Thursday, November 01, 2007

Lazy mom

So Halloween came and went and babes did not wear a costume, Honey did not wear a costume, I did not wear a costume. I'm actually glad I did not buy costumes for the younguns this year because Halloween was canceled (for the Americans at least) due to the craziness of the last week. However, I fully intend to go to the websites for the post Halloween sales and purchase a Darth Dog and Yoda baby costume for my wee ones so that next year we will take whatever country we are in by storm or stormtroopers in our Halloween getup.
This is, of course, on the heels of an email I got from my brother entitled "why dogs bite people" (http://www.jibjab.com/view/55464) which shows dogs looking pitiful in their Halloween costumes. I scanned the email looking for good costume ideas for the crazy dog.... but I still think Darth Dog and Yoda baby are the best (followed closely by Bat Girl and Robdog).

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Playing with the dog

a little morning fun with our dear Honey! video

Back to normal

I think things are slowly starting to move back towards normal here. I'm glad we are going away at the beginning of next week though. There's nothing like a little scare to make you realize just how complacent you've gotten. Not that I'm usually lax about my personal security, but I have begun to think about it as routine, or part of my own personal paranoia. But even after this, I am not afraid to leave my apartment. At some point you have to own your fear and figure out ways to get past it. Your time is not your own to begin with. You could decide not to go to NY because of terrorism and then die on your own street in a car accident. You could decide not to leave your house, and slip and fall in the shower. You just never know.
Because of this, I have been trying to make the most of every day. Not do the most, or see the most, but at least try to enjoy the day. I make sure to thank God for everyday that I spend at home with my daughter as a stay at home mom. I know that I didn't want to be a stay at home mom, but I am really enjoying it, and I feel like I am doing the right thing by my daughter. I think part of the reason I am enjoying it so much is because I do see it as a gift. We may not do much, maybe we just sit on the couch and babble at each other, but it's still a gift. She could be in a nursery and I could be behind a desk billing hours. I am trying to work on seeing my hubby as a gift too, and trying not to take him for granted, but it's tougher going. I think once you forget to be thankful for something it's harder to get back into the habit. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The news

So news of what's actually going on has finally hit the mainstream media. It's a little frustrating that my knowledge of what's going on is limited to what Yahoo! has or what CNN reports on. Apparently some Wahhabi (according to Yahoo: Wahhabism originated in Saudi Arabia in the 18th century. It is rooted in the idea of restoring Islam's purity by purging it of foreign and corrupting influences.) gathered some weapons and grenades in an effort to launch an attack against the US Embassy.
It's a little bit unsettling. Most of the people here are very friendly, and not very conservative at all. There are a few people here that wear their hair covered, or have grown beards, but generally people dress more revealing than I do. I think it's sad that a handful of people have the ability to completely change your view of a place. You hear it all the time on TV, but I guess I never really thought about it before. Just like Christianity, Islam is a religion of brotherhood and love, and just like with Christianity, a few people can take the words of God and twist them to serve their own purpose. I don't understand why people work very hard to turn something beautiful and comforting into a source of nightmares. Religion is supposed to be helpful to people not hurtful to others. I don't know about any of the other religions, but I know that Jesus preached peace and non-violence. But things that are often done in His name are anything but.
My husband comes from the former Soviet Union, and coming from a culture of agnosticism to the US he is naturally skeptical of religion. And to be honest, the US, well anywhere for that matter, does not paint a flattering view of religious people. But its just like with any group in the US. Only those who are doing something truly wonderful (like pulling a child out of a burning building, rescuing puppies from floods, or delivering babies in subways, etc.), or something hideously awful, are reported in the media. So for the most part on the news you only see and hear stories about suicide bombers, rapists and murders, or abortion clinic bombers.
I guess what it boils down to is that you should always try your best to be a good member of the group you represent. Because, like they told you in school, one or two people can ruin it for everyone.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Uh oh!

After three years overseas we have our first scare. The embassy is shut down today because of a threat. It's so weird to be in a situation where you both directly and indirectly affected by something and not be able to talk about it, or even really know what is going on. I have all these questions rattling around in my brain, but I know better than to ask them, and I know that even if I did ask I wouldn't get a response. So for about an hour yesterday I wandered around the house trying to ask cryptic questions but eventually gave up in frustration of my husbands equally cryptic answers. But I guess now that I have a baby it's a little better for me. Before it was my opinion that if it was dangerous, if I couldn't go, he shouldn't go. But now I think someone's gotta be around for babes. So if he has to go be in danger, it's better if I stay with babes. I still don't like it though.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!

My hubby just sent in the last check for his student loans!!!!! He is now debt free! Way to go!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Baku

It's fall in Baku and it really is a pleasant time of year. The weather is cooler now, and it's not quite as windy as it will be in the winter. I went this morning and walked along the boardwalk with Babes. It was gorgeous, the morning sun was glinting off the Caspian, the birds chirping and circling overhead, and there weren't that many people so I wasn't constantly circling around someone. It's too bad Honey's legs have problems because I think she would really enjoy the morning walks too. There are some other people out with their dogs, and Honey could be with us while we walked, I might even take her off leash! I know I have been saying bad things about Baku, but I think I've turned a corner, and I am now starting to enjoy it. It helps that all of the other moms in my baby group are very nice, and that the weather has cooled down a lot. But I'm out now, twice a month, with friends, and I get out of the house with Babes once or twice a week, at least (if I wanted I could be out every day), I've got language classes, and a language partner, and then there's Babes! I have a very full life here in Baku. I have to say that it also helps that I am not pregnant. I only hope that other posts that we go to in the future will be as rewarding.

Monday, October 01, 2007

To market to market



I can't believe we're already into fall! The weather here has cooled down, the kids have gone back to school, and my baby has started eating solid foods! Not that the last thing has anything to do with the weather, but it seems to coincide nicely with the start of a new season. In honor of Babes' first new vegetable we went to the big farmer's market to see if we couldn't find something recommended for little bellies to start off with.
ALL the "make your own baby food" websites suggest that you go with sweet potatoes, avocado, carrots, or squash as a first food. I have only been to the market here once before during the super hot summer, and it was pretty fun. There are the colorful fruits and veggies piled up on the stands and the colorful people from the regions behind the stands. Interestingly enough, gold teeth are very popular in people from the regions. I know that it was a common sight once in the US, but now it always disturbs me when I see it.
Today I was not quite so excited to be at the market. For some reason there were bees all over the place so every time I would relax a little a bee would fly by and I would try very hard not to freak out (I'm very afraid of bees and bugs in general), I don't want young babe to be afraid of bees like her mama, but it was very hard work. So we quickly made our purchases, I ended up buying squash for the babe, I knew the other vegetables were a lost cause before I began, but I thought that I would look anyway. But, there was a big discussion about sweet potatoes at our last baby group and people thought they saw them, but no they did not. I've seen avocados but they are always over ripe and very expensive ($5-6 a piece! YIKES!), and my hubby is allergic to carrots. So we were left with squash.
Babes was a big hit, as she almost always is, at the market. Azeris love babies. They always coo and fuss over her, and generally I don't mind, but at the market, you've got people from the regions, and well.... the hygiene is not what I would want for my baby who puts everything in her mouth. I am usually pretty laid back, but I don't want the man in the bloodstained apron, and blood encrusted fingernails touching my Babes' hand. Last time we went someone either blessed Babes, or cursed her, I'm not sure, but he looked happy, so I'm going to go with a blessing. This time we escaped with just a few looks and funny baby attracting noises.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

Solids!

Well, we took the plunge and started Zora on solid foods yesterday. She took to them surprisingly well. She was so thrilled I think she had been waiting for the opportunity to eat something other than milk. video

Friday, September 14, 2007

A walk in the past

For my hubby's Jubilee birthday we took a trip back to his old stomping ground to see what the past had left. So we packed our bags, baby and camera and took off to the Ukraine to see what there was to be seen. As this was our first trip with a baby we decided not to be too ambitious and we only went to Kiev and Odessa. Unfortunately from Baku there are only local airlines going to other post-soviet spaces so we had to fly Azall to Kiev. Despite my misgivings, Azall wasn't too bad. The flight was reasonably on time, reasonably clean, the food was tolerable, and the staff was not openly hostile (which is more than I can say for a lot of US flights).
Kiev was much better than I expected it to be. I think I was expecting a larger Baku, meaning more depressing, square, soviet style buildings. I guess I forgot that Kiev had hundreds of years of history before the USSR and despite the general oppressiveness of the communists, they did not destroy everything that was there before. So what that means is that Kiev had a lot of really pretty European style buildings along it's main street, and beautiful wide tree lined roads. Commerce is definitely alive and well in Kiev as there are many shops and restaurants to choose from. One popular eating establishment, Mr. Snack a place that serves sandwiches and beer, was literally on every corner (if it had been Manhattan it would have rivaled the prevalence of Starbucks).
Weirdly enough, in Kiev as in Baku, people do not just get married on Saturdays. Apparently it's common to have a wedding any day of the week. So while we were there, and visiting some of the famous churches of Kiev, we were surrounded by brides and grooms taking their, apparently, standard wedding shots. We stopped to have water and give Zora a rest before going into St. Sophia and I think I counted 15 brides coming through to have their pictures taken in front of the old church.
After Kiev we flew to Odessa on a local Ukrainian airline. Now this flight was not so pleasant. In order to board the flight, you had to take a shuttle out to the tarmac. We arrived at the plane, but the cleaning crew was apparently not finished, so the bus is unloaded, and all of the passengers, flight attendants, and pilots were standing out on the tarmac in front of the stairs to the plane in the cold rain and wind. It was actually pretty amusing because the other passengers were getting really mad at the crew because another woman and I were standing around with our babies in the cold. I felt very special.
Anyway, Odessa is a very beautiful little town. Odessa and Baku are very similar to each other, they are about the same size, they are both on the sea, and they were both part of the Soviet Union. But the way they have used their post soviet space is very different. It looked to me like Odessa really saw that they had a pretty town and worked hard to make it prettier. All around town you could see the money people were putting into renovating. Parks were replanted, fountains refurbished, buildings repainted, etc. The walking street, was actually a walking street with restaurants lining the sidewalks and brightly lit shops. I think the street was shorter than the walking street in Baku, but it was much more pleasant to walk down. The seashore also looked very nice but it was unseasonably cold for the five days we were there and we could not spend my promised days at the beach.
All in all, it was a very nice trip and I'm glad to have gotten the chance to visit the old stomping ground of my hubby.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rocky


Honey has a house guest this week. Or maybe I should say we are forcing Honey to entertain a house guest this week. A friend of ours is out of town and we agreed to dog sit. I have never appreciated Honey more than I have this week. It's not that Rocky is a bad dog. I think Rocky is a very good dog, but he is not nearly as eager to please as Honey is. Honey picks up new concepts in a matter of days. Rocky... well he just doesn't care. Not only that, but I had forgotten how annoying it is to have a male dog. When I walk with Honey we just walk, we don't need to stop every two seconds so she can mark some tree, bush, or weed. Just walking. It's so nice. I don't think I ever want another male dog.
It's funny to watch the two of them interact though. I can't figure out Honey's deal. I honestly don't know that much about dog to dog body language, but as far as I can tell Honey is not submitting to Rocky, yet it looks like she's getting her butt kicked. Rocky occasionally will get annoyed at Honey's constant attention and will snap at her, Honey doesn't back down, or back away, but she also doesn't fight back. I wonder if she's concerned she's going to get into trouble, or if she just doesn't care what Rocky is doing. Either way, they both recognize me as Alpha dog. Anytime they've been up to no good and I come into the room they both stop whatever they were doing and look at me with the "I'm a good dog, see!" expression on their faces. I wonder if I'm going to have the same Alpha dog tendencies toward Zora. Or if she's just going to run all over me.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Antisocial

I don't know why I'm so antisocial. Vlad can go out and talk to almost anybody at almost anytime. Me, I have to work up to it. Like right now. Our maid is here, and I want to go out and get breakfast, but then I'd have to talk to her and deal with whatever mood she's in, and I just can't face the thought. You would have thought I would have gotten used to her by now, she's been here for a year. But no. And if I talk to her, I feel better about her being here, but the thought of talking to her. Today it's just too much.

Summer's End

I think the summer in Azerbaijan is broken. Somehow written it doesn't carry the same meaning as when it's said out loud. But I think that the hottest part of the summer has passed. I don't know why I think that. There's just something different in the air. That makes me think that fall is on it's way. I think maybe the wind has shifted. So that instead of the hot furnace breeze, there is now a cool, refreshing breeze. Granted it's still hot, just not as hot.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Addicted!

I have decided that I am seriously addicted to sugar. At first it was ok, I figured that after my 8 or so months of enforced no sugar (due to pregnancy hormones making all sweets taste like I was licking a hand rail in the subway) I thought I would splurge and indulge my sugar cravings for awhile. I thought that I would slowly taper myself off the sugar, and no one would be harmed by a few months of sugar highs. Apparently, though, sugar is a habit forming substance. We are almost at the five month mark of my sugar indulgence and I see no signs of the cravings letting up. I'm still baking almost once a week, and drinking juice like a mad woman. This is, no doubt, not helping my goal to be back to pre-pregnancy weight or better by my brother's wedding, so I think I'm going to have to take drastic measures. Hopefully, I will not have to go the way of Vlad and start eating salads every day for dinner. That would be truly depressing indeed.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Roll Over!

Wee Babe rolled over today. It was a little anticlimactic. I think because she has been tipping over side to side since she was born, I was pretty sure it was pure laziness that was keeping her from rolling all the way over, and yes, I think it was. She rolled over today like she had been doing it for months. Her arm was a little stuck under her, but that didn't seem to matter. She just popped it out from under her, no prob! Of course, she might have been waiting until she was sure she had perfected the skill so that when she did roll over it looked all perfect. Crap! This means I can't just leave her on the bed anymore. *SIGH* so it begins.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Horror!

I have gotten old! I just realized today for the first time in several months that I do not have a copy of the original (or new) Star Wars movies! This is unthinkable! How has it come to be that the only copies I have are on VHS and our VHS player has died??? How am I going to watch the Star Wars movies? I feel that I should go to Amazon right now and buy all 6 movies right now, but I am stubbornly waiting the special 6 disc editions to end all editions! Oh wait, that is how I came to be without the movies. I am waiting, perhaps foolishly, for the entire thing to come out in one grossly expensive set. What do you call a six part movie? sexology? No that somehow sounds dirty and wrong... Hold on while I look it up. Surprisingly it's hard to find out what a 6 part movie is. But I have persevered it is a hexology. Hmm I was close I just had one letter wrong, I should have remembered that a six sided figure was not a sexagon, but a hexagon. Silly me.
Anyway, I am still foolishly waiting. But I don't know if I can last until the 6 disc set comes out. Will I be able to afford the six disc set? Ah no matter, it will have to be bought. (Ooh I apologize to the grammar police, but it is late)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Remiss

Looking over my last several posts I just realized that I have not written anything about Baku in awhile.
Summer is finally here, and there are a lot more people out on the street than when I first arrived. I now see women on a regular basis, even during the middle of the day or in the evening. Although maybe it's just that I've taken to wandering in places where women are more like to be, I don't know. But I should not have worried about my American summer wear. I am far more modest than most women here, even in this conservative culture. Whenever we go down to the boardwalk I feel that I should have added more hooch to my wardrobe. Maybe bared a little more skin, or added high heels to the jeans... something. I think it's a little odd that despite the fact that women are not allowed to walk around by themselves, it's perfectly ok for them to walk around in outfits that would put hookers to shame, ok, I think I'm being a little overly dramatic. They are actually usually tastefully, if not scantily dressed. But it still doesn't make any sense to me. But apparently, if you are with someone else what you are wearing doesn't make a difference.
Speaking of clothing. We went to the beach on Wednesday, which was fun, and pleasant, although not as clean as I would have liked (cigarette butts everywhere!). And I realized that I should have worn my bikini. Apparently, women at the beach, even the expensive ones, are not starved and exercised into unnatural thinness here. 200lbs? Want to wear a bikini? Go right on ahead! 50? Middle aged spread? Go ahead and put on that thong! Needless to say I was feeling pretty good about my post-pregnancy body by the time we went home. I didn't even mind Vlad snapping a few photos. After all, no-body's perfect right?

Monday, July 30, 2007

unexpected

I have grown to really like breastfeeding. I didn’t think I would; you’re constantly damp, it can be very inconvenient, and you constantly have something sucking at your chest. But, it feels right. I can’t think of any other way of explaining it. With all that’s wrong in the world, putting a baby on your breast just feels somehow right, like this is what I was meant to do. It’s a very subtle feeling though, I just started noticing it. Before I was too busy, I’d sit down to feed the baby, but my mind was elsewhere, I wanted to get up, to go here, to go there, breastfeeding was more like a stone dragging me down. Now I just sit. I know she’s going to eat, and I know how long it takes, and there’s nothing else I can do, so I sit, and I realized how nice it is. I know its hormones. Breastfeeding releases tons of hormones into your body to make you want to do it, and to feel good doing it. I understand that, I welcome it. I love my baby more knowing it. I have to say I was very ambivalent about this whole baby business, and I think that breastfeeding her has really helped move me from, yeah this is my baby to I love my baby. How can you not love someone who, by the simple act of feeding, helps you to relax and feel like you are doing something amazing. It also helps that she is now able to express some of her appreciation of my boobs. In the morning when she sees them she starts kicking her legs and waving her arms with this huge grin on her face like they are the best things in the world. Not even the boyfriends that I had as a teenager loved my boobs like she does. When she’s hungry she also will try to curl around my boobs, or grab them with both her hands and her feet and then tuck her head in so that her whole body is wrapped around me and my milk giving nipples. Then, while she eats, she will caress the boob that she’s eating from with her free hand, and I can almost hear her thinking, “my precious.”
Breastfeeding also comes with a great sense of accomplishment. Since she was born, my baby has almost doubled in size, and the only thing she eats is what I make for her. I can look at my growing, thriving baby and say, I did that, she is living and growing because I am making enough for her to grow on. I never thought I would say it, but I think I will be sad when she gets close to six months and we start feeding her solids. And then, when I wean her, how will I get my relaxing hormones? They should bottle the hormones and sell them, they are great! I can be pissed off, super mad, want to yell and scream at the world, but then I breastfeed and all is well. Sometimes at night when I can’t sleep I want to wake up the baby so that she can eat and relax me (I don’t, of course, I’m not as crazy as I look).

Friday, July 27, 2007

Some people should know better

So Zora had a rash earlier this week and we were supposed to host baby group so I decided to take her into the Embassy nurse to have the rash looked at. I wasn't actually worried about it, but it had spread a little, and there were other babies coming so I figured better to be safe than sorry. We went in, everything looked fine, nothing to worry about, etc. etc. But as we were leaving and she's looking at our chart, she says to me, "interestingly enough Measles starts off as a rash that starts around the hairline, then spreads down the back and stomach, but everything is fine, nothing to worry about." And I think she also mentioned that as a baby Zora does not yet have her measles immunization so I shouldn't leave her with anyone who has a rash.
Now, why on earth would you tell a first time mom this? I have decided not to worry about it because really her rash was already getting better by the time I took her in, and it's pretty much gone today, but if I was someone else, this could have thrown me into a panic. Or at least freaked me out a little. She really should know better.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Finger

Driving here is terrible. I personally don't think it's as bad as driving in China, fewer people for one thing, but Vlad disagrees. The trouble here is that most people know how to drive, they just don't think road rules apply to them. You still have the expensive car effect (if you drive an expensive car, the cops won't pull you over, and you can do whatever stupid moves you want, because you are Somebody) but there are more expensive cars, and everyone else has Ladas which will drive through almost anything. Combine those two things and you have chaos as the general road rule. On any given day you can look out our window (it overlooks a fairly busy traffic circle) and see people driving backwards, driving the wrong way down the street, or, most common, using the far left lane to make a sharp right. Since I've come back to Baku with the baby I've started driving in this mess. Which is not as bad as it sounds, the way I cope is that I don't use side or rear view mirrors at all. If I am in front of you, I expect you to watch out for me, if you are in front of me, I will watch out for you. I think this is generally how people drive here. I still check blind spots (bad habit I can't seem to break) and I still wait for a clear space before barreling out into traffic, but for the most part I get along ok.
I have recently discovered, however, that people here do not know what the middle finger means. This has been VERY liberating for me. I thought that American movies had spread this offensive piece of sign language all over the world, and that if I gave people the finger it would cause nasty confrontations that would not be wise with a child in the back of the car. BUT NO! I can use the finger at will, which is great because I generally find the use of the horn to be annoying, people here over use it. They blow their horns at the slightest provocation and I mean slightest! So as I drive around now I liberally use my finger, and I don't have to worry. It's great because I feel better, even though I know that it doesn't mean anything to them, it relieves some of the impotence that you feel when you are the only one trying to obey traffic rules, and I just like it. I've been thinking about following one of my Aunt's examples and growing out the nail to my middle finger really long so it makes more of a statement......

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Getting Bigger

Ah... my baby is growing up. Friday night we moved her to her crib and out of our room. It's weird that I'm sad about this, I never really wanted her in our room to begin with, but Vlad thought it would be a good idea. And to tell the truth, she seems to be sleeping better on her own, although it has only been two nights (I think I was secretly hoping she would scream the whole night so we would move her back into our room). It was only a week or two sooner than I had set to move her anyway. She was going to move out at four months, but we took her to see the nurse for a check up and she was 15.25 pounds! She had already outgrown her bassinet! So, out she went. There is freedom, though to having a baby move out of your room. I can read in bed again, I can look for something in our room after Zora has gone to sleep, and I can turn over at night without fear of waking her up. On the whole it's a good change, it's just a mixed feeling seeing her grow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

sunrise

I have always thought that nothing good ever comes with watching a sunrise. If you are seeing the sunrise (in normal places, not Alaska) it either means that you are up WAY too early, or you have stayed up way too late. In my day, I have seen sunrises on both ends of the spectrum. Riding back to my apartment on the subway in Tokyo watching the sun rise through bleary club darkened eyes is no good. And waking up to go to work (or even to take some plane) is no good either. In either situations the supposed beauty of the sunrise is lost to me.
As I was feeding my daughter this morning in the pre-sunrise dark of the morning I thought about my sunrise aversion. If I liked watching sunrises waking up at five to feed her would have some benefit. But, no, I don't like sunrises, and as the sun began to rise, I was even less happy to be awake (if that's possible). We're definitely going to have to have that talk.....

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

what the F@#%!

I admit it I am a BIG FAT WUSS when it come to my sleep. I don't like it being interrupted, not at all. And I have to say one of the biggest, most concrete, thing I worried about during pregnancy was the lack of sleep that the newborn would bring. And I have to say Zora was actually pretty good about it. Almost from the beginning the child was sleeping at night for long stretches of time. At first I was waking her up in the middle of the night to feed her because the doctor at the hospital was worried that she had lost too much weight. BUT, after a week or two (it might have been as many as four) she looked like she was thriving and I stopped waking her at night (at four weeks she had gained 3lbs from her birth weight) to feed. And she started sleeping five to six hours at a time. Then we moved to Baku and she was jet lagged, and the sleep issues were severe (she would sleep for almost 24 hours, then be awake for almost 24 hours). But I persisted and she found her schedule and started sleeping completely through the night, not the wimpy "medical" definition of sleeping through the night. You know, the one where if the baby sleeps from 12 to 5 it's considered sleeping through the night. No, she was sleeping a full 10 hours, from 9pm to 6am, on her own, no special coaxing once you put her down at night.
But then, suddenly, she snatched it all away. I blame myself, we bragged to other new parents that she was sleeping through the night, and for the last week or two she has started randomly waking up two or three times a night. What's worse is, she's not hungry. She will go right on back to sleep without eating, she is just UP! Vlad wants me to feed her so she'll go right on back to sleep. He doesn't seem to see this for what it is.... A TRAP! If we get into the middle of the night feeding routine, she will only want to keep doing it. We must resist! We will prevail!
Maybe I need to have a heart to heart with Zora like I had with the dog.... (When she was a puppy, the dog almost got choked out one night, and after that she realized that she really didn't need to get up to go out at night)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

responsible adults

MAN! I hate being all grown up! It was bad enough when I was eighteen and people were entrusting their kids in my care, saying as long as you take an adult with you... but now I'm actually responsible for other people! ACK! This past year has been very bad for my adult responsibilities creeping up on me. First the dog now the baby! It's not that I want these decisions made for me. It's my dog, and my baby. I just don't know how you are supposed to decide. Especially when both decisions are bad, or have negatives.... but then I guess all decisions have positives and negatives. If only one of the possibilities had negatives, then I guess it would be easy. I keep thinking about that Peter Pan song. "I won't grow up, I don't wanna wear a tie, or a serious expression in the middle of July!" I want to know how this happened. How did I get to be the grown up and the responsible party?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Domestic Help

Having a maid is not as easy as you would think. First of all you have someone else in your house a lot touching your stuff, which is not so bad as it sounds at first, but then you have to find her (I use her because most domestic help is female) something to do on a regular basis, AND often times she puts stuff away and you have to spend time searching for things that she has neatly put away somewhere.
I think part of my main problem is that I almost feel like this person is doing me a favor by cleaning my house (even though I'm paying her) so I don't want to be evil and nitpicky because she's doing things so I don't have to. So even when she's doing things, like picking up after me, and putting my stuff away (for some reason this drives me NUTS!) I don't want to tell her to stop because technically it is her job, and I don't want her to think that I'm mean. I should just grow a pair and have her do stuff because I AM paying her. I think the other problem that I have is I don't know what I want done. My husband definitely has ideas of what he wanted done, but other than vacuuming, dusting, and washing the clothes.... I don't know. Maybe I should find one of those online guides to managing a household staff.

Friday, June 29, 2007

new body

One of the cool things about motherhood is watching Zora try out her new body. It is like watching someone with a new car or some other new electronic device. Every week she finds a new feature and starts figuring out how it works. Last week she discovered that her feet were in her control. She was using them before, but I don't think she knew that she was doing it. But last week, she would stare at her feet and then move them in circles trying to figure out how she did certain things. I think she also discovered what creates certain sensations because she all of a sudden really likes rubbing her feet together. This week she learned how to grab things. The learning process on that was very interesting because I think she figured out how to line up her hand to where she was looking before she figured out how to open and close her hands at will. So she was constantly punching things with her fists, and then all of a sudden she started grabbing at things. She would reach for, and end up with stuff in her hands before but I'm not entirely sure that it was on purpose. But you can see her thinking about things. "Now if I move my hand this way, and then open the fingers, and reach, and close, HA! GOT IT!"

Organized

So I've just come back from a Mum's night out with some of the Mums from my baby group, and it's odd this is the second time in a week that someone's told me that I'm pretty organized. And I keep thinking to myself, "No, No! If only they knew" But then I start to wonder, am I becoming that person? Am I organized? If so when did this happen? And how did I get to be that person? My image of myself is of the crazed mess that I was all through school. Notes for all my classes in all my notebooks, nothing ever done on time, papers flying every which way. And sometimes I still feel that way, diapers flying about, clothes half on, six bags, none of them packed properly.... But I wonder if I come off as that organized Mum, whose child is always well dressed and who always has everything? Or maybe it's just because I'm quiet and no one knows that I'm actually a complete disaster, because I never say anything.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Giving up

So I've finally given up. At the beginning of this week, I ran out of creative and fun things to do with my baby.... We had read a book, had tummy time, play on back time, sang songs, danced, ate, slept, and there were still hours in the day to kill, so I finally put on baby Einstein for Zora to watch while sitting in her car seat, and I have to say, she loves it. The mother guilt has me though, I feel like I should be doing something with her, but I think this is actually better because she's being entertained by something other than me. It's very hard to convince her that being on her own for a few minutes is not so bad. And as an added bonus she is learning to like her car seat. Before she would immediately start screaming as soon as I strapped her in, but now, she will sit in her seat by herself for whole groups of minutes at a time. YEAH! This whole Baby Einstein phenomenon is very odd, it's just a bunch of pictures of baby toys set to music, but she really seems to like it. Of course, she just likes music in general. We're going to need to teach her to play an instrument.

Monday, June 11, 2007

World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) - Naked Bicycle People Power! Stop indecent exposure to vehicle emissions!

World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) - Naked Bicycle People Power! Stop indecent exposure to vehicle emissions!
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So we were flipping through the channels here and we came across a news report on the world naked bike ride. It was very disturbing, a little like a car wreck where you couldn't look away. I looked it up and they were selling t-shirts. Why are they selling t-shirts for a naked bike ride?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Back in Baku

Well, I'm back in Baku again. It seems like I've been away forever, and I guess I was at my parents house for about 4 months, but the time really did go by pretty quickly. We also survived the plane ride, despite all of the nights where I'd awaken in a cold sweat from nightmares of taking a small infant on a plane. And if you compare traveling with an infant to traveling in the first semester of pregnancy (not pretty, not pretty at all) it was a walk in the park.
We arrived at the airport super early to check in (you know I'm a full fledged mommy now, I've got tons of luggage, a dog and a baby, so I wanted to make sure there was plenty of time for everything) and I got the slowest checkout person in the planet helping me out. When I arrived at the counter the woman took one look at me and said she wasn't sure she could help me because I had a dog, even though the sign above her head said "groups, pets, oversized baggage", and she promptly left trying to find someone else to check me in. Her trip must have been unsuccessful because she returned again, slower than ever and started asking me questions as if she could get rid of me because I didn't have the right paperwork. But her dastardly plan was foiled by my careful preparation and attention to detail. Finally after an hour an a half we were all checked in, and I retrieved my baby from the tired arms of her Aunt Joy who had been walking and singing both the dog and baby while we waited for Ms. Molasses to get everything in order.
Next Hurdle, Airport Security... I really must know who finds the surliest people on earth to represent American law enforcement in our Airports? At this point, I'm starting to run late and Zora is crying because she's hungry, I've got the stroller, way too much baggage (traveling on a plane with a baby, what do I need? I don't know so I'm going to take everything!), the infant seat base, and of course the baby. I get to the xray machines and they ask me if I have any formula, I tell them I don't, but the man seems to think that I'm lying because he asks me to take any food that I have for the baby out of the bag, and when I don't, he says they are probably going to have to search my bags anyway... I'm sorry, he growls at me, that they will probably have to search my bags anyway. Then he tells me that I'm going to have to collapse the stroller and put it through the xray machine. Ok, this doesn't sound difficult right? Not too unreasonable? Right, ok, now remember that I am standing in those stupid narrow aisles I'm barefoot, I'm jiggling a screaming child in my arms, her head flopping about while I'm staring at the infant seat/stroller travel combination that now seems like a horrible idea. My mind is racing, ok, the stroller needs two hands to collapse, I need a hand and a half to hold the baby, Crap, the infant seat is already through the xray machine! Finally the security guy, seeing my dumb look of disbelief asks one of the other security guys to give me a hand and we finally make it through security.
After that it was pretty smooth sailing, everything took so long, that I was able to walk through the airport and right onto the plane. There was a period of time when we first got on the plane that I was sure we were doomed. As soon as we sat down Zora started shrieking her head off. We hadn't even taken off yet, and already she was crying like I was murdering her. I rocked, soothed, calmed, and finally I pulled out here favorite green blanket. But it took a good fifteen minutes or so for her to calm down, and I didn't think she was going to, I almost cried too. Luckily though, the favorite green blanket and some soothing songs calmed her down and she slept most of the way.
So we finally arrived in Baku and all seems to be well. I think Zora, Honey, and I are all finally over our jet lag. Although it took awhile for the baby, she was staying awake for almost 24 hours, and then sleeping for almost 24 hours, but we are back on track! Hopefully next week we'll get started doing things and I'll have more adventures for everyone.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

No baby yet

So there's still no baby, and we are swiftly approaching the due date. The doctors don't seem really confident that there will be a baby on the due date, and I'm not seeing any of the changes that the books say could happen before going into labor. OF COURSE, everyone ALSO says that any of that could change at ANY time, and in fact I could go into labor right now and all of this would be moot. Yesterday I went into the doctor to see if I couldn't get any more information on this whole induction thing (which the doctors recommend that you set up ahead of time so that you don't have to wait... apparently they can either only do so many, or this is a very popular service) and, in her medical opinion it seemed worse to wait it out, than to induce. My big concern is the size of my baby, babies seem to run large on my mom's side of the family (8,9,10lbs) and I didn't want to wait to induce and then have a gigantic walking/talking child trying to pop out of my womb, so I asked the doctor if she could give me some kind of estimate. I was thinking that she would probably have to reschedule me to do an ultrasound or maybe pull out a ruler and do some math, or something. But no, the *apparently* scientific method of estimating baby size is to put one hand near my pelvic bone (where the baby's head is) and one hand at the top of my belly (where the baby's butt is), give a little shake, and compare what they feel to a 5lb bag of sugar. According to the doctor, it is not as small as a 5lb bag of sugar, but it also does not feel like two 5lb bags of sugar! She guesstimated about 7 or 8lbs. So we have scheduled the induction for Monday the 26th and if nothing pops out by Sunday the 25th I will be going into the hospital for some ripening drugs and the preparation for delivering the baby. If all the other “mommies” that I know were not so dead set against the whole induction process I think I’d prefer it this way, it takes the guess work out of am I in labor? Which as far as I can tell, I have not even begun…. In theory it will be a big difference from the non-painful contractions that I have but, who know. I don’t want to do the whole go to the hospital only to get sent home again thing.
Anyway, it’s just a waiting game at this point, and baby, just so you know, I’m real good at this game. :0

Saturday, February 03, 2007

baby madness

So I'm back in the states again. It's a little bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I'm glad to be here in terms of my health and the health of the baby. If something happens I'll be in a much better position to deal with it here, than in Baku. But I'm a little sad because this means that we have reached the beginning of the end of my childless life.
It's a little crazy to go shopping for baby things in the states. There is so much choice, and so much guilt attached to almost all of it. I'm a little glad that we are not living in the states at this time because I've only been exposed to a little of the "WHAT?!?!? You are not getting your child a disposable wipe warmer? Are you crazy? You are going to RUIN YOUR CHILD!" I can't believe how much guilt is applied to almost everything baby, and how much of it will either "RUIN YOUR CHILD" or "BE THE BEST FOR YOUR CHILD" I am trying to go for a bare bones nursery, and I'm shopping with my mother who wants to create a full nursery for a child who will only be visiting at their house for 4-6 weeks at best. I know that we only want what's best for our children, but does one child really need so much crap? In essence what the child really needs is food, diapers and clothes, a place to sleep and lots of love. Does a child really need all that much more? In fact, if the child is well loved and fed, doesn't that already put him/her well in front of a lot of the world's children?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Really bad and Really good

Ah, internet quizzes! Such fun!

Your results:
You are Apocalypse


































Apocalypse
78%
Magneto
75%
Dark Phoenix
68%
Mystique
66%
Dr. Doom
65%
Riddler
63%
Two-Face
62%
Poison Ivy
60%
The Joker
58%
Catwoman
56%
Lex Luthor
55%
Venom
53%
Juggernaut
50%
Mr. Freeze
39%
Green Goblin
22%
Kingpin
18%
You believe in survival of the fittest and you believe that you are the fittest.


Click here to take the Super Villain Personality Test



Your results:
You are Superman
























Superman
100%
Wonder Woman
100%
Spider-Man
80%
Supergirl
80%
Green Lantern
70%
Hulk
70%
Robin
60%
The Flash
40%
Batman
40%
Catwoman
20%
Iron Man
20%
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.


Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Monday, January 08, 2007

gas prices!

Last night, on our way home from dinner, there was an incredible traffic jam on our street leading up to the gas station. We were flabberghasted! What on earth could be going on? We racked our brains for possible scenarios, an imminent attack by Iran, a coming storm, some sort of pandemic? Worriedly we put our local guards to question and they informed us that gas prices were going to double overnight, going from .40 manat per litre (about $1.50 per gallon) to .75 manat per litre (almost $3.00 per gallon)! What a leap, and over night too! The guards said that people were filling up all their cars, all the gas cans, bathtubs, and whatever else they could fill as well. I'm a little concerned with what this will do to the local economy. People are already just scraping by. I can't imagine what doubling transportation costs will do to their lifestyles. For instance, right now, Taxis are at a flat rate of 2 manat per ride, that will probably have to double, which will mean that fewer people will be able to ride taxis, and the prices will have to increase, or taxis will have to drop out of the business. Either that or they are going to try a lot harder to gouge foreigners at every turn. I know it shouldn't bother me, what's five dollars to me? Right? But it really does. I don't know why, but it does. Something about principle.
I'm glad I'll be gone in a week while the gas increase settles itself out. I'd hate to have to argue with every cab driver, and every vegetable stand owner about the prices of goods and services. Everything here is done by car so increasing the gas costs is going to increase the cost of just about everything. And for awhile while it sorts itself out, it's probably going to be a little crazy and frustrating.