Monthly Archives: June 2011

Where I’m From


I am from gravel driveways and paperback novels, the Boyce Park Wave Pool, the Squirrel Hill Carnegie library and the city of bridges; from JIF peanut butter, Skechers and Crayola markers.

I am from the measured, meticulous land packages of suburban development, vinyl siding, landscaped lawns with picket fences and pre-fab clubhouse/swingset combos. From a finished basement with a treasured Sega Genesis and a bedroom with sea-foam green walls, a shelf packed with books, a portrait of my late grandfather and a perpetual monster toddler a la Pet Semetary lurking in my closet.

I am from a yard full of creeping phlox, crab apple trees and ground hog burrows; from small stands of trees tangled in blackberry brambles and poison oak. I am from chipmunks and red breasted robins and raccoons and white tailed deer.

I am from potato latkes with applesauce, sour cream, or sugar on Hanukkah and Shamrock shakes after watching the Saint Patty’s parade from our dentist’s office on 5th Avenue. I am from curly dark hair and a sense of humor so dry that it’s parched. From Diane and Eddie. From Danny and Marian and Anne and Kenny. From Klein, Heller, Reichman and Stern.

I am from high expectations blended with unconditional love. I am from hypocrisy in regards to personal habits and life style choices. I am from masked anxiety and depression. I am from acceptance, patience and undying loyalties to family traditions. I am from forgiveness and mutual understanding, even when things are not always completely understood.

I am from “do as I say, not as I do,” and “as long as you’re truly doing your best, that’s good enough for us.” I am from “the most important thing in life is family” and “the most important thing in life is a good education.”

I am from an increasingly lax form of conservative Judaism that played a very important role in my upbringing but has progressively dissolved into a loose set of holidays that allows for frequent family get-togethers, reminiscing and over-eating. I am from not necessarily believing in god but believing in one’s responsibility to the welfare of people in general and specifically to one’s family. I am from the hope and belief that life does have some sort of purpose, and that life is a valuable thing.

I am from the Keystone State, from Pittsburgh: Steel City, the city of bridges and rivers and Iron City beer and Heinz Ketchup. From the city of Andy Warhol, the Carnegies, the Fricks, and the Mellons. I am from Spain, Germany, Austria, Romania and the shtetls on the boarder of Russia and Poland. I am from gefilte fish, brisket and matzah ball soup.

From the early morning walks my father took me on when we went to Virginia Beach every summer where he warned me to not step on jellyfish and inevitable ended up picking me up just as I was about to step on one, yelling at me to be more careful, but then continuing to take me for a walk every morning. From the time I was 15 and my mom took me with her to test drive a new car and then in the cover of darkness took me to the parking lot of the LDS church parking lot to let me practice driving for the very first time. From my very first legal beer when I turned 21 and my late Grandma took me to lunch and told me to order whatever I wanted from the bar, which was a wheat ale that she took a sip of to celebrate with me even though I know she hated beer.

I am from faded photo albums, some taken by fire, gone up in clouds of smoke. From Betamax made VHS made DVD copies of home movies and preschool performances. I am from a sweet and sour stew of blue and white collar families, vegetable hucksters, seamstresses, teachers, synogogue co-founders. I am from the stories told over and over again by my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, stories that will be passed down to the next generations along with the fraying books and tarnishing frames containing the faces of those who came before us.

*found this via Avitable. If it inspires you, the original prompts are here.


The Waiting Game


Hear that?
That’d be the sound of a very pregnant woman twiddling her thumbs.
Cause that’s pretty much all I can do right now.

My parents arrived yesterday, much to my excitement since 1. I haven’t seen them in over a year and 2. I enjoy spending time with my parents and I find copious amounts of comfort in having familiarity around me.
My dad will be here for two weeks and my mom for six weeks. Piet is currently out grocery shopping with them, which leaves me here to sit for a while.

And wait.
Because I had a check up at the gynecologist today, 4 days away from my due date, and while the baby is still head down and apparently firmly positioned in my pelvis, there is no sign that I’ll be giving birth soon. No dilation, from what I can tell mucus plug still in place.

So the game plan is to have another check up next week (if I haven’t had the baby by then) and if nothing changes, to discuss induction the week after. From what the doctor said, the maximum we’d wait would be until July 7, although if there are any changes (i.e. my blood pressure goes up or bleeding, etc.) then obviously it’ll be done sooner.

I wasn’t planning on blogging much about this because I figured with my luck I’d jinx everything and end up having to be induced on the last day but then I decided, screw it.
This baby is going to come when he’s ready, unless he’s not ready until the 7th. And until he (or my uterus) decides that the time has come, I can’t do much besides wait.

But like Tom Petty says, the waiting is the hardest part.

Not only am I anxious to finally have this baby out of my body, to see him and hear him and have him be totally 100% here, but I’m also continuously trying to wrap my head around the whole labor thing and simply unable to do it. By now I’ve heard plenty of birth stories, not only from friends and relatives but also from hospital personnel and blogs and other online resources. I still can’t conceptualize going into real labor, knowing that “hey this is it,” heading off to the hospital and spending who knows how many hours in pain and discomfort before producing a living, breathing human being from between my legs.

Does. not. compute.

I know it has to happen.
I want it to happen.
I’m trying not to crawl out of my skin with the anticipation of it happening.

But it still doesn’t all seem completely real because it hasn’t happened yet.

And until it does, I guess I’ll be here, waiting, getting my check ups, visiting with my parents, reading voraciously in the interims (it’s one of the few things that makes the time pass and gets my mind off of obsessing over all this stuff), and trying not to freak out that he’s  not here yet and all I want in this world right now (besides that corned beef sandwich) is to finally have this baby.

Not Having Kids Yet Doesn’t Make Me Stupid


This is a quiet little blog. Most of my hits/readers probably come from my friends on Facebook or some of the people who have been reading what I write for the past several years or so.
I don’t network or try to get people to come read my drivel. If you happen upon it and stay, awesome.
If not, ah well, no skin off my nose.

I pretty much never pick fights or take issue with any other blog/blogger cause I rarely see a point.
So this will be a first for me.

I’ve been reading this blog for a while now, possibly since it started, mostly because I loved Heather who used to blog as Queen of Shake-Shake, but who has, I believe stopped blogging for the forseeable future. Which makes me sad, but in the meantime I also began reading Marinka’s blog, Motherhood in NYC and enjoy it immensely.
Anyway, all that aside, I’m a wife and currently at home and so I believe I fit the niche that The Mouthy Housewives is for, plus I do actually find some of the questions interesting and sometimes the answers from readers informative.

What I really don’t appreciate is when there is a question having to do with kids and I choose to give my opinion, that I am automatically, condescendingly criticized for not knowing what I’m talking about cause I don’t have kids.
I mean, why is the assumption that not having kids is the same as not having extensive experience with kids?
Do I have to give my credentials to be considered a valid member of this particular community?
Go read the comments here on this post by a woman who says she feels trapped because she has to spend the summer with her 6 and 8 year old kids.
I made the mistake of saying I didn’t have kids yet and also made the mistake of not listing my qualifications as having worked in childcare for several years and look at the rude responses my comment got. I could practically picture these women rolling their eyes and it really pissed me off.
Because I have spent summers (not only summers, but the whole year) coming up with activities and things to  keep children busy and entertained: kids who aren’t 6 and 8 and able to read or write or swim or do their own arts and crafts and projects or turn on a video or even wipe their own butts by themselves. I probably have more experience dealing with kids than half of the mothers who answer so flippantly before they had kids of their own.
And for those who respond “you don’t know what it’s like until you’ve taken care of kids 24/7/365?”
Well neither do you.
If you use any sort of daycare, the daycare worker most likely spends more time with your child than you do.
I’ve had plenty of parents ask me for advice on how to handle their kids.
And once your kids are old enough to go to school, guess what, you still don’t handle them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day all year.

So women who automatically laugh off or look down your noses at women who don’t have kids yet, but have opinions on other people’s attitudes regarding children, get the fuck over yourselves.

You’re not always in the right just because you’ve pushed one out before I did.

I Should Hate Her But


I totally can’t hate Robyn for her recent song.

I don’t know if Robyn is played at all over in the U.S. but I’ve come to kind of like the dancy little songs the Swedish singer puts out. I mean, her style is, well, Northern European, definitely, but in that kitschy fun way that makes it totally okay that I’m listening to synthesizers. It’s the kind of stuff I’ll be putting on my ipod for when I join a gym in a few weeks to try to slough some of the amassed flubber of pregnancy.

Anyway, I heard Robyn’s voice again on the radio recently with a new song so I looked it up and normally if a singer is convincing her lover to dump his girlfriend I’d be all claws and venomous fangs and “you are evil and promoting the totally wrong end of morality and I will now boycott your next album.”

But I just can’t with this woman. With the cute little haircut and pink shoes and crazy dancing… I just find myself watching it over and over and bobbing my head along. Maybe you’ll like it too.

Mommy’s Mental Health: 101


Dear Baby,
Let me just reiterate here in digital black and white, that change is good.

While I realize that you are probably very happy there in your little portable waterbed with the climate control and the all you can eat buffet, I would just like to remind you that out here there are so many other cool things like colors and flavors and smells and basic physical awareness!
We have books and toys and cuddly blankets and BPA-free stuff to chew on and boobs! Boobs that are so anxious to feed you that they are already staining all of mommy’s nightshirts!
We have a daddy person who you already get excited to hear and who can’t wait to hold you, which will do wonders for mommy’s pelvis and back, which creak and pop every time she attempts to get up from the couch.
We have room to move around! Yes! You can kick and punch and roll out here all you want without making mommy groan or wince or run to the toilet to pee even though she just went five minutes ago and her butt is getting a permanent toilet seat shaped dent in it.

So please, I know everyone is saying you’ve still got another 11 days before it’s time to come out, but if you’re anything like your parents, you are a stubborn over-achiever and if you set your mind to it, I’m sure you can exceed everyone’s expectations. We are all out here waiting for you and even though we’re in Europe, half of you is American, so I expect you to at least be on time, cause where mommy comes from, it’s definitely not fashionable to be late!

38 Weeks


The baby dropped sometime in the last few days. Makes breathing a bit easier, but walking a lot harder. He knows his daddy’s voice and practically does back-flips when he hears Piet talking with his mouth against my belly. Hopefully only 2 more weeks before he makes his debut.

38 Weeks

Like a Flower Needs The Rain


“You need people because…”

Ah. Touché Imagination Prompt Generator, touché.

Just when I was thinking I should probably write a post acknowledging Piet and how great he’s been the last month or two, the prompt generator gives me this topic. Perfect timing.

Now, I’ve read some posts by other pregnant women lauding their husbands for being on the ball with their food cravings, being always willing to go out in the middle of whenever to pick up whatever his wife wants, etc.,etc.

Piet doesn’t do that.
I once asked him if he could bring me back a cheeseburger from Mcdonalds since he was stopping there to eat on  his way home from work and he refused because he felt weird carrying a McDonalds bag on the bus. He did offer to come home, get us both in the car, drive to another McDonalds and eat with me. I turned him down because the key element of my request hadn’t really been the cheeseburger, it had been the me not having to hoist my huge self out of the couch to acquire food in the first place.

What Piet has done, and what he’s pretty much always done, is take care of the multiple administrative odds and ends that come along with having a baby in Belgium. There are so many forms here to fill out when you’re expecting a child and granted several of them are so that you get some extra money to help with baby expenses, but really, when I was juggling the pile of paperwork I had to submit to my health insurance and prod my work to submit to my health insurance to be paid for sick leave I didn’t want to see any other papers/procedures/anything, especially if it was written in Dutch and required signatures and me running across town and back to make copies and drop everything off at the proper place.
Piet took care of all the paperwork he could, on top of applying to several places for options in childcare, doing his regular day job and working on rebuilding the house with his dad. He weathered my temper every time I wasn’t thrilled with the way we were treated by the gynecologist and has been present at every doctors appointment except one, every information session at the hospital, and the important pre natal physical therapy sessions I’ve been attending the last month or two. He basically designed our birth announcement with some images I picked out and we both agreed we liked and lugged dozens of jars home from work for me to fill/decorate for the geboortesuiker thing they do here which I think I mentioned before.

Above all, he’s been amazingly patient with my neurotic tendencies. I made the mistake this week while skimming through some pregnancy websites of reading a thread prefaced with a big *TRIGGER* in front of the topic, but I’m an idiot and I proceeded to read a thread on a pregnancy forum wherein a woman ended up having an emergency c-section to deliver her 38ish week old baby who had suddenly, for no apparent reason, died in-utero.
Which, y’know, was really awesome for me to read since Tuesday I’ll be 38 week pregnant.
So of course the past 3 days or so I’ve been waking up every morning, lying super still and willing the baby to move a bit because if I don’t feel something right away I start panicking and poking my belly and wondering if I should go drink an espresso or something because why won’t you move in there and give me an indication that you’re alive, dammit aaaauuuuuggghhhh!
Or, okay, I definitely felt him moving this morning, but now it’s been a  couple hours and yes I know everyone says you don’t feel babies move as often this late in the pregnancy because there’s not much room left in there, but still, why am I not feeling him now? Should I only worry if I don’t feel him at all or should I start worrying if I haven’t felt him for a few hours or should I just chill out because I’m over reacting and triggertriggertrigger, why did I read that thread?? ACK!!

And while most husbands would’ve probably duct taped their wives mouth shut by now or considered calling the doctor to ask for a safe prescription sedative, Piet is patiently reassuring me and not looking at me like I’m a crazy person when I start shaking my belly or insisting that I drink a cola now because cola makes the baby move and I really need to feel him move right now, okay? Okay??

He’s doing all of the important things. Maybe he doesn’t bow down to my every whim and I admit, at times I was angry because I don’t know, sometimes it seems like some men pretty much do whatever their wife tells them to when they’re pregnant. but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that ok, maybe Piet doesn’t always get me something on his way home from work if I ask for it, but he tells me I look pretty, even when I’m lying in bed in a ratty tank top with my hair sticking out all over the place, complaining about leaky boobs.

I’m not sure how to say it best.
He doesn’t spoil me in those stereotypic ways you hear about or see in movies, but he gives me the kind of emotional support I need (which pretty much every other man in my life prior to him has deemed to be too labor intensive) while keeping my feet on the ground and not letting me get away with thinking I’m entitled to things I’m not.

I need him to keep me sane, especially during these last 2-3 weeks, which are going by excruciatingly slow. He makes me a stronger person and he makes me feel loved. Which I think any woman needs when they’re walking around looking like this:

37 Weeks (June 7, 2011)

Dear Grandma


Dear Grandma,

You’ve been gone nearly eight years now.
I still remember the last telephone conversation I had with you and the things that you said.
I remember standing outside of my sorority suite’s door in the basement of the Turnbull dormitory, holding my cell phone close to my ear, but far from my mouth, trying to listen to your last words to me without you hearing the sobs shaking up out of my chest and through my lips.
You told me to keep my nose clean and to take care of my mom.
I told you I would always do my best to make you proud of me.

We told each other how much we loved each other and I could hear your voice begin to break before I said goodbye and heard the line close.

Would you believe I never ever heard or saw you cry until that day?
I don’t think I realized it until afterwards, but it didn’t surprise me at all.
If you were nothing else at all, you were the epitome of a strong, collected woman. Strength takes many forms, especially in terms of what people consider to be a strong woman, but you; you were made of the same stuff as Queen Elizabeth, Golda Meir, Nefertiti.

That’s what you were. You were regal and there aren’t many people who I’ve crossed paths with in this world who carry themselves with the self-assurance and pride that you did.

I’ve come such a long way from that last phone call Grandma.
I really think part of the reason I didn’t give up on school when everyone else thought I should was because I’d promised to make you proud.
But oh how my heart broke into pieces when I graduated and you weren’t there to see it.

I met a good, smart man.
It took a few years and you probably would’ve been baffled at how I met him, although you were starting to catch on to the internet before you got sick, so maybe you would’ve been less skeptical than I give you credit for.
I think you would’ve liked him Grandma.
Granted you would’ve probably given me a talking to about the fact that he wasn’t Jewish and probably tossed a few “joking but sort of serious” jibes about some of his politics and beliefs.
But in the end I think you would’ve really liked him.

And I think he would’ve liked you too; he definitely would be able to understand my mom better had he met you as well.

I miss you so much still Grandma.

At our wedding in Pittsburgh and now with the baby almost here, I think of you often and I wish you could see the person I’ve grown to be.
I want to feel angry sometimes.
Angry at the way the world works, at the pain and suffering you had before you finally decided it was time to rest.
I used to be furious all the time, but in all honesty, I couldn’t fully appreciate what your time here with me, with us, meant until I was able to finally let go of all of the anger and the venom that kept seeping into me every time I thought of you.

I’ve learned to let go of the regret of not having you around and to embrace the comfort of thinking about you when I wish you could be here.
I’m not a person who believes you’re watching me from above or from some other spiritual plane of existence.
I don’t take solace in thinking that you can somehow see or know anything about my life as it is now.
But when I think of you Grandma, I feel pride and love. I feel like I can draw from the strength you showed me as I was growing up with you taking part in my life.

I feel joy because I carry the good parts of you with me, deep down in my heart.

I think if you knew that then I could be sure that I’d kept my promise to you.
I think you’d be very, very proud.

I love you Grandma. I always, always will.




*inspired by Imagination Prompt Generator: “write a letter to someone you miss greatly”

Baby, Baby, Baby Oooh!




Not only have I not had the baby yet, but I’ll probably get a whole bunch of hits now from scary Bieber lovers.

Not that they’ll actually stay and read, but it’s still a cheap rush to see my hits sky rocket for a day.

But anyway, yeah, as you can see, I guess it’s to the point now where the real counting down starts.
And everyone tells you that the days really start to drag.
And they reeeeaaaaally do.
Although in my case I think it’s also because I haven’t seen my parents in a year and they’ll finally be arriving here on June 23, so not only am I anticipating the arrival of this baby, but also the arrival of my mom and dad who I miss like crazy.

At least I get to talk to my parents once a week but with the baby I’ve pretty much become my 7 year old self, sitting in the back seat of the car on the 9 hour drive to Virginia Beach. I’ve run out of entertaining things to do and now I’m now rocking back and forth and chanting “are we there yet?”
Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of things (reconstruction of our house-wise) that need to be done in the next month. I don’t really have too much to do with that, since it involves knocking down walls with jackhammers and carting away bricks, but I do have something to do with trying to keep the upper two floors somewhat dust-free so that Piet won’t have to worry too much about cleaning for visitors while I’m in the hospital.
I’ve been dusting/sweeping/vacuuming a room a day, although considering I can’t really bend at the waist anymore (or tie my shoes easily or breathe very well after two flights of stairs) and I’ve got all the grace of a stoned hippopotamus, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll even be keeping up on that sluggish pace.

And I’ve been starting to get some pretty strong cramps the past week or so, both in my back but also in my hips and lower abdomen. From what I can tell I guess that’s the infamous Braxton-Hicks you hear so much about. And I’m cool with it. I know it’s normal and I’m gearing up to eject my passenger pretty soon, but first of all, it hurts. It’s not overwhelming or tear jerking, but it does make me stop what I’m doing to try to stretch because OWIE!
Also, sometimes it lasts several minutes and then I start thinking it may actually be the real thing. Which I’m also cool with as long as it happens tomorrow or later because then, even if he is 24 days early, he probably won’t have to spend any time in neonatal care. But obviously, despite the sometimes 5-8 minute long cramps and back pain, it hasn’t been the real thing. Which leaves me somewhat relieved but at the same time, even more anxious for the real thing to start.
Although I’m also kind of afraid for the real thing to start. Because this fake stuff hurts. So I imagine the real thing hurts a lot, lot more and I know for sure it goes on for a long, long time. And I do realize that it’s not worth worrying about, because it’s not like I have any options. This is how babies come out and women do this every day. In fact, plenty of them do it out in the middle of nowhere with no doctor around to help and very little comfort or reassurance.
Comparatively, what I’ll be doing will be cake.
And my brain acknowledges this…until I get another cramp in my back.