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Category archive for: Thoughtful Reflection

20 Weeks

Greetings from Week 20.

Here are two things I did this weekend:

1) I put a dress in the dryer that I suspected should not have gone in the dryer. Under normal circumstances I would have hung the dress, but I felt emboldened by a conversation we had with friends Saturday night about how if clothes can’t survive the dryer, they were not meant to be – Darwinism for clothes. I’ve always believed that about clothes in the dryer, but I decided to put this belief into practice. The dress shrunk. I might still wear it, because the dress was big to begin with. Please note I did not put BOTH dresses I was washing on Sunday into the dryer. I’m not looking to burn the whole thing down.

2) I performed in a Comedy Festival with my sketch-mates in North Carolina! The crowd laughed, which was a tremendous relief, because that is a long way to drive to not get laughs. They also laughed heartily at material I wrote, which is also satisfying.

The festival did cause me some anxiety, however, as eating healthy while traveling is difficult. I packed some mangoes, but that was it. There are not a lot of healthy eating options available at 1:00am, so after the show I could only eat fried foods. I felt tremendous guilt, especially after reading on Wednesday night that french fries and fried food in general link to higher mortality rates. I hope she’s okay. I read somewhere that the baby is developing a taste for things you are eating, so by now she should have a passion for avocados, apples, mangoes, marzipan, cheerios, milk, salmon and dates…and… if I’m being totally honest, fried chicken, french fries, cheeseburgers, Phish food ice cream, any ice cream, Lindt chocolates, ginger chocolates, French brioche.

Sometimes people tell me, “You will be a wonderful mother,” and all I can think is, “I HAVE ALREADY FAILED HER.”

Today I had a salad for lunch, and I’m planning on having salmon for dinner, and I only ate one two pieces of chocolate, if you don’t count four pieces.

I am also reading a book: Foundation by Isaac Asimov. This book is wonderful. I will never be able to write something like this. I also think it should be required reading for aspiring politicians.

On a more personal note, I have been feeling very unattractive these past few weeks. I confided to my brother that I don’t think David finds me attractive anymore, and in true sibling compassion, he replied, “What do you want from him? You are heavy now. What’s he supposed to do? You’re pregnant. It’s fine.” And that was that.
Finally on Sunday I decided it was all in my head, I was not looking particularly heavy, and there was no way to tell I was pregnant by looking at me. And then we entered my in-laws home and they gleefully exclaimed, “You are getting so big!” They immediately and sincerely followed that up with, “You look great!” which I desperately needed to hear. I also shared my feelings with David, and he was great too.

The most reassuring comment I received was from a stranger in North Carolina after I was wearing a dress from the fitting room. “You’re about 5 months, yes?” she asked, and I was like, “YES. Thank you!” I had been googling pictures of people at 19 weeks on the internet, trying to gauge if I was around the same size, but in usual internet fashion I figured out NOTHING. This kind retailer instantly put me at ease, explaining the dress I was wearing would only fit me for another month. I bought it anyway, because it had pockets, I plan to wear it after, and I liked her and her boutique.

This post was wildly disorganized, but also important.

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Second Part

Hi!

I’m in the second trimester now – 15 weeks! Here’s something neat I learned: second trimester is defined slightly differently depending on the person you are communicating with. Our doctor puts it at 14 weeks. That’s because they can keep administering certain tests and making decisions if need be up until that point. Online they say the second trimester is at 13 weeks. Interesting, yes?

Since I have been lucky enough to not have any symptoms, barring my period not showing up, I completely understand the people who say, “I didn’t know I was pregnant.” But if you want to be pregnant, the lack of symptoms are jarring. I’m constantly wondering if the little baby is still in there. My bowel movements have been on point, but they’ve been on point since I started the estradiol months ago, so I can’t count that as a symptom. I’m a bit emotional at times, for example yesterday I started tearing up watching New Zealanders do the Haka dance in support of the mosque victims, but I think I might have felt deeply moved by that anyway.

There is one symptom I have that I thought I wanted. The ladies have gotten bigger. I’ve always been humbled by my modest offerings, and I was over the moon in 2001 when Shakira’s Whenever, Wherever came out with the lyric:

“Lucky that my breasts are small and humble
So you don’t confuse them with mountains”

I loved these lyrics! They spoke to me!

But now that I am bigger, not even that much bigger mind you, they are a total nuisance. When I pass a mirror I have to remind myself that “my eyes are up here.” When I cross my arms over my chest, they sort of get in the way. I had free range before. They hurt sometimes. OH, ALSO, THERE ARE GROWTHS ON THEM. WTF.

I’m also wildly confused about weight gain. I wasn’t sure whether I should be or not be gaining. And I am not certain if I have a bump or a perpetual food baby. I had food babies before, and this baby looks like the food babies that preceded her. I honestly thought I had a bump two weeks ago, but when the doctor checked for heartbeat, she put that device somewhere far from my “bump” and I was like, “Uh…so that’s where the baby is right now? WHAT IS THIS BELLY I HAVE?” The doctor just shrugged and said, “She’s down here right now.”

Also my friend asked me if I had any cravings, and I said no, and then I ate half a pint of Phish Food ice cream. But that’s something I would do – and have done – under regular circumstances.

Last night I watched Amy Schumer’s special, in which she is pregnant. It’s time I wrote some jokes and got on stage. I cannot miss this opportunity!

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Fallen Ill

Hello my beloved blog, I have terrible news. I’ve fallen ill.

Here’s what happened:

The first trimester went quite smoothly, with me showing so few symptoms that I was worried that something was amiss. People would ask, “How are you feeling?” and I would reply, embarrassed, “I don’t feel much,” and they would say, “You are so lucky.” I did sleep eight or more hours a night, which is a big deal for me.

Then while watching the Grammy Awards, I learned that Cardi B wrote and put out her Grammy award winning album when she found out she was pregnant. I’m no Cardi B, but I thought I could at least direct a short and perform in a comedy show before most people knew I was pregnant. And this plan was good in theory, but it also meant that I would be around more people than normal, meaning I would also be around more people that might have the flu. And sure enough, I heard people coughing during rehearsal, and I saw on Facebook that our tech operator had a fever.

“Just a cold I’m getting over,” the coughers assured me. I didn’t even talk to the tech operator. And since my body is changing, I was having trouble sleeping.

Well after a stellar performance Saturday night, potentially one of my last for a while, which a lot of wonderful friends attended thanks to Ian, we all went to a crowded bar. I started to dry heave, so we left after an hour and half, and came home to eat pizza. Well by Sunday I had a 102.5 fever! This resulted in a vigorous and panicked internet search and what this means for our little one. We called the ob-gyn, and the on-call doctor said to take a Tylenol and go to the general practitioner in the morning if it kept up.

Monday morning we went to urgent care, and they gave me a test for flu and strep. I was negative for strep, Flu A and B, and he said the tests aren’t 100% conclusive, so he prescribed tamiflu, and asked that I run it by the ob-gyn as well. I called them, and they said that tamiflu is safe for pregnancy. So then I took a tamiflu and vomited within 10 minutes of one tablet. I believe that was my body’s way of saying, “No.”

Side effects of tamiflu are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and hallucinations. These side effects are exponentially worse than what I was experiencing. Anyway then my mom came by and brought me cooked turnips, which taste foul, but they seemed to help. David and I decided yesterday that I would not keep taking tamiflu, and my temperature dropped too 100 last night before bed and this morning was at 99! Yay!

Today I have a sore throat and phlegm, but I believe that is progress. Tomorrow the ob-gyn will hopefully check on our little one to let me know she’s okay.

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It’s February

It’s February! I was slow in January. Very slow. I slept more than usual and did not exercise much at all. I plan to exercise more in February. But boy oh boy am I tired. For example, I had to take a break between writing the first sentence of this post and the second one.

Deep breath.

I’ve learned that adding cheese to vegetables is one way to make vegetables delicious.

And I suspect lentil soup – covered in cheese, of course – is correlated with devastating bowel movements.

Also multi-vitamins aren’t really regulated, so you might not be getting the dosage you think you are, POTENTIALLY JEOPARDIZING YOUR HEALTH AND THE HEALTH OF ANYTHING GROWING INSIDE YOU. IS THERE NO END TO THE HELL THAT IS PARANOIA ABOUT EVERYTHING GOING AWRY AT ANY MINUTE?!

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Writer’s Block

Hello. A quarter of the government has been shut down for 32 days, I’ve recently returned from a performance in Chicago, and I’m stuck. I can’t think of any new jokes or concepts! Desperate for laughs, I’ve turned to Twitter. On Twitter, John Mulaney posted a link to a Buzzfeed piece about how Hollywood failed Brad Renfro, a child actor. Perhaps it will be hilarious. I bookmarked it.

I think I can write a stand up bit about the whole IVF process, but I don’t know if people will laugh or feel bad for us. We saw a movie on Netflix about the, let’s use the word “journey,” and it was not a comedy. It was rather dark. I should have known it would be. The same director was responsible for The Savages, a truly miserable movie mislabeled as a dark comedy.

I read two books this month: The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman and Small Fry, by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. These books better not foreshadow the reading I’ll be doing this year. I struggled with both for different reasons. The Forever War is Hugo and Nebula award winner. I should find it inspiring because if he can win an award for that, then maybe I too can win an award for something I write. This is not meant to be a compliment to Mr. Haldeman. It is meant to be a scathing criticism of a novel that lacks purpose, makes lazy predictions about the future, and does not address time travel math. Small Fry was a beautifully written memoir that shed light on the romanticized notion of single motherhood you see in movies. I did not envy her upbringing. And maybe I’m not a real writer, because I could never share the inimate details she shared about her family.

Okay. Let’s hope I come up with something funny soon. Or read or see something funny soon.

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It’s all chaos.

We had a snow storm here over the weekend, and I spent it doing something I should probably not do. I spent it reading EVERY ARTICLE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, REUTERS and then starting to read the New Yorker, but stopped on page 18 on a personal story by David Sedaris, because I didn’t know people living lives of comfort were still writing personal stories.

I should read it.

Admittedly, I did scour the contents of the issue for reporting on Russia, immigration, international gaffes, the shutdown or general bureaucratic negligence and found the headlines wanting. So the odds I pick up that issue again are 50/50.

Anyway, chaos ensues.

On a lighter note:

We saw Aquaman on Friday night, and I just love superhero movies so much. I love them so much. One conflict in the movie is that the people who live underwater think they are under attack from humans, because the humans keep dumping their garbage in the sea. I thought, “You know…that perception of attack is valid. Their feelings are valid.” And in the movie there is one scene where the ocean dwellers/Atlantis people spit back all the garbage onto land! I wish the sea really did that.

We also saw the Little Mermaid, and I have something very important to say about it. So thank goodness I have a platform to share this important thing I have to say:

A couple months ago I read that Keira Knightly said that she would not let her daughter watch certain Disney movies, because they sent the wrong message. Among the list, she thought the Little Mermaid was not appropriate for her daughter to see. Here is the quote from this piece.

Still, when it comes to The Little Mermaid, Knightley is a bit more conflicted but says she’s “keeping to it [the ban]”

“This is the one that I’m quite annoyed about because I really like the film, but The Little Mermaid. I mean, the songs are great but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello?!”

Well upon re-watching the movie, I think the message is actually:
Anyone that makes you give up your voice is a demon.

Ariel shouldn’t have given up her voice – EVERYONE KNOWS THAT. As a kid you know it, Flounder knows it, Ariel knows it. Eric doesn’t want to marry her because she does not have a voice. Disney does a good job of driving that point home: giving up your voice, especially if you can sing like an angel, is a mistake. And really, the talking point to explore with your children is constructs that would compel you to give up your voice, whether it’s a witch or societal norms that should change.

And of course, not signing a contract you have not read through in detail. That is bad. Kids, who probably can’t be contractually bound to most contracts, should learn that lesson at a young age too, just in case.

Anyway Keira Knightley, I’m a big fan of your work and hope you’ll reconsider…

Well. Now I feel silly for throwing shade at David Sedaris earlier in this post.

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What if it’s bad news?

I haven’t gotten a call yet, and I was expecting one 24 minutes ago. WHAT IF IT’S BAD NEWS?!

No. I need to stay positive.

BUT WHAT IF IT’S BAD NEWS?

No, no, there are laboratories, and people, and phone calls before mine that could take longer.

BUT WHAT IF THEY ARE DELAYING THE INEVITABLE?!

They call in order that the results come in, and they are busy. That room was full of other people, and that’s just one of many offices in the area that needs to process information. So multiply the number of people you saw by 10.

BUT WHAT IF THE SAMPLE WAS LOST?

They don’t lose samples, do they? Wait, is that a thing that happens?

SURE, HUMANS ARE FALLIBLE. MACHINES ARE FALLIBLE, BECAUSE THEY ARE MADE BY HUMANS.

I could just call if I don’t hear back eventually.

YES DO THAT.

And eat a small chocolate while I wait. And have some warm water. With a lemon.

OKAY.

And lentil soup. Lentil soup is good for you.

FINE. WHATEVER.

I love lentil soup.

TAKE THE PHONE WITH YOU.

I’m just going over here.

WHAT IF YOU DON’T HEAR THE PHONE RING?!

I’ll take the phone.

GOOD.

I finished the lentil soup. It was delicious. I squeezed some of that lemon I cut for the warm water into the soup.

OKAY.

It made the lentil soup even tastier, if you can believe it.

OF COURSE I CAN BELIEVE IT. IT’S NOT THE FIRST TIME YOU HAVE DONE THIS.

Yeah but it just delights me every time.

WHERE DID YOU PUT THE PHONE?

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539

I’d like to write a story this year. I started one last year, but it was bleak. So I would like to write a more pleasant story.

It will have characters.

And an arch.

And maybe the world will be compelling.

This is a goal I have for this year.

Will it have magic? I don’t know. I like magic, so maybe. But since I am not a conjurer, and I don’t have wizard blood, it might be challenging to write about what I do not know. And what if wizards are like, “Cultural appropriation!” I would wilt under the criticism.

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New Year’s Eve

I’ve been sleeping a lot this past week, because I figured I’d treat myself. I’ve also been reading the physical copies of The New Yorker. This is going to be the new me, I think: someone who reads the physical copies of The New Yorker. I read something about using facial recognition technology on cows to detect pain early. I also read a Washington Post article the other day about how dairy farming in the US is no longer profitable. I’ve always wanted to have a dairy cow, so I don’t know if this is the universe discouraging me from going for that dream: the technology is too expensive and a lack of technology is untenable. Also I learned you can’t raise chickens in my county, so any attempts at farming are out of the question. I guess that settles that.

A lot of 2018 was about trying to conceive. We did our first IUI in February, and we started the IVF process in July. The process has felt all consuming, but I wanted to point out some other things happened in 2018 that I should feel good about, should the transfer not work out:

1) My animated short was accepted into different festivals, including a pretty big one: HBO’s Women in Comedy Festival in Boston. Strangers laughed out loud in a movie theater screening at something I made. Yay! The short won Best Animation for the Broad Humor festival. Yay! Also three people in the media industry listened to a read-through of the _next_ episode and laughed out loud and told me I should “keep going.”

2) We took some very cool trips this year: Indian Wells Tennis Tournament, Mexico, Greece, Canada, London and Las Vegas: all were AMAZING. We watched some great tennis, ate some delicious food, and enjoyed the time together. Traveling with David, whether it’s a walk to the supermarket, a car road trip, or a long flight, is always the best.

3) The tennis team I captain made it to the playoffs in the Fall! I don’t think I won any matches personally, but I did set lineups, enter in scores, and write inspiring emails, so that’s nice. And to do this, I had to learn about the rules I had been ignoring previous seasons, because we didn’t have a real chance before.

4) My D&D character died and came back to life. This had nothing to do with me, really. The death was accidental, even though I had been trying to kill off my character intentionally for months. The resuscitation was entirely thanks to David who wrote a scathing email about the circumstances of my character’s demise. I was touched by this, and I’d like to think that if I were to die in real life, David would also have some thoughtful, stern words for the people in charge. I think I might make a bullet journal in 2019, primarily to do a better job of tracking my D&D progress. I have a terrible habit of falling asleep at D&D sessions (on account of them running late and my not sleeping a lot), so maybe a bullet journal coupled with a new commitment to sleep will help in some way.

5) I rode 150 miles on the bike in December, which was a big Peloton win for me. And I did this via 30 and 45 minute rides, which I typically avoided. And I recognized I was not as fast as other riders, but I could make up the miles by riding more. This was a valuable lesson I hope to take into 2019: persistence can get you pretty far.

6) I directed a holiday comedy show. This entailed reviewing and editing scripts, setting the order, casting, selecting the music, making sure the tech script was ready-to-go. I also wrote a sketch and performed in the show. And I was really proud of how it came out. The crowd laughed. We tried new things: it was great. I was super proud to invite my friends and family to the show, and it was fun to do.

7) I wrote a tight 5 (4.5 technically) and performed it at an Open Mic. I only did one Open Mic this year, but at least I did it! My friends who came laughed and laughed, and strangers were confused that I was doing a Mrs. Claus bit, which is weird because it was the day before Christmas Eve… so there really should have been more holiday jokes. The only holiday jokes people had were about loneliness and suicide, and they didn’t feel like jokes as much as suggestions. Anyway, my friends who had come from out of town almost felt out of their chairs laughing, because they are good friends.

8) From a work perspective: I personally contributed to at least a 44% increase in sales, with considerably less resources than we had before. And I think it might have actually been more, because I did not count the contracts yet.

9) I think I wrote more blog entries this year, and that’s always a good thing.

10) OH! Here’s a thing I was SUPER proud of: I made mashed potatoes. My family agreed to let David and me host for Thanksgiving, so we were in charge of the menu. David cooked pretty much everything, because he is a better cook. But I used the internet to learn how to make mashed potatoes, and I peeled them, boiled them, and put them in the mixer and added butter, milk and a pinch of salt. They tasted amazing. I also baked cookies this year, and they were well-received.

11) I produced another animated short. I was worried it was not good enough, so I did not show it to anyone. I’m planning to share it tonight.

All in all, this list was helpful. 2018 was a year of some progress!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2019.

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Reading, Riding and Magic

I’ve been reading Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, and it’s wonderful. I am having trouble putting it down and find myself weeping through parts of it. I’ve also read the part about the IVF treatment, and I loved her for sharing that she went through it. I also read that she had a heartbeat eight weeks after the injections, and I wanted to call my doctor and say something to the effect of “Doc, you got some ‘splainin to do!*” Eight weeks is only 56 days, and I am well past that!

In other news, we were in Las Vegas this past weekend. When we were in the elevator at the hotel, a couple asked us: “Are you in town for the rodeo?” And I thought, “Do David and I ….look like we would be in town for a rodeo?” We were the only people not wearing boots and a cowboy hat. David was wearing a Mickey Mouse sweater, and I was in all black and heels. When we shared that we were not in town for the rodeo, they told us about it! We ended up seeing some of the World Series of Team Roping, which is where cowboys rope a steer in less than five seconds. It was impressive. I found myself cheering for the steers, but I was sincerely impressed by all the people on horseback swinging ropes around. As someone who’s not always secure on a stationary bike, watching roping blew my mind.

We also saw a magic show in Las Vegas: Piff the Magic Dragon. It was very entertaining and I especially appreciated the comedy portion. Now, I don’t know how good the magic was. Not because I wasn’t impressed by it, but because I am just now learning about how there are different types of magicians. I learned a little about it through this incredible profile on Ricky Jay:
Secrets of the Magus
Ricky Jay does closeup magic that flouts reality. But, rather than headline in Las Vegas, Jay prefers to live in the mysterious world of ancient mountebanks, eccentric entertainers, and sleight-of-hand artists, whose secrets he preserves with a scholarly passion, and who are his true peers in the realm of illusion.

For Piff the Magic Dragon I was seated next to someone who was somehow affiliated with the show. She was on her mobile phone the whole time, texting with her friend, presumably because she had seen the show several times before or because she did not care for magic. I wanted to tell her she was ruining EVERYTHING for me with her bright screen, but I felt like that was dramatic, and I had to sit next to her, and she was bigger than me. I don’t think she had more muscle than me, but she seemed like she had seen more things than I had and would be willing to use unconventional means to fight, for example pulling out my hair or commenting on my small chest and suggesting I had not hit puberty yet – both hurtful actions in their own way. So I just sat there and enjoyed the show and wondered whether she was part of the show and the art of misdirection, convincing myself not to let her mobile phone distract me, but to also to keep an eye on it at all times as well, in case it was part of the show.
However at the end I saw her boyfriend/friend/whatever-I-do-not-care-he-is-garbage-because-he-didn’t-tell-her-to-put-away-her-phone get up and go backstage, so clearly he was some kind of assistant.

I also gambled. Specifically, I played Blackjack. And by “I played Blackjack,” I mean I used an app to memorize the highest-odd plays, practiced, and when I finally got to a live table, I was so nervous about losing money that I could not add, so David told me what to do. It was exhilarating and disappointing. So many emotions! So much sweat! I also felt bad for other people at the table for losing! Gambling (via cards) is not for me.

*On an unrelated but also very related note: apparently Ricky never says “Lucy, you got some ‘splainin to do!” in the show. This person has gone to great lengths to explain this on reddit and on youtube. That is the extent of the research I’m willing to do on whether or not this is true. But if it is, that is amazing, because I used to watch I Love Lucy, and in my head I can hear him saying this phrase!

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