Why, Thank You!

Yesterday a co-worker greeted me by saying, "Heather, you LOOK pregnant!"

I think that's the nicest thing you could say to me right now...

Today I want to give thanks for the silly things, the basic things, and some of the things that won't even say "you're welcome" back:

1. Thank you for our wonderful midwives, who spend so much time talking to us at every visit, laugh at our ridiculous jokes (fishfinder, Phil?), and listen patiently to our concerns.
2. Thank you for ribs. St Louis style, to be exact. And while I'm at it, thank you to the Little Red Smokehouse in Carver who provided said ribs in great quantities with dirty rice, chili, and paper towels. I'm sure Phil is thanking whomever that his pregnant wife craves ribs and steak tips, rather than banana sandwiches and spinach roll-ups.
2 1/2. Thank you for ribs.
3. Thank you for my wonderful husband, who understands that when I say "I MIGHT like to go to XYZ sometime," I really mean "I want to go to XYZ." You see, my parents raised me like a lady, so in our house there were never any 'I want's. I learned to put it more politely, like a suggestion. It also meant I was rarely disappointed because people do not like demanding children. But anywhooo, Phil heard one of thos suggestions and surprised me with tickets to the Pats, my first game ever, opening game no less! I LOVE YOU, PHIL!
4. Thank you for ribs...uh, I mean thank you for a wonderful job, great friends, and family. Without these things (and Phil of course) I would not feel so secure and happy, and content. Because of these things, you rarely catch me not smiling.
5. Of course, thank you to my brave little brother Evan, who is serving overseas at this time (Email me for his address if you'd like to write or send the soldiers a care package). Thank you for protecting us, just like our brother, my husband, our father, and our grandfathers have done.

Back to knitting. I just spotted a wonderful book on the Interweave site that I might like to have. It includes this adorable sweater, named Kai. Now, Kai is one of those names on my radar, because it pertains to the ocean. The feminine version is "kaia" which would make a lovely middle name, as in 'Lily Kaia Rand.' We are not hawaiian, however, so I think that choice would be met with derision and/or teasing.

That doesn't mean I can't make the sweater! How cute is that?

Fuzzy Feet, Jumping Munchkins and North End Chowin'

I was working away at the sleeves of my sweater last night (well, not really) and enjoying my fuzzy legwarmers when I had a warm, fuzzy moment of reminiscing. Reminiscing usually pertains to thinking of something in the distant past, but in this case I was thinking back to the last wonderful weekend. If I had a mental checklist of the things I love to do the most, I would have all the items checked off by sunday night:

Eating new and interesting foods? ...check
Laughing with good friends? ...check
Playing with my adorable nieces and nephews?...check

The list goes on, but the happy montage playing in my head last night goes a little something like today's post. Silly moments, like watching my husband pig-pile with Casey and Cassandra with little Alexandra wobbling her way over to join in. Laughing as we pretended to make the big announcement while my mother was rushing up the driveway, an adorable pout on her face.

Chasing around the North End band on a friday night, trying to spot the statue of St. Anthony in the crowd. Looking quizzically at a ball of food called arrancini, daring one another to try it first.

People-watching from the window at Carmen's, my fave little restaurant in the north end, where you can sample great wines while nibbling on sauteed sweet red peppers, olives, and marinated fiddleheads.

When all is said and done, I am entirely exhausted from the last weekend, but happily so. Its fortunate that in three days I could spend time alone with Phil (and most of the Boston italian community), time with friends, and plenty of time with our family. Could I do it again next weekend?

I don't think so!

Boy boy boy!

Its public- we're having a little boy! I couldn't possibly be any happier. We broke the news to our family last night at Phil's birthday party, in writing, on a cake. It was hard to keep the secret that long, but we did it. Everyone was happy, especially my brother who seemed to just love talking about his soon-to-be nephew. It was also great to have my entire family around (sans Evan..) for one evening. Phil was glowing, but then again it might have been my super homemade sangria...

My niece Alexandra celebrated by showering us with baby kisses.

Backtrack to saturday-I really have to mention the beautiful wedding we attended for another of my Fab 5 buddies. It was made even more fantastic by the company we kept- our close friends, and the men that were by my husband's side while he served in Iraq. Noreen and Mike had a simply justice of the peace ceremony two years ago, as their wedding plans were cancelled by Mike's impending deployment. I am so pleased they were finally able to celebrate their marriage and have a huge reception for friends and family. But what reception would be complete without bumping into an old classmate from those awkward jr. high years? Oh yes, the pleasure was NOT mine when I was recognized by Colleen, a former teammate of the soccer team, and member of the popular/cheerleader clique back in 1988.

Very awkward, especially when I noted a severe communication problem between us. She had trouble understanding me, I guess, and I could not tell whether it was due to the speakers behind us or the fact that she was completely wasted.

A Basketcase

Before I begin, Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband! I hope he has a fantastic birthday weekend-beginning with some fun tonight in the North End at the St. Anthony's Feast and culiminating in a bit o' cake and ice cream on sunday with the entire fam-damily. I love you honey!

My house is being taken over by baskets. It appears that I cannot drive/walk past a HomeGoods, Christmas Tree Shop, or even Pier1 without saying "OOH! That basket would be perfect for my (yarn, shoes, bathroom closet, husband's collection of baseball hats, empty wine bottles...)!"

I was talking to Phil, in fact, about women and our predilection for hobbies that require collecting massive amounts of supplies. In quilting, for instance, I'm always keeping my eyes open for interesting fabrics to give Blogless Sharon in her Christmas stocking, regardless of what projects she has already. In any craft or hobby we acquire, women need space. Space for supplies, space for the completed works, space for just working on the not-yet-completed works. Phil calls us 'hoarders' and I explain to him after every trip to the LYS how I carefully controlled my urge to buy six skeins of baby alpaca for which I may not have any purpose for years to come. Meanwhile, I have stashed 2 skeins of yummy merino or angora blend hidden under the bed...

Luckily, baskets are quite pretty, and yarn is darn cute too when artfully arranged in said basket like a bowl of round fuzzy fruit.

(Well, you might have hoped I could tell you what Phil and I are having after our ultrasound last night. And I can. But I won't. Not until we break the news to our families on sunday! I can tell you, however, that the little babe is quite healthy and active, has ten fingers and ten toes, and has a MUCH better profile than before!)

What Would Your Mother Say?!

Super-pumpkin ankle warmers are almost done, but most importantly, today is THE BIG DAY. Possibly. Hopefully. Mr & I finally get to see another ultrasound, and hopefully our little one looks a little more human than last time. I'm still a bit creeped out from the first peek we had, when our little guy/gal looked like a strange cross between Abe Lincoln and an alien. Eww.

So until then, I am on pins and needles all day. Even the blur of work to be done this morning isn't helping much. When will 3:30 get here, dammit?

Well, yesterday I was driving to work and saw this van next to me. Normally at 7AM I am too sleepy to read, but somehow the word 'erection' caught my eye. Now who would do such a thing? Sure its funny, but so crude. The ironic part, is that this wonderful slogan was last seen cruising into D-el-uxbury.

Belly Up!

Finally, Blogger decides to cooperate and allow me to post some photos!

Behold the wool blend I picked up over the weekend! I'm already halfway through it, making some frivolous leg-warmers. This color made me so happy, I had to have it, even though its 45% acrylic. Yet another purchase we can blame on the hormones. There's no cute name for the dye lot, so I call this color 'happy pumpkin' and am certain the leg-warmers will keep me toasty this fall....

Luckily, my LYS had a few skeins of the Miracle left, so I don't have to cheat on the sleeves of my dreaded sweater. But that's another tale for another day.

Since time is just a-flyin' and the belly is starting to show, I thought it might be funny to track the progress and measure it month-by-month. Keep in mind, this is not any attempt to boast, but more my coping mechanism for dealing with the MASSIVE change to the one part of my body that has always been under my control-my stomach. I'll admit that my upper arms, legs and thighs have been a different story. They seem to do what they want, despite my darndest efforts at strict dietary discipline and a nearly abusive weekly sculpting class at the gym. But my stomach has always complied, and its with the greatest effort that I have been able to resign myself to the fact that it will be the most prominent part of my body for a very long time! ACK! Double ACK! But with a good sense of humor, I find I don't really care anymore-its nothing I can control, and who knows if it will ever be the same. And who really cares?! I'm 32 dammit, and I should have more important things on my mind and my self-image should be reflective more of my personality and interests, rather than how skinny I can be.

How did it get this bad? How did I get to be so shallow? Was it from reading too many magazines? Watching too much MTV? Too many episodes of Top Model?

Not at all. It's simply that these things had never been put in perspective before. In truth, I was vain. Self-centered, my body consciousness weighed in far above the things that truly matter. Well, it feels fantastic to let that flawed thinking go. To just give in to such an important event. It's about time, my father would say. So here's to shaking the tree- changing up things, taking an unexpected route, and the many adventures that life brings. I just can't wait to see what happens next!

Oh, and the belly wasn't really big enough to brag about yet. Just 32 inches, but I know I'll be poppin' any day now. So we'll consider that the starting point.

Mean Girls

(Blogger stinks today, so this comes to you without photos)

What do you get when you hire a bunch of attorneys and legal assistants fresh out of college? A very cruel and catty staff. This was the kind of atmosphere our office had over a year ago. I can certainly say that I was never a part of this problem. I can also say that I kept a wide berth from those I suspected to be particularly cruel. Let's face it-you KNOW who they are. You know by the way they look at you, or the insincere expressions on their faces when you or others speak.

Our particularly worst crew would gather every friday at a local watering hole after work, never really inviting outsiders unless they needed fuel or fodder for gossip later. The female leader of this group once bragged that she invited one particular co-worker along so they could ask her questions and laugh about her answers later. They spread rumors that our supervisors were involved in sordid affairs, and hinted that those in power came to their positions by blackmail. If you disagreed or reported them to the administration, you were taunted and called a 'traitor.' One newcomer who did this lasted barely three months, fled the company, and as far as I know quit her pursuits in the field of law immediately. Those members of the malicious crew rejoiced in her downfall. I know this sounds ridiculous for a bunch of adults, but it is true. I like to think I was overlooked by this group, but of course that isn't the case.

The good thing about gossips is that they are weak and shallow. Their loyalties equally so. So when the group split and went their own professional ways, the remaining people involved slowly disseminate the rumors, until we were all fully aware of what things were said against us. Apparently, my 'flashiness' was not overlooked, and the female leader of this group was fond of pointing it out. I learned that I was ridiculed to this point, and nicknamed 'sashay'...perhaps because of my flair? Or do I resemble a bag of lavender you would toss in a dresser drawer? I don't know-I don't really get it, so I doubt it really amused them for long.

In honor of these nasty people, I dedicate my aquisition from this weekend: bright pumpkin wool. Currently be used in the creation of legwarmers that will secretly be worn under my dress pants at work and keep me toasty. When I think of those mean people, I might even let them show a little.


So I have one nearly finished sweater-just two short ribbed sleeves to go. This could be a 1 hour jobbie and then voila...FO. Just one problem-I'm procrastinating. Not sure why. It could be due to the shortage of yarn. I am down to 2/3rds of a skein, and no scale handy to ensure I have allowed enough for both sleeves. But that could be fixed easily with one trip to the store and a quick purchase of a kitchen scale. Nope. It could be easy-in fact I could have finished tuesday. Instead I am more comfortable staring at the sweater on my coffeetable for a few days, savoring the chance to watch Project Runway (Alison's gone? Nooo!!) with my hands free.

Is it self-doubt? After all, the majority of sewing projects I have completed have resulted in nothing better than a few tank tops and dresses that would suit me better as nightgowns. Will my knitting be the same? Will I be forced to find a creative use for knitting as I find myself afraid to wear my FO's in public? Am I afraid that after all this work this lovely sweater may be relegated to the bottom of my sweater pile?

Behold bunnies: just to cheer you up. It works for me.

Why hasn't anyone thought of this yet?

Late Night knit shop? When you just can't face that never-ending project, but all other shops are closed...

Someone needs to look into this...


I'm back, and cheery as ever, thanks to the wonderful preggie hormones surging through me, and my lovely friends known as the fab 5. Christie orchestrated a little field trip to Nashoba Valley Winery last weekend, and as luck may have it, it's also the season for peaches.

Jen, Noreen, Christie and I took the quick hop down 495 on saturday, most excited because it was the perfect day. We had a fantastic lunch, and the girls sampled some wines with thir meal. Then it was off for a tour of the winery and a tasting of course. But my favorite part was picking peaches in the orchard. Don't ask me why, but I had decided to dress rather Zsa-Zsa-esque, but it could be because I feel able to get away with anything now that I'm preggo.

And I have to include a picture of my nearly finished sweater- the hazy weather of the past few weeks really slowed me down. The last thing I wanted to do in that heat was touch softy and warm Alpaca-I was happier with a glass of soda water and lime over ice in my hands. Poor Phil began begging for an air-conditioner again. And Scout? Well, he did his best impersonation of a rug for about four days, with only breaks for eating.

These crisp nights have allowed me to return to the project, and I'm hoping to have it done by the 24th. This would be the wondrous date we possibly find out whether we're having a Phil jr or Heather jr....

Bad Girl!

I know I know.. I was an absentee blogger last week. This morning I woke up with a blog-idea in my head, BUT I forgot the cable for my camera, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. Until then, here are my excuses for being blogless. Pick whichever you prefer:

* The alien growing in my belly inhibits my ability to think creatively.
* I was, without warning, promoted to a new position (without adequate compensation I must add) and I've been too darn busy to do the things I enjoy.
* Little bro' Evan was deployed to god-knows-where last tuesday, and it was a somber week to say the least. You wouldn't need a downer of a post, would you?
* The gypsies came and took me away to their little camp in the moutains.
* Mom and Dad went to Sturgiss, SD for bike week and I've spent every waking moment watching the news in case they get into some kind of trouble, those crazy kids.
* I ate pita chips until I fell into a happy chip- and hummus- induced sleep for several days.
* Four words: Back to School Sales.
* Inspired by the Rick Springfield/Eddie Money concert I saw on thursday I decided to quit my job and become a Journey groupie. (Sept 23rd!!!!!)

See you tomorrow with some crazy pictures of peaches, and that sweater I love to hate.

I Know it When I Get Hooked..

...on a new hobby, that is. This weekend we went to Winter Island in Salem to participate in the bassfishing shootout I talked about last week. It was more of a kayak retreat for me. Based on the tides, the participants were constantly on the water, silently trolling for bass and blues (no luck on the latter.)

Crawling out of the tent at 6AM, sliding quietly into the water for a relaxing 5-hour paddle, startling a school of MAAD pogies, this was the epitome of fun. I think the other wives and girlfriends I met were very sweet, but SHAME on you ladies for staying earthbound with a chance like this!

I am impressed with the New England Kayak Fishing crew for many things-first, I just love the guys. They were welcoming, warm and friendly; not the slightest bit intimidating. They were also organized-the competition ran without a hitch, with members coming from as far as Connecticut to compete. They were great sportsmen, and should give kayak fishermen a good name. At the culmination of the event, the winners were presented with plaques, and due to increasing sponsorship, every participant won a prize in the raffle. One lucky fella walked away with this:

A Prowler, donated by Ocean Kayak. I was jealous. By this time I had decided to 'get on the boat' and try it out for myself-there's still plenty of time in this season to get started, after all.

Saturday evening we slid into the water as the sun had just set, me in my sturdy (non-fishing) craft and about 8 others in their shmancy equipped sit-on-top Prowlers and Tarpons, hoping to catch some post-contest action along the rocks by Salem Willows. As the moon rose and the water became jet black I briefly regretted watching too much of Discovery Channel during Shark Week.... As the guys dropped their bait, we quietly paddled in a broken line between the boats at rest in the harbor, each kayak distinguishable by a tiny beacon.

Now where's that Cabela's catalog?

If you happen to read any of the major Boston-area newspapers on December 19, 2005 you might remember this picture.

I keep a copy in my desk and look at it from time to time. It marks the end of one of the greatest challenges of my life; being separated from my husband for 18 months and facing the fear of him being hurt in combat.

My husband is a member of the Massachusett's National Guard, and had volunteered the previously year to join a unit being sent to Iraq. Our family waited patiently for his return, amidst stories of mortar & rocket attacks, long days of convoys, and long periods of time where we were unable to hear from or speak to him.

When he emerged from the bus after this ordeal I was waiting in the cold december morning air, freezing because I was determined to look adorable rather than warm for our first reunion since his 2-week leave. We held onto each other for sooo long, and I can still feel that rush of joy when I see him every day. I just want to share this so you can say you personally know someone who has served in combat, or someone who's most loved one has served. This sacrifice that my husband made has changed our lives profoundly. I do not look at even the simplest things without feel grateful that we have just another day together.

I can't say that I'll never let go of him again-our country needs men like Phil, and I knew this was his calling from the very beginning. No doubt the choices he makes in his future career will always be determined by how much he could possibly serve the community domestically or overseas (most likely the latter). But I can say that I will ALWAYS treasure the love that we have, and be grateful that we were granted by the grace of God more time together.

And of course, I finally was ready to have children.

I Caught You a Delicious Bass...

Woohoo! Two more days before the New England Kayak Fishing Mass Bay Striper shootout in Salem, MA!

Hanging Up The Dancing Shoes

My friends are loads of fun- they take kayak crash-courses with me, venture into new types of restaurants and experience mouth-blazing spicy food with me. They dress up like crazy people on Halloween nights, and try all sorts of different hobbies with me. Much more than just your average partying/drinking crowd.

Last year we began going to a salsa club every week, learning to dance. Despite having two left feet, I had a great time. To be honest, its not too scary. If you have a great lead, you can fool anyone into thinking you have some latina in your blood. It involves a lot of hip movement, but when everyone else is shakin' it, you don't feel so auspicious.

I organized a get-together among my friends for a salsa cruise in Boston last sunday, after a long break from the nightclub routine of last summer. It seemed like a lot of fun would be had by all, but unfortunately I just wasn't able to get my butt on that boat. It turns out, salsa-burnout is hard to overcome. As I was standing next to The Landing a smirking man oozed by me, and wickedly said "I hope you're coming on the cruise, because I really want to dance with you." He had the charisma of an encyclopedia salesman, but apprently the skin-tight shirt he was wearing gave him some sort of superpower, or the ability to outsleeze every woman in sight with the simplest glance. My skin crawled. I looked fervently towards the sidewalk for my friends. I begged myself to be strong and forget the smarmy sound of his voice.

Unfortunately, I've just lost that lovin' feeling for the dance. It's time to hang up the salsa shoes.

With the new preggie-bod I may be well suited for bellydancing, though. And I know exactly who would like to try it with me. :)

And the Winners Are...

Back to the Barnstable County Fair! I took some snapshots of the winning skeins and projects. Maybe you could say I was just scoping out the competition....Talk about yummy- and great uniformity. I do have to say, however, that most of the work I've seen from the blogcrew would win by a more-than-safe margin. Here's the blue-ribbon and red-ribbon finalists in the woolly bear category (of course I just made that up.) I thought they were just lovely, but of course that's because they were in their natural shades, which are my favorite.Then they had some adorable blankets and sweaters. Again, I say we could all offer some serious competition...

Tomorrow perhaps I'll give you a peek at my favorite quilts from the fair...