I was feeling wishful.
I packed a bag with my workout clothes. It seemed about time for my bi-weekly trip to the gym for TV watching on the elliptical machine.

It was flurrying outside, which they said would later turn to rain, so I packed an umbrella. I packed my lunch (leftover Thai food from the night before). And a snack. And some cosmetics (in case I needed to get gussied up). And my knitting project. And a sweater. And a bottled water.

Then I decided that the bag was too big and heavy. Did I really think I was going to exercise? I can barely keep my eyes open by 6 pm. I decided that physical health would have to take a back seat to my desire to eat snacks and go to bed early. So I moved everything except for the gym clothes into a smaller tote. Then I put on my coat, grabbed the bag, and left.

On the train, I reached in the bag for my knitting project and pulled out — a running shoe.

No lunch. No umbrella. No water bottle. No sweater. Shame washed over me. I felt stupid and hungry and started to cry.

I am doing this kind of thing all the time now. It's like there's a hole in my head. I'm lucky that I remember to put on my underwear under my clothes. Or at all.

I hate that I feel so unlike my normal self. And I hate that once I get my normal self back, my life will be anything but normal again. Not that my normal self was such great shakes. But at least I didn't nod off in the middle of the day and drool into my keyboard.

My friend Brian wrote this for Gawker: Actually, Yes, I Do Mind Taking Off My Shoes. I thought it was cute.

I also thought this was funny: A man with a sweater composed of twisted up newspapers. I think he's wearing a newspaper turban as well.

I saw Mr. Garbage Sweater on the train a while ago and surreptitiously snapped a picture with my crappy camera phone. I've been meaning to post it for some time. I love when people reclaim refuse and make it into stylish ensembles.


I sent a photo from the "Uppercase B" collection to my family.
My grandmother just wrote back:

Not at all what I expected. You look great! Lovely smile; great shape; nice bosom; a small belly! What more do you want? Love and kisses?

I guess it is nice, but I annoyed that she is so fixated on my bosom. I can't remember if I ever (or often) blogged about it, but when we were still living in Uncle Ira's apartment, she would sometimes invite me up and offer to give me her old work clothes. She would have me try on old blouses of hers that looked like they could have been stolen off the set of Tootsie.

As I was pulling the blouse over my head, she would begin reminiscing about how professional it had made her look and how she always liked what it did for her figure. She would say things like, "The plunge neckline really accentuated my bosom...."

Then she would break from her reverie and look over at me. The plunge neckline would be down to my knees. She would then grimace and say in bitter disappointment, "I forgot: You don't really have much of a bosom."

When I first began showing a few months ago, the first thing my grandmother seemed to notice was not my swollen belly, but that I was "finally developing a bosom." I love my grandmother, but I feel this bosom-fixation of hers is creepy.

By the way, I don't know if it is my eyes or a trick of the camera, but my belly really isn't so small. I have been asked multiple times by people with little tact if I am carrying twins, and a woman recently told me that I was way "way too big" for five and a half months. Oh well.

Navel Gazing

I had always suspected that things were getting stuck in my bellybutton.
But I could never prove it. My navel was not easily probed. And I was afraid if I poked around too much, I would end up getting an infection.

One of the things that pregnancy has brought me has been a sort of glastnost of the bellybutton. As my skin has stretched, it has pulled my navel open. And wouldn't you know — I found something stuck inside!

I have no idea what it was, but it was small and gray and was not lint. It's gone now.

I was very contented to be able to see to the bottom of my bellybutton. But nothing is forever, and the next phase has already begun. My bellybutton is disappearing altogether. I find this disturbing.

A number of people have requested pictures of me as I inflate like a lumpy balloon with a thyroid problem. Fine.

I made Brian take pictures of me a couple of weeks ago posing with objects we found around our apartment. Here are two:

And here is one a photographer took this weekend at a work event. I am doing my impression of an uppercase "B":

I hope this lets me off the hook for a while to grow large and uncomfortable outside of the public eye.

Backpacks and other large containers are subject to random search by the police

My bags were subject to random search this morning.
On my way into the R train I was stopped by a police officer and asked to open my bags for a random investigation. When I opened my tote bag, the police officer rolled his eyes and waved it away.

I was a little surprised I had been chosen at all. Were they just counting? I'm assuming it wasn't due to profiling. I am now visibly pregnant enough, even in my winter coat, to warrant seat offers on the train (these offers have all from women. Most men appear to be too busy sitting with their legs splayed, airing out pants, to offer me a seat).

When I got on the train, I replayed the random search in my head. Did I look suspicious? Did they choose a pregnant woman just to prove how random their searches were? Why did the police officer roll his eyes? I peeked inside my tote and surveyed the contents. Two bags of flavored rice cakes, a container of yogurt raisins, a half-eaten biscuit from this morning, and a bottle of water.

How disheartening for the officer. Trying to thwart terrorist, and all you find is a pregnant lady with a tote bag full of snack food.

Dream of Running

Last night I had a dream I was running.
I was participating in some sort of road race, and I was running and running, and I said to myself, Wow, I'm in such good shape!

I was wearing a pair of shorts that I have had since high school. There have been times when I couldn't fit into them. But they looked great now. Wow, I said, I'm really fit.

I kept running. Down streets and up hills. I started to get really exhausted. But I kept running, maybe just to prove what great shape I was in.

Then I woke up to discover I as was as large and formless as a Barbapapa. The entire left side of my body ached from being tensed in sleep. And I had to pee something awful.

Why did I dream of those shorts? I don't even like wearing shorts.

It seems that Florida has frozen over. I've been hearing about a new, sexy phenomenon: frozen iguanas falling out of trees. My mom even sent me a picture of her friend Eleanor with her comatose catch.

It makes me a little wistful for home.

Happy 01 11 10! Today is a palindrome day. And the date looks like a line of an early computer program. Yay!

It's a Bris!

Very early into our anatomy scan the woman asked us if we wanted to find out the sex.
"YES!" we said.

"BOY!" she said. "See. XY. Right there." And she pointed at the screen and printed out a picture of our fetus's genitals.

"Oh, god," I said. "We're going to have to have a bris."

The woman looked startled by my response and asked if I were in pain. "No," I said. "I'm fine."

I felt strangely sad.

She asked me to turn on my side a little. I did. I saw a calendar on the wall with cute little cartoons of the Chinese zodiac animals. I said, "I like that calendar. It's adorable. The new year is coming up. What's the animal this time?"

"Tiger," she said. "You're having a tiger boy."


"Everyone wants a tiger boy. Tiger boys are brave and strong. Everyone wants a tiger boy."

"Strong? Is there a sheep boy? I think I'd rather have a sheep boy."

I felt even lower. My crazy kid would be strong too. At least she didn't say "violent."

I asked her if her arm got tired, and she said yes, her arm and her eyes. She said in her career, after ten years, people need their elbow replaced, and after 15 years, the shoulder. "How awful!" I said.

"It's good your skinny," she said. "I don't have to press as hard. With chunky mommy it's more difficult."

I said, "Well, thank you! That's the nicest thing I've heard all day. I was concerned. I've already gained 16 pounds....

"No. 16 pounds is too much. You don't gain 16 pounds."

But I did. I'm up 16 pounds already. Is that bad?

"Very bad. 16 is no good. It's too much."

"But you said I was a skinny mommy."

It seemed like everything was conspiring against me. When we left the office, I started to cry. I was crying mostly because I felt I should feel happy, but I didn't. I cried because I felt there was something wrong with me.

I feel much better today. Though still physically uncomfortable. And hungry.


Someone asked me how far along I was.
I told them almost twenty weeks. And then I complained about how big I felt and I tired I was.

There was a pause, and then the person said, "What about the sex?"

I turned red and looked at my shoes. Isn't that what got me into this situation in the first place?

The person looked confused by my response. "... Of the baby? Do you know the sex of the baby yet?"

I was mortified by my error. "No," I stammered. "Not yet."

We find out tomorrow if the Schweller fetus is a boy or a girl. That's what I tell people. I say "we're finding out if it's a boy or a girl" and not "we're finding out the sex" or "we're finding out the gender."

"Sex" is dangerous. But so is "gender." Many see gender as a construct. When I try to say "finding out the gender" I immediately picture my fetus made up like a loud tranny. I feel like language is giving me bad karma. I think I may begin saying "We're finding out what out kind of genitals our fetus is carrying.

I suppose it will just be nice to know that they're definitive. If they can tell us such a thing. Life promises be difficult for our fetus if it should have non-specific genitals.

I worry about our fetus's development. About eating right and doing what they tell me to do so it develops well. I probably worry to much. My friend Sam had some good insight. He said, "Don't worry. You'll have plenty of time to f*ck up the kid after it's born.

Wish us luck tomorrow.

The Note

I took notice of him because he appeared to have a ukulele coming out of his backpack.
It was in a soft case. I had recently bought a couple of cases for Brian for his ukulele, which he had been storing in an oddly-shaped box. I had had no idea that ukuleles came in different sizes, which was why I ended up buying a second when the first turned out to be ridiculously too small.

This case looked about the size of the first case I had bought for Brian. I was thinking about my poor gift choices and of the different sizes of ukuleles I now know to exist (soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone), when a folded index card fell out of the stranger's backpack.

At least, I thought it did.

We were walking out of the subway. The card seemed clean and new. I stopped to pick it up. Then hesitated. Was I being too creepy? Did it really fall out of the backpack, or was it there all the time? I picked it up, and there were two short lines of writing on the card.

I ran after the fellow with the ukulele in his backpack. I said, "I think you dropped this. I think it fell out of your backpack."

He looked at me bewildered, as if to say, "I have no idea what you're talking about." But then he took the index card from me and unfolded it. I could see most of the writing now. In a bubbly hand there was written something like, "Brad, Call me." Then there was a heart drawn on it and a telephone number.

I said, "Maybe it wasn't yours. I thought it was, but maybe it was already there." I was feeling very confused. I am often getting lost enough in my own thoughts that I have no idea what's going on around me.

The fellow smiled and said, "No. It's mine. How weird. It's definitely mine." He looked silly with secret joy. As I scurried away, he mumbled again, "How weird."

I tried to replay everything in my head as if I knew more than I really did. I tried to see a girl writing that note. I tried to see her gingerly tucking it into Brad's backpack so he would be sure to find it. But what if I hadn't picked it up? Would she had ever found out that it was because she hadn't shoved it in good that it fallen out and Brad would have had no idea it ever existed? And what about Brad? Where was he coming from with that ukulele (probably a soprano)? Did that note change his evening. Does he even know who it was from? I didn't see anyone else's name on it. What if he thought it was from one girl, but it was really from another?

Writing this story in my head was way more interesting than editing the one I had already written but which still wasn't working right. I was glad I decided to pick up the note.