously in the last 12 years I’ve revised my opinion on this topic.
After a few Vanilla Ices and Ace of Bases and Eiffel 65s, you start to realize that some music and musicians are made to last, but the majority definitely are not.

At this point I think I’ve been around long enough to thumb my nose at some of the adults in my childhood and point out a band that I was told wouldn’t last that actually has:

Green Day.

I’ve been listening to Green Day since Dookie came out in 1994. In fact, I had to borrow the cassette from my friend and listen to it in my room when my parents weren’t around because it had a parental advisory on it and I wasn’t allowed to listen to music with parental advisories until I was 16 or so.
Granted there’s no denying their sound has changed some over the years:



But they’re still making music, performing and appealing to kids half my age (who probably don’t even realize these guys are all almost 40). They even have a show on Broadway. I know some people see it as selling out, but I think they’re essentially the same, but they’ve done what people who want to stay successful do: matured and grown along with their music. Frankly, true sell outs tend to not last very long in the music world (just ask Jewel) and those that don’t evolve with age just get boring and stale (just ask Bon Jovi).

So anyway, that’s my take on things and also my opportunity to fire an “I told you so” at my parents who told me Green Day was just another one of those bands that would fade away.

Nyah nyah!

Countdown to 30: Cut Your Hair


I remember when I was a teenager and my parents would make comments about kids my age and their hairstyles. And even though my hair was insanely thick and curly and usually very long because it turned into a clown ‘fro if it wasn’t cut exactly right, I still recall thinking my parents were just old and didn’t understand what it was like to have cool hair.

Most of the girls in my high school had pin-straight, layered hair and/or cute whispy bangs. Oh, and scrunchies…can’t forget the scrunchies. Many of the guys had very short hair that was gelled to stick out a little in front. Sometimes if the guy needed a hair cut we’d tease him about having a shelf over his forehead, but still, that was the typical style.
Obviously other styles existed but that’s what I saw the most back in high school when I gave half a shit about trendiness.

My mom would talk about her bob or pixie cut or my dad’s mutton chops and I’d just roll my eyes and think about how dorky they must’ve looked.

Nowadays, I find myself looking at teenagers today with their parts so far off to the side that they’re practically right above their ears and the giant, helmet-like, solid sweep of hair that covers one (if not both) of their eyes or their uber-bieber hair that again, sweeps far enough forward to cover their eyes, leading to the constant jerking of their head so that they can do practical things like, you know, see, and I catch myself thinking:

“What exactly are you thinking with your hair like that? People can’t even see your face. You can’t see anything at all! Cut your hair, dammit!”

And then I start thinking:

My kid better not think he’ll be wearing his hair like that. Not if I have anything to say about it.”

Sigh. Then I realize that all I’m doing is calling the kettle black. And that the next logical step would be to drag a rocking chair out onto the porch and start yelling at kids to get off my lawn.

Countdown to 30: Thank You For The Music


Occasionally I’ll get nostalgic and wander over to Youtube and think of some song I haven’t listened to in several years and I’ll look it up. Sometimes it leads to wonderful rediscoveries (Fuel, Matchbox 20, Gin Blossoms) and other times it just leads to me feeling old.

Like the other day when I looked up Ludacris and ended up listening to this song:

Now, does anyone else remember that song when it came out 11 years ago? Cause I distinctly remember at 19 thinking “done it, done it…ooh, that’s one to try” every time I heard this song. And I don’t think I was too freaky when I was in college. At least not abnormally so.
Most of the time.

Now I hear it and think of all the practical things that make this song, well, ludicrous.
The public bathroom? Eew, really? Cause it seems to me that’s a perfect way for a couple to both get crabs from a third party that wasn’t even there participating.
In the library? First of all, paper cuts in awkward places. Second, as someone who occasionally uses the library, it’s just rude to get your bodily fluids all over someone else’s reading material.
Rip the pants, rip the skirt? Do you know how much I paid for this shirt? Are you planning on buying me a new one? No? than leave it in one piece please!

And is it just me or does Ludacris look like the long lost brother of Disney’s Frog Princess:


So yeah, some of the music from my youth is pretty much ruined for me.

“What’s my current fantasy?” you ask?
Both of us being in the mood at the same time, on the same day and having the sheets magically wash themselves afterwards.

Countdown to 30: Day 1


Good morning/afternoon/evening oh dear, dear readers. You may be aware, or probably not, that in one week I am turning 30.

Thirty. Three decades old. Oooooold.

Pardon me for a second while my face melts into a sad little puddle on the floor.

Okay, I’m back.
That said, I am not so deluded as to believe that 30 is actually old old. I realize I’ve most likely still got more than half my life ahead of me and besides, Piet turned 30 two years ago and he’s still mostly youthful and vivacious. On his good days. Hehehe.

But, I’ve come to realize that thirty is pretty much the end of any sort of ability to have anything you say/do/decide be attributed to the “young” factor. I am no longer a young adult. I’m just an adult. Supposedly I’m supposed to have gleaned enough from the past decade or so to have my act together.
Or at least effectively pretend that I do.

Fortunately for me the day I turn 30 is also our first wedding anniversary. And with any luck, who knows, maybe I’ll go into labor and we can just forget my birthday all together!

But you guys know me well enough by now. I don’t forget.

I dwell.
I dwell so hard I think it can be considered a psychological condition.

So, I’ve decided this week will be a commentary on turning 30. What better way to spend my last week in my twenties than to reflect a bit and dwell on turning 30?

Right? Right??

We Still Have Cats By The Way


I don’t think I’ve really mentioned our felines in a regrettably long time.

I think I may’ve mentioned it before, but Luna… well, I don’t want to say she’s stupid because there’s certain things she’s really good at, but overall she is a few cards short of a deck.

When it comes to knowing when I open a bag of wet food or a treat, she’s right on top of it.
When it comes to playing fetch with one of her little neon or foil balls (or twist ties) she’s keener than a bloodhound.
When it comes to catching and eating the pesky bugs that fly in the windows in the summer, she’s queen.
Or so I thought, until yesterday.

I don’t typically bother turning my attention to Rex and Luna when they come barreling into the room because it usually just means Rex is kicking Luna’s butt at wrestling and she’s trying to avoid the beating (she usually initiates it anyway and then proceeds to lose to the larger, heavier cat…duh). This time the stampede was preceded by a loud buzzing and I noticed a larger than average bee dragging itself somewhat speedily across the floor. Then as the cats watched, it crawled under one of Luna’s balls and commenced with twitching, causing the ball to move a few centimeters, seemingly on it’s own.

Rex sat watching, like he does, letting Luna have priority inspection/play rights (because while he has proven time and again he can pound her if he’s inclined, he tends to let Luna do whatever she wants, including eat/ drink first and get first dibs on treats and toys). Eventually the ailing bee crawled out from under the ball and Luna sat perplexed, swiping first at the bee and then at the ball, alternating between the two, seemingly unable to decide which one she should play with.

I left the room at this point because it nauseates me to see my cats mauling another living creature, but it’s exercise and eventually some protein, so I let them do it, I just don’t watch. If they ever graduate to birds though, I may pass out.
Anyway, somehow the bee buzzed it’s way swiftly back into the adjoining room (where I’d joined Piet to watch some tv) and managed to get itself up and against the window, which was cracked open at the top (and on the third floor, which ends up somewhat relevant). This was the bee’s fatal error because Luna is best at snagging bugs when they’re up against that window. So Luna lunges, the bee disappears and the buzzing stops.
I feel relieved that the bee’s suffering is finally over and Luna hasn’t been stung.
Then Luna trots over to my feet, opens her mouth and drops the still living bee on the floor. I yank my feet up off the floor because I’ve never been stung before and have an intense fear of going into anaphylactic shock if I ever am. The bee, probably disoriented and horrified, manages to drag itself once again to the window, and this time gets to the opening at the top and flies out.
Luna, brainiac that she is, leaps after it, the top half of her very skinny little body practically hanging out the third floor window. I yell at her, she looks at me all wide eyed and innocent and then plops down and stares at the window like her lost toy is just going to buzz right back in for her amusement. After several minutes of waiting, she eventually lays down next to the window (which she has never done before) and grooms herself to sleep, still awaiting the bee.

This from the cat that is so happy to see Piet or I walk in the door that she thumps her head off the ground trying to prematurely cuddle us.

Which I suppose may explain the seemingly brain damaged behavior she exhibits in the first place.

Corned Beef on Ryyyyyyyye


Hunger hasn’t been a very big blip on my body’s radar lately.

I mean, if you put a plate of something in front of me, I’ll eat it, but I rarely feel hungry. Mostly I end up picking on whatever is around the house when I happen to be down on the first floor and in the vicinity of food, which has become relatively infrequent since Piet and his dad began breaking up the walls and floor of the kitchen for the next part of the house rebuilding plans.

But! As I was walking home from the grocery store today one single image popped into my head:A lean corned beef sandwich on marble rye with lots of spicy mustard.

Do. Want.

Thus began my “what I must eat during our trip to Pittsburgh in Septmber, post-baby weight be damned” list:

  1. aforementioned corned beef on rye (marbled rye)
  2. my mom’s dill dip (with dark rye…I miss rye)
  3. beef stroganoff
  4. Red Lobster new england clam chowder, cheddar biscuits and Boston iced tea
  5. a bagel, preferably from Einstein’s (okay, probably more than just one bagel, cause there’s just so many good schmears out there)
  6. Tex-mex food. Probably at Don Pablo’s, but I’m open to other suggestions if anyone in the Pittsburgh area has any
  7. Japanese hibachi at Shogun, preferably with my brother. That’s sort of our brother-sister bonding thing. I’m not sure why, but it is.

And I think that’s it for now, although I may very likely add some stuff on here.

See? How’s that for interesting content?

This Week in The Life


I feel like every time I post it should be something interesting. Or a picture of my belly.

While in reality I imagine some of you are probably all “you never said you were going mommy blogger on us…when do we get content that isn’t gestation related??”

Well, I’ve got nothing for you really. Tomorrow is the beginning of my maternity leave, which means I’ll have the time and energy to start assembling geboortesuiker items. I’ll also be able to keep my feet up and sit/lay down whenever I want, which, if you’ve ever gained 20 pounds in a few months and then stood up almost non-stop for 8 hours, you’d know what a relief it’ll be to take a load off now and then.

I’m going to the town hall for my official Belgian identity card tomorrow. I’m anxious to finally have that in my wallet and while I’m out I’ll most likely start scoping out the candy for the geboortesuiker mentioned above.

Wednesday is the 34 week checkup with the new gynecologist (long story…not worth telling) where I have to have my blood retested to see if my bleeding disorder is still on hold. After this appointment I start going every two weeks which I guess should signal how close I’m getting to the end of the pregnancy. I’m still not quite at the point where I can think beyond going into labor. I can’t even think about the actual going into labor even. Not cause my fear of it is back, but just cause…well, labor is something totally foreign to me. I don’t have a clue how it’ll feel when it starts. I mean, women seem to know most of the time, so I assume I will too, but I guess it’s like the first time you do anything really…you’re never quite sure how the actual event will go until it starts.

I’ve got no real plans for the rest of the week. My main to-dos are cementing my nationality with a new pretty green card, our doctor appointment and a trip to the candy store and printer for the birth announcements and if I feel extra ambitious, a haircut, since I haven’t had one since before the honeymoon back in October.