Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

I decided to suck it up and work today instead of taking a vacation day. BigFinance is closed for Thanksgiving but not Black Friday. You'd think they would want to do their part and encourage us to go shopping but apparently not. DH gets the day off and I'm very jealous.

But in a way, it's a good thing that I am working and hundreds of miles away from my family and closest friends. That way, I don't shop as much! I am very thankful that, aside from my diminishing retirement account, DH and I haven't had to worry too much about the economy. We're both still employed with no sign of impending layoffs (fingers and toes crossed). While we have been spending more than usual to get the nursery ready we are still able to save and I can splurge on the newest fantasy fiction books.

I've completed most of my Christmas shopping (I know, don't hate me!) primarily because I've been in nesting mode for the past two months and want everything to be done. DH and I set limits for each other and we are being more frugal with the other presents. I am going to make Christmas cookies again this year (I will try to make the bow for the wreaths this year so back off A. and Mommy, Esq!) and give those out as small gifts around the office. I anticipate that this Christmas will be under $1,000 which is a good thing. I'd like it to be even less but DH and I both have big families with lots of little ones. It's hard to resist buying for the kids!

When I was getting ready for work this morning I heard a report on the radio that this Black Friday should be pretty good for both retailers and consumers. Apparently prices are extremely low (thanks deflation!) and there are fewer shopping days before Christmas. The big push is to have consumers spend so we can start righting the economy. One of the reasons the US economy has been so stable is because consumers have spent, regardless of economic situations. The savings rate went from 9% of disposable income in 1985 to almost nothing today. But now there is a resurgence for "economizing" and people are not spending as much. While that's good for us individually to save, it is not good for the economy as a whole.

How about the rest of you? Are you also cutting back this year? Any good cost cutting tips?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why does everything have to be "improved"?

Last night while watching Boston Legal, DH and I saw a commercial for Monopoly. I love that game. When my sisters and I were in elementary school we used to play all the time. We had marathon games that would go for days. We would play before and after school and were always careful to collect our property cards and money and bring it with us so no cheating was permitted. Fairness is extremely important when you are a triplet. Just ask my mom.

But now Parker Brothers has come out with a new and improved version: electronic banking. I was horrified enough to play on the latest edition with rents reaching $4M and tokens like a Starbucks coffee cup. "But this version has been updated to reflect changes in how the real world uses money: All transactions are conducted with Monopoly's new banking card system."

Gah. Really? Is this what we've come to? Is paper and coin money soon to go the way of other types of currency? Will we only be using electronic money? In Japan they use debit cards to purchase chips out of vending machines. With electronic money will our kids every really learn the value of a dollar? It's hard enough to keep them from getting spoiled but now we have to worry about them not understanding the difference between a ten dollar bill and a hundred bill because it is a number on a screen and not a physical bill.

One other thing I would note about this new game is that it doesn't allow the customizations that many of us have with Monopoly. Free Parking would probably be a thing of the past. Good or bad? Depends on how recently you lost because someone landed on it.

Has anyone played with this version yet? Is it really any better? I wonder if BigFinance worked with them to set up the electronic banking...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

All hail the king...

King bed that is!

Like most of you, I spent the majority of my sleeping hours over my lifetime in a twin size bed. It appears as though kids today are more likely to have a full or queen sized bed unless they share a room but I am old school. I never knew what I was missing until my post graduate year at Carnegie Mellon. I rented my own apartment and purchased a queen sized bed from a nice Indian couple in Squirrel Hill. It took a few months for the faint curry smell to disappear but the extra room more than made up for it.

And so another decade passed and I found myself sharing a queen bed with a husband and dog. Yes, we let our dog sleep with us and wouldn't have it any other way. Charlie is an excellent sleeper and rarely moves or makes noises during the night. That is more than I can say for some other people! Just kidding, dear.

But when we bought our house in Charlotte we decided it was time to upgrade to a king bed. The queen would be relegated to the guest room (I am thrilled to even have a guest room). I figured that with all that room I would have plenty of space to sprawl out. The reality? Not so much. Now that my burgeoning belly has required me to sleep on my side the dog has decided that I am his pillow. And so gradually over the course of the night he snuggles closer and I end up with about 9 inches of space on the bed. That's OK for now at 22 weeks but give me another month and I'll need at least 10 inches :-)

I do not plan on co-sleeping with the baby or permitting her to sleep with us when she's older. She'll just have to realize that we love the dog more than her. Either that or we will have to order an even bigger bed. And I'm not sure the room is big enough for that!

When we head up to Massachusetts for the holidays DH and I will be sharing a full sized bed with Charlie. I am not looking forward to that at all. It's hard to downsize, isn't it? How about the rest of you? Any couples out there who prefer tighter quarters? Or do you let your kids sleep with you?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Movement and other baby updates

As of this past Saturday I am officially at 22 weeks. I can't believe I still have another 18 +/- weeks to go! This 40 weeks for a pregnancy is a killer. I've been pregnant for like 6 months already and have 4 more to go! And of course most people think that a pregnancy is 9 months so every time I say I'm due at the end of March I get a weird look like, "You look pretty big for 5 months" and "Haven't you been pregnant for a really long time?"

According to my weekly pregnancy update the baby is now the length of a spaghetti squash. Um, what the hell kind of vegetable is that? Mommy, Esq's husband used to feature the vegetable or fruit of the week in their meals. How cute is that?

Spaghetti Squash - yum?!?

I should also expect to start seeing stretch marks (every woman's dream) and experiencing leg cramps. The coolest thing so far is that I'm pretty sure I felt the baby move for the first time last night. Either that or it was a really bad case of indigestion! It's taken me a long time because apparently I have an anterior placenta which makes it harder to feel movement from the fetus. But now that she's the size of a spaghetti squash she's big enough kick around the placenta. It kind of felt like a muscle spasm. But it needs to happen again so that I can be sure. I had some ice cream last night so I guess that means I'll have to sacrifice myself and do it again tonight...

I have another ultrasound tomorrow because the technician couldn't get a good picture of the heart during the anatomy ultrasound. I better not hear that it's now a boy because I've spent way too much money on a feminine nursery!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Yesterday was my last day of Green Belt training. Our class was apparently wicked smart and zoomed through the material which meant that we didn't need to go in for Friday's half day session. Considering the material was very basic I was relieved to only have one more full day of DMAIC.

Per usual I was ready to go around 7 AM. After finding out that DH ate the last bagel I knew I had to stop for breakfast on my way or I would never make it to lunch time. Doesn't he know to never, ever take food from a pregnant woman? DH had kindly started my car on Wednesday morning as we are getting down below freezing at night and my car is parked in the driveway. I decided it would be a good idea for me to do the same thing on Thursday morning. So I popped out of the house and down the four stairs to the driveway. The only problem? The leaves had piled up in that corner of the driveway and I missed the last step.

Now one could argue that it was my natural clumsiness or lack of attention (both valid) but I am blaming the fall on the pregnancy. Isn't clumsiness a common thing with a shift in center of gravity? I landed on my butt and wrenched my left ankle. I'm not really sure how it happened but it did. After a minute of swearing, I hauled myself up and started the car. It was slightly painful but not a big deal. I was hardly limping.

I went back in, bitched to DH about it and went on my merry way. What I wasn't prepared for was the 9 hours in class that allowed the ankle to stiffen up completely and made a minor injury into an extremely painful one. I managed to hobble out for lunch but by 4:30 I could barely make it the 30 feet to the bathroom. It took me about 15 minutes to walk back to my car (as opposed to the normal 5) and a security guard lapped me twice.

DH was kind enough to go grocery shopping without me which is good because I would have been moaning through the aisles the whole time. I rested with my ankle propped up and am happy to report that I'm doing much better today. Still a little sore (and now my right leg is too from trying to take all the weight off my left one) but I can manage stairs and trips to the kitchen for food. And really, isn't that the most important thing?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Clear skin at last

I was very disappointed to find out that clear skin is not every mother's gift. Instead, if you were likely to break out during regular cycles you will continue to do so throughout pregnancy. So basically over the past 21 weeks I have had to battle blemishes. Most of them are probably due to the massive amounts of ice cream and chocolate I've been ingesting but even accounting for that I've had far too many. I am also lacking the luxurious hair that so many other pregnant women get, but that's another story. Thank goodness the pre-natal vitamins have given me really healthy nails!

Over the past two weeks I have experimented with a new skin care regime that has been paying off dividends. I have been blemish free for those two weeks and hope it will continue. What is different? Moisturizing in the evenings.

My morning routine hasn't varied: gel daily facial cleanser and daily SPF moisturizer. I switched to a RoC moisturizer about 6 months ago. Specifically RoC Age Diminishing Daily Moisturizer SPF 15. It retails for about $15 for a 3 oz bottle. When I turned 30 I decided that the increasing laugh lines requires "Age Diminishing." I'll probably dump the gel cleanser once it runs out because really, who needs two cleansers?

The big change has been adding an evening routine. Even if I don't wear make-up (never do on weekends and the number of days during the week is creeping up) I still wash with a cream cleanser. I picked up L'Oreal RevitaLift Radiant Smoothing Cream Cleanser, a steal at $7 for 5 oz. The cream based cleanser works just as well as the gel one but feels a lot gentler on my skin. I then use Neutrogena's Visibly Firm Night Cream product at a pricier $17 a jar.

The extra cleansing and moisturizer application has resulted in the clearest skin I've had in years. I'll let you know if the routine stops working but I'm very hopeful it will last at least through the winter. Anyone else have tricks or tips for great looking skin?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

She's tough, but don't we have to be these days?

On Sunday night DH and I watched the 60 Minutes interview with Barack and Michelle Obama. It was great to see the two of them interacting because I haven't seen that often during the campaign.

One question that came up was the chores that Barack has to do when he's at home. He claimed that he found washing dishes to be relaxing. Michelle laughed and said, "No you don't. You do not like to wash dishes."

DH: She's tough.
Me: Well, yeah, she has to be. She's been the bread winner and primary care giver for the past decade.
DH: True.

What is interesting to me is that Michelle Obama was insistent that she will be focused on settling their daughters. She has made no mention of taking a more active role in the administration like Hilary did. Her only mention of additional work was getting involved in charities.

What do you think? As a Harvard Law School grad, senior executive, wife and mother, should Michelle stick with the "standard" First Lady role? Or can she succeed where Hilary failed?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Designing Woman

DH will be the first to tell you that I've gone a little crazy with decorating the nursery. I ordered prints from the UK as the focal point for the room's theme. When I was a child we had a couple of books by Cicely Mary Baker about Flower Fairies. The are from the 1950s so they aren't the cute-sy Disney style of fairies. I decided that if I was going to have a girl I would use that as the theme for her room. Good thing we ended up with a girl because I'm not sure what I would have done for a boy!

I ordered 6 prints and ended up getting them custom framed at Michael's. I was just going to have them matted to fit a regular frame but they were having a 60% off custom framing sale. See how much money I saved you, honey? Hee hee.

We picked up a rug off of Craig's List that is primarily lavender and green (with some cream and yellow) that is a perfect fit for the room and hardly used! The last two things I need to think about are fabric for the curtains and paint colors. My mom has graciously offered to sew the curtains so I'm trying to track down the perfect fabric. So far, after perusing 5 fabric stores I am not happy with anything. If anyone knows of a great online store that I can get samples from, let me know.

The pain colors are also throwing me for a loop. DH has said he is willing to go as crazy as I want and I'm thinking striped walls could be good. But perhaps too busy with a patterned rug? I know I have tons of time but I am the type of person who wants it done now. I will definitely post some before and after pictures so you can all marvel at the massive amount of work that DH will have done. As I type this he is re-building a custom built-in for the closet. It's so great to have a handy husband! I am more likely to outsource...

As I have been going through this process I do have to wonder, how much effort do people put into nurseries these days? I mean, aside from the ridiculous spreads in design magazines and the parents in Us Weekly. There is a limited life span to a nursery which means it will have to be done again within 10 years. If I hadn't focused on a theme I probably would have slapped some paint on the walls, arranged the furniture and called it a day.

All I know for sure is that we can't move for many, many years. I have several rooms now decorated and I refuse to start over again in a new location! Up next, our bedroom and bathroom...but that might be a lot farther out once the little one gets here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

This bagel is just a vehicle for cream cheese

Apparently once I crossed the threshold of 20 weeks I turned into the quintessential pregnant woman. Most of you know I am a former smoker. For the first few weeks after I quit not an hour passed without me thinking about having (wanting! needing!) a cigarette. I even dreamed about it a few times. Those dream smokes were better than the real thing. Thanks, Chantix!
Now, not 15 minute go by without me thinking about food. Am I eating? If yes then I'm OK for another 30 minutes. If not I'm thinking about what I just ate and when I can eat again. I wake up starving. If I don't have some food within 15 minutes of getting to work I swear I will have a panic attack.
In my pre-pregnancy days I could easily go without breakfast and make it to 12 or 12:30 PM before having lunch. Now? I want that sandwich at 11:30 AM at the latest even after stuffing my face with a bagel and half a tub of cream cheese. I pack enormous lunches - two sandwiches, several pieces of fruit and something fun. I try to spread it out over an hour or two but it's hard! And inevitably I find myself going to the vending machine around 4 PM for a late afternoon snack. Evenings are easier because I regularly indulge in ice cream with M&Ms. So at least I'm not going to bed hungry...
It's not that I have specific food cravings. I just want to eat constantly. Sweets. Salty. Carbs (well, I have always loved carbs). Veggies (although I usually need another snack after that).
I haven't weighed myself in days. I've been really great about weight gain - less than 10 pounds in the first 20 weeks. Now it's all downhill. There is an apple sitting on my desk but I'm already thinking about the carb-tastic snack I'm planning on this afternoon.
How about the rest of you? Should I expect my grocery bill to grow exponentially?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Discussing pregnancy and kids at work

Yesterday I met with a couple of associates from a vendor that I manage. It was my first time meeting them in person. We had been having some issues wrapping up a project and starting a new one so I set aside an hour for us to talk before they took another associate out to lunch. It was me, two men and a woman who was the senior team leader.

We went through the agenda items I had laid out and came to agreement on all of the big factors. As we were wrapping up, I mentioned that a colleague of mine would be taking over when I went out on maternity leave in March/April. Well, that changed the entire tenor of the conversation!

For the next thirty minutes the team leader and I discussed all kinds of child related issues. I tried not to exclude the two men but it was challenging as neither had children. After a while I started to feel uncomfortable but it was difficult to bring up new, more inclusive topics. I wonder if any of you would have advice on how to change the conversation?

I also got my first question as to whether I would be returning to work after giving birth. Surprisingly it was from the team leader who has a four-year-old and went back to work herself after 12 weeks.

Anyone else ever had a similar experience? Or find that others you work with talk too much about their pregnancy/kids? I appreciate building personal relationships but I think it would have been better suited to a 1:1 discussion rather than a team meeting.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is now the best time to get an MBA? Yes, if you can get in.

There has been a significant uptick in the number of applications to business school over the past year. I'm sure Mommy, Esq. can quote similar statistics for law school. Over the past 20 years it has become a given that in bad economic times, people go back to school. Why? It's probably the best time to go back because career advancement and salary increases are less likely.

Adding to one's education and business credentials in a downturn can be a smart investment, particularly if the economy starts to right itself once you come out of the program. I've had the odd experience of being employed just before economic hardships. I came out of my post-graduate year at Carnegie Mellon in 2000 and immediately found a job, about 6 months before the Internet bubble burst. Similarly, I have come out of UVA's MBA program 12 months before the market tanked. I am hopeful that BigFinance will continue to do well and I won't have to worry about layoffs (at least at my level/division). I did survive 4 layoffs in SmallResearch, as did DH. DH is still there so we are both hoping his tenure of 7+ years will help him through any potential layoffs.

But while going back to school during bad times is a good idea, it's also an idea that thousands of other people have. On top of that, international recruitment for top MBA programs is way up. At Darden, more students are international than are women. So that means if you want to go to a top 30 school (and frankly it's not worth 100K in debt if you don't) you need to be assured that you are unique and offer something that the school can't turn down. Me? I had a couple of things: a liberal arts undergraduate major, 5 years work experience at the same company, being a women (yes, I'll use it to my advantage), significant career progression, and multiple activities. My test scores weren't that great.

I recommend an MBA program in particular if you are looking to switch careers. I didn't want to stay in Sales or Consulting and I wanted a bump in my salary. Going back to business school and having access to a great career center was a must. Working with a MBA career center is very different than an undergraduate one. CMU's was useless but UVA had more than a hundred big name companies solicit resumes and conduct interviews. That is why it is so critical to get into a top MBA program. A small college is not going to have the same exposure or resources. So why pay 40K a year in tuition? A couple of people have recently asked my advice about applying to business school. Here are few tips:

  1. You should have at least 4 years work experience with career progression. That means advancements or job changes. It is best if you can stick with one company but we are becoming a country of job hoppers so it's less of an issue.

  2. Take a GMAT course. I studies on my own but the money I spent on the Princeton Review was totally worth it. There were 5 people in my class so we got a lot of individual attention. It also forces you to study several hours a week. I'm sure Natalie and DH remember me spending hours at the kitchen table.

  3. Start volunteering. If you don't have activities you've been doing for a few years, it is never too late to start. But 6 months in a volunteer role won't impress. So if you have nothing but your job, consider waiting another year.

  4. Have a plan. Know what schools you are targeting and why. I applied to 6 schools (Harvard just for shits and giggles) and would have been happy at any of them. It is expensive and there is a lot of paperwork. Harvard was almost $400 when I applied 4 years ago! I decided to focus on schools with strong general management program (no specialization required) and utilization of the case study method.

  5. References are critical. I lined up my references 9 months before I started the application process. In order to make things easy for them I put together a packet of information on me. My resume (more detailed that you might use to apply for a position), list of all my activities and why I did them. Both were professional references so I also included several projects I worked on where I contributed significantly. I provided a detailed list of strengths and weaknesses. Why so much work? You must be consistent when you apply to a program. You will be asked to share your strengths and weaknesses and you want your answers to match theirs.

  6. Visit the school. Darden required me to visit for an interview and they probably did it because the campus is so beautiful. But a visit even when not required demonstrates a level of commitment.

  7. Be a minority. Sorry, guys, but it's going to only get harder for white men to get into school.

  8. Consider a part-time program. It can be more challenging to switch careers with a part-time program. Also, the career centers tend to not be as good as full time programs. But if your company will help defray costs and you don't mind it taking more than 3 years, it could be a good middle road.

Here's a couple of articles I've come across recently:,8599,1853093,00.html,0,595378.story

Do others have advice about graduate programs?

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's the half-time show!

On Saturday I officially passed into the second half of the pregnancy. Woo hoo! Of course, as Mommy, Esq. told me, the first half went by fairly quickly but I already feel like it will be soooo long until March. Good thing I have lots to keep me occupied until then:
  1. Christmas shopping. Yes, I've already starting my Christmas shopping and have even finished with DH. I also managed to pick up some stocking stuffers this weekend so I am feeling ahead of the game.
  2. Nesting. There's always more to be organized and cleaned out, no? We're in pretty good shape but perhaps another run at my closet would be good. Or I can sit DH down and go through his clothes. Yeah, that would be good!
  3. Decorating the nursery. I have settled on a theme for the nursery. Nothing too theme-y. I always hating those Trading Spaces where they did a room entirely in a theme. Even if it's for a kid you still want it to be versatile. I've ordered a bunch of prints from the UK for the room (fancy) and will use those as inspiration for paint colors, etc. That means another job for DH which he loves.
  4. Educating myself. DH and I will have to go for tour of the hospital, birthing class and perhaps a few other first time parent classes. Plus it's a great way to meet other expectant parents. Perhaps DH will find another rabid Yankees fan to bond with. I also need to learn more about the first few months and breastfeeding. I haven't heard a "it's a snap" comment yet about breastfeeding. How's that for nature?
  5. Watching lots of TV. Yes, I will enjoy my evenings while I still have them. Lots of lounging around and lavishing attention on Charlie. That dog will be so disappointed to be demoted from baby to dog!

Any other suggestions for me to while away the time?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dream a little dream

I have noticed a distinct increase the number and vividness of dreams since I got pregnant. Hormones? Perhaps. It would certainly be a good explanation. But I think it stems more from the fact that I wake up approximately 20 times a night.

Before pregnancy, I could sleep for 8 hours straight with hardly a toss or a turn. I would usually remember my dreams in the morning, a couple of hours before I had to haul my ass out of bed for work. Now, I wake up at least hourly. I'm only halfway through this pregnancy and I've heard it will only get worse. I like sleep. I need sleep. This will not be good for me or my marriage. Love you, honey!

First there is the bathroom breaks. I used to be like Charlie and could hold it for hours. The dog can seriously go 24 hours and sometimes does if it's raining outside and he doesn't want to get his paws wet. Now I'm lucky if I have just one nocturnal visit. Three is much more common. I can't wait for our 14 hour drive up to Boston for Christmas holidays. DH is going to love stopping every hour!

Then there is the position shifts. First my left side. Then I'm on my stomach. Bad! Must turn over! But wait, now I'm on my right side. Also bad! Turn back! No! The back is absolutely off limits! DH has no idea how limiting sleeping on one side is (not to mention uncomfortable after several hours). He sleeps away peacefully on any damn side he wants.

I had one friend recommend a body pillow as the pregnancy progresses. Has anyone else tried that? Any specific recommendations?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The pains and joys of the reverse commute

When I started in my new role at BigFinance a couple of months ago I was told that the team would be moving offices. Instead of the 13th (yes, the only 13th floor in Charlotte!) floor of a high rise, we would be ensconced in a low rise in the southern suburbs of the city. I was conflicted about the move. I liked being uptown because of the energy and the food options. I could walk anywhere and not stress if I didn't pack my lunch. Bliss. But I also knew I needed the face time with my boss and the rest of the team.

Because I joined the team after the move was decided I couldn't be included in the regular move. Instead, I had to wait another 2 months. There were a few people left on the floor, but not many. I get in early but I found myself having to turn on the lights every day because no one else was in yet. And there were no administrative assistants left so none of the office or kitchen supplies got replaced. Plus, I had zero motivation to look nice in the morning. Make-up went first, quickly followed by a decent hairstyle. It certainly made the morning routine quicker but the days dragged on without human interaction (aside from the millions of conference calls).

As a result, I was actually excited to start at the new office a few weeks ago. What I hadn't really counted on was the change to my commute. The time it takes (door to door) is about the same because I used to park 7 blocks from the office and walk but the total distance is more than twice what it was before. I also deal with many more stupid drivers. I'm not really sure why that is but if you take people off of the major roads then their stupidity factor increases. Because I used to only be in the car for 15 minutes my frustration level with other drivers wasn't as high. Now I find myself using the horn more often. Yes, I am a Massachusetts driver and no one else in this state knows how to drive. I'm thankful that gas prices have dropped significantly or what I'm saving in parking fees would be erased. Yes, the biggest two benefits to my new office is that I don't pay for parking and I can park 20 feet from the front door. Although the latter is a double edged sword considering my views on exercise. I also enjoy seeing the long line of cars going in the opposite direction. I can snicker and mutter, "Suckers" as I zip by. Evil? Me?!?

The biggest drawback is that you have to drive everywhere. So if I'm not motivated to bring my lunch then I have to hop in the car and drive. We're also in the middle of nowhere (relatively speaking) and I miss the city. It's not like DH and I get uptown very often. Fortunately I do have the occasional meeting in the city so that should tide me over. I know you will all be jealous when I tell you it takes 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic, for me to get to work. And I hate what a waste of time it is! Where are our own personal transporters? When the heck will that be a reality? Screw flying cars, I want that! What about the rest of you? Are you like DH and have a 10 foot commute to work because you work at home? Or are you over an hour each way like A.'s husband?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dream a little dream

I have noticed a distinct increase the number and vividness of dreams since I got pregnant. Hormones? Perhaps. It would certainly be a good explanation. But I think it stems more from the fact that I wake up approximately 20 times a night. And common wisdom says you are more likely to remember a dream if you wake up during it.

Before pregnancy, I could sleep for 8 hours straight with hardly a toss or a turn. I would usually remember my dreams in the morning, a couple of hours before I had to haul my ass out of bed for work. Now, I wake up at least hourly. I'm only halfway through this pregnancy and I've heard it will only get worse. I like sleep. I need sleep. This will not be good for me or my marriage. Love you, honey!

First there is the bathroom breaks. I used to be like Charlie and could hold it for hours. The dog can seriously go 24 hours and sometimes does if it's raining outside and he doesn't want to get his paws wet. Now I'm lucky if I have just one nocturnal bathroom visit. Three is much more common. I can't wait for our 14 hour drive up to Boston for Christmas holidays. DH is going to love stopping every hour!

Then there is the position shifts. First my left side. Then I'm on my stomach. Bad! Must turn over! But wait, now I'm on my right side. Also bad! Turn back! No! The back is absolutely off limits! DH has no idea how limiting sleeping on one side is (not to mention uncomfortable after several hours). He sleeps away peacefully on any damn side he wants.

I had one friend recommend a body pillow as the pregnancy progresses. Has anyone else tried that? Any specific recommendations?

Congratulations, now get to work

I managed to stay up until 9:30 PM last night (pathetic, I know) and went to bed with a solid Obama lead in the electorate count. I dreamt about his win for most of the night so when nature called at 2:30 AM I decided to jump on DH's computer. All I looked at was the lead story on CNN, "Obama's Victory Speech" smiled, closed the computer and went back to bed.

I've been voting in Presidential elections since I was first able to in 1996. But that makes me somewhat unusual. This election saw first time voters in numbers that boggle the mind. I am proud of the country for stepping up and doing its civic duty (although why it took two terms of Bush for this to happen is another story). I think that Obama's use of the Internet to get out the vote was inspired and helped secure a big popular vote win on top of the landslide for the electorate win. The American political system can be confusing, no?

While NC has yet to have an official electorate call (12,000 votes separate Obama and McCain and I am predicting Obama will get it) the rest of the state went Democrat. For the first time in the history of the state we have a Democrat senator and governor. Yes, the other senator is still a Republican. I think that the North Carolina results speak to the results of the rest of the country. Like 1992 when Clinton was elected to office, Obama has a majority in the Senate and House.

So, what does that mean for Obama? It means he needs to hit the ground running. I heard on the radio this morning that a Chief of Staff should be announced today which is a step in the right direction. I read an interesting book a few years ago, Eyewitness To Power. Its author, David Gergen, argued that Clinton wasted his first 100 days in office. It is those first 100 days that set a tone for the presidency. Clinton, in my opinion was able to recover and win the next election. I don't think that Obama has that luxury. The economy is in such poor shape that the country is looking for a decisive leader. By giving the Democrats the Legislature and the Executive branches we are saying, "Now get to work."

He needs to make sure that the Democratic party doesn't get distracted by infighting. He needs to leverage his good will and start working for new legislation immediately following his inaugural speech. That means he needs to be spending the next few "lame duck" months building his team and prepping the House and Senate. I think he can do it. I've been very impressed with Senator Obama over the past 9 months. Sure, I would have preferred Hilary but it is unlikely she would have received the same mandate as Obama.

What about the rest of you? What do you think Obama should be doing until January and for his first 100 days as president? Also, does anyone know the word on Proposition 8 from California? I can't find the result on the LA Times.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's official: the pregnancy crazies begin

After getting ready this morning I went downstairs to collect all of my things for work. I like to be out of the house by 7:15 at the latest (who knew I could be a morning person?) so I am very particular about making my lunch the night before and laying out my outfit.

I took my prenatal vitamin which has been responsible for nary a broken nail in months and made sure my cell phone was in my purse. I then opened the fridge to get my lunch. But wait! It wasn't there?!? Of course, that's when I started talking to myself. "Where is it? I know I packed it yesterday. Where could it have gone to?"

Scratching my head I looked up and yes, there it was. Sitting on top of the fridge as it had been all night. I usually put the empty one up there when I'm not bringing my lunch. But I have never forgotten to put a packed lunch in the fridge. I took out the yogurt and got a new one (no way was that going to be good) and am hopeful that the leftover pasta with red sauce will be OK after a minute or two in the microwave.

On my way to work I called A. and she reassured me that the crazies will continue. Her husband told me that even better will be the clumsiness. Um, I'm already a klutz so that won't be good. At least I know to put my hands out when I'm falling (yes, DH, I'm looking at you). What about the rest of you? Any moments where you just want to smack yourself in your head (whether you were pregnant or not)?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why Facebook can be useful

DH and I were invited down to Hilton Head for the weekend by my parents (Grammy and Bumpa). It was the first time any of the "kids" were invited to see the island that they are going to be retiring to. It helps that we had a quick 4 hour drive to the island. I guess that's one benefit of living hundreds of miles away from family. The weather was cool but still nice enough for a little lounging by the pool.

Here we are in front of some sweet boats

While working before we left, I happened to see a status update from our friend Nikki who said she was boarding a private plane to Hilton Head. How cool is that? We were able to get in touch with her and meet up our first night there. So all you naysayers for Facebook - see, it really does serve a purpose!

DH got to play golf twice and it would have been three times but I wanted at least one day together. My mom and I indulged in a spa treatment on Friday. We all went to a Halloween party hosted by some family friends. I really stretched my creativity and went as a pregnant party girl. DH leveraged Theresa's suggestion and went as Joe the Plumber. It was my kind of party - we were back in our room by 9:30. Ah, how pregnancy changes things!

We're going to try and make a trip again next fall with the baby. 4 hours is doable. Right? RIGHT????
Don't forget that tomorrow is election day! North Carolina is 49% Obama and 48% McCain...our absentee ballots were mailed last week. I hope no one has to wait a long time to vote.