Dirty Hippie

I had visions of being a carefree glam-hippie mom, clad in boho skirts, big sun glasses, with a happy, naked baby in tow, whisking about braless in the warm glow of the California sun.

It has not quite worked out that way.

I wake up every morning harried and confused, wishing I had 4 hands instead of 2, a kangaroo pouch – or alternatively, and more realistically, some kind of mom utility belt to avoid three trips up and down the stairs to transport this mish mash of stuff – bottles, glasses, phone, baby, receiving blankets, ice packs, and pump accessories.

I have not worn any boho skirts in a couple of weeks, though I own many, because it has been an extremely hot October, and my body is doing something weird post-pregnancy, possibly because of breastfeeding. I used to be cold constantly; I was the person who turned her space heater on in the middle of July once the air conditioning started running in the office. People would start sweating when they entered my office; my boss regularly referred to my work space as a sauna.

Now, I am constantly hot: I sweat in my sleep the first two weeks after Little V was born. I first noticed it in the hospital, and it rather took me by surprise, especially since there is always a nice flow of air conditioning in the hospital. Literally, this night sweating thing has never happened to me unless it was over 90 degrees or I was seriously ill. However, even after that horribleness has ceased, I continue to run hot. Last weekend, I actually sweat a little bit walking around in 80 degree weather. I’m Asian. I don’t usually sweat noticeably unless it’s 90 degrees or I’m exercising, and this new phenomenon irritates me to no end. I pray it is not permanent.

I don’t tow her anywhere for long as of yet, because she is a fatty little baby, gaining a bit more than the normal 1 ounce a day, and while I have decent arm and upper body strength, I get uncomfortable after holding her for just five minutes. I also have not mastered use of the ring sling, so that baby-wearing thing isn’t working out for me yet. As soon as the doctor clears me, I’ve got to get back on those pushups and ab roller exercises.

As for going braless, I’ve got that part down, but not quite in the way I imagined. I got sick of fussing around with clasps, pads, and straps. I also read that milk stains can be hard to get out, and I don’t want to ruin any of my nice clothes. I have thus resorted to wearing shitty ass tank tops I bought from Walmart for $4, without a bra. If I drip milk, so be it, as long as it’s not getting on furniture or the floor.  If I end up with some amount of milk on me after the 8-10 feeding sessions a day anyway, so what’s the point? No one is going to shower or rinse 8-10 times a day.

I’ve also got the naked baby part down, even though people think it’s weird. As I write this, I’m about to take her to Daddy’s soccer game wearing only a diaper. It will get cold, but she has a really nice hot pink fleece blanket. In this stage of our lives, neither of us like clothes, and I am convinced clothing on babies in warm weather is more for other people than it is for the baby.

To my credit, I have not entirely abandoned my boundaries, and begrudgingly put on a bra when going out to meet with people, or attend doctor’s appointments. I also have not degenerated to the point where I neglect showers, although that would be quite in line with the hippie theme. Do I get a gold star for this?

Week 39

Monday

I met a friend, who is also pregnant for lunch at Panera. She’s in the process of switching over to my OB-GYN because she was somewhat displeased with her (mine has been awesome up to this point!) Work flew by because I charged through a couple of projects I wanted to wrap up before leaving. After work, I did a couple of yoga videos.

Tuesday 

Work went by fairly quickly again, and I met another friend for lunch. I don’t usually eat out for lunch very often, but I figured now is the time to make last-minute time for good friends before Fetus makes her appearance. (Hey, think of all the money I’ve saved by not drinking alcohol these past 9 months!)

I’ve been trying to eat healthier, but I decided YOLO and suggested Persian. It’s not that Persian food is necessarily unhealthy, but I love it a lot and tend to go overboard. We met at this place with a sweet ass lunch special. They give you a small basket of bread and olives as soon as you are seated, and then the salad bar alone is glorious;  I treated myself to cucumber and tomato salad, tabouli, dolma, pickled veggies, and dates. The two of us shared the eggplant stew and a koobideh kabab that came with the usual roasted, juicy tomato and buttery saffron rice. Yeah, you try ordering this stuff and not going overboard.

The lunch was so lavish and abundant I even had leftovers to take home for husband, who enjoyed it as well. To think, there once was a time he hated Persian food! I’m glad I turned him away from a life of sure deprivation.

This put me in a great mood the rest of the day, and I compensated after I got home with some weight exercises (triceps dips, wide squats with a 20 pound weight, wall sits, bridge lifts) and a little bit of yoga.

Wednesday

Very tired. I successfully limited my liquid intake after 8:00 p.m. the night before and did not wake up much to pee… but did wake up for no reason at 3:00 a.m. and could not get back to sleep. We went to a doctor’s appointment, and I’m not dilated, though she said this is not any kind of predictor as to when I would go into labor. I was not particularly motivated to exercise after work, but managed some triceps dips and about an hour of yoga.

We went through a big box of baby clothes our neighbor kindly gave us, and sorted them by size. Most of them were boy items, but it’s not like babies really care. Girls can dress up as frogs and bears too. Although the onesie that says “Lock up your daughters!” really might be a little odd.

Thursday

Had lunch with boss and clients at Bentley’s. I ordered a Cobb Salad with the Mandarin ginger dressing instead of bleu cheese dressing. It came in epic proportions, but I think with the hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken, and veggies, it was still a healthier choice. On the other hand, the baked Brie appetizer with onion dip and berry jam were not.

After lunch, I stopped by Champagne Bakery, located in the same shopping center. I used to go to the one in Irvine all the time in high school, when a friend of mine worked there. I’d hang around and chill toward the end of his shift and wait for him so we could hang out. He introduced me to French desserts such as Creme Brulee, for which I have developed a lifelong love, meringues, and custard brioche. He eventually was fired for stealing from the cash registers, but my best friend in high school later also worked here, so I continued to be a regular fixture for some time.

On this occasion, I stopped to get desserts for our wedding anniversary. Although I had planned a trip to the Cravory, which has oddly flavored cookies that are amazingly tasty (e.g. balsamic rosemary – who knew this could be so delicious?), I changed my mind and was drawn to Champagne instead. I got husband a slice of Princess cake and a berry tart for myself. It was tough choosing between the berry tart and Creme Brulee. Creme Brulee usually wins over all else, but maybe pregnancy has had an effect on my taste? Also, the berry tart is just aesthetically quite a bit more pleasing. I also bought a raspberry macaron for myself and ate it on the way back to work. Stayed tuned for weight gain.

We walked a nearby hill 3 times for exercise, then rushed to the Bahn Mi place for dinner before closing time. The sandwiches were delicious and we could not believe we’d taken so many years to finally try this place.

Weekend

Friday, I went for a foot/body prenatal massage combo and it was amazing. There’s a place I’ve gone to a couple of times now that is sort of a good mix between discount massages and a spa experience. It’s more money than a cheapo Asian place, but the skill level and atmosphere are also better. The atmosphere is not quite at the level of a more professional spa, as I’ve never been to a luxury spa where the masseuse is wearing shredded denim capris or smells vaguely of cigarettes, but I’ve seriously gotten two of the best massages ever here, irrespective of price, so I’m a fan.

Saturday, I did some stretches and we did the  steep hiking trail hill by our old house once, which was nice. Later in the day, we went to the beach and did some meditation practice and I did some more stretching on the beach. I haven’t gone to Yoga class since I finished up my 10-class package, but a lot of the poses and stretches I learned in class have been immensely helpful, particularly toward the end of the third trimester.

Sunday, I walked the same hill twice and it was a big mistake. It tired me out for the rest of the day and made me grouchy. For the future, I will remember the oft-repeated advice regarding not pushing yourself too much during pregnancy. It is not the time. I think it’s good to push myself to get some type of exercise even when I’m feeling lazy, but maybe not to push it to uncomfortable limits e.g. long hikes, too much cardio, too much heat. Certainly it’s not harmful and it might be helpful for staying in shape, but the toll it takes on the rest of the day and sometimes the day after is not worth it. Sort of like a bad hangover. Except I didn’t have the pleasure of drinking, and instead of dehydration and a headache, I’m grouchy, irritable, and tired.

A Little Perspective

I’m not big on frozen desserts, but sometimes I’ll have a couple of ounces of frozen yogurt topped with fresh blueberries, mangoes, and raspberries. My favorite ice cream is Hagen Dazs Rum Raisin, but I probably only buy the smallest sized carton of this once a year, if that. Being a frequenter of Yelp events, I’ve also had the opportunity to taste various craft ice creams and gelatos, most notably and recently sea salt caramel and Himalayan pink salt flavors that were lovely and memorable.

However, we were hanging out at South Street Seaport in New York over the weekend and stopped for refreshments in the heat. I was drinking a juice, and Kyle had a pretty decent IPA. My brother came back to the table with French fries and vanilla soft serve from McDonald’s. I never go to McDonald’s, but if I did, these would be the exact two items I would order. He offered me some of the ice cream cone, which was quickly becoming softer and drippier in the summer heat.

I took a few licks and handed it back to him. Maybe the heat and hours of walking made the soft serve that much more enjoyable. Maybe the section in my Mindful Birthing book about practicing “mindful eating” and paying deliberate, intentioned, attention to texture and flavors during the eating experience had made its way into my subconscious. I suddenly had a realization about how simple, cheap, forgotten, and underrated MacDonald’s soft serve was.

He had a few bites then offered me the rest. As I finished the familiar, melty, sweet, cone, I considered that this fast food classic could easily compete with hipster caramel and exotic pink salt.

Rural Town II

She grew up in a place where the wind sang at night and

Oppressed inhabitants during the day

With vigor and slight cruelty

But sometimes she would remember the damp southern grass crawling on her skin

And fireflies dancing in sticky summer heat

With fondness for the backbone of her suburban dreams

Alcohol

chasteness chastity celibacy abstinence virtuous reserved

whore

she caught sight of herself in the mirror, presiding over vomit-laced sinks and

briefly searches for the terrible fish in the reaches of the silver pool but is relieved

the bathroom god is merciful when the time pulses slowly, the air moves like waves

he said you smell like cigarettes and boys, what a primitive existence, base and typical

just as you feared

let me live thin during the nights, if it pleases me

on her thigh she notices a bruise, eggplant-coloured and temporary

an accident like Tuesday and his slate-blue eyes

she hates the thickness of heat and how skins cling in damp numbness

these close textures, constant intrusions remind her

she has resigned herself to chasing her second fall

Duck Foot Brewing

Stopped here after some skeet shooting recently. I forget how massive San Diego county is sometimes. Going shooting on the other side of the county was a bit of a trek, and we decided after hitting some clay pigeons to go hit up some beers at Duck Foot on the way back.

They seem to be a fairly new establishment (I believe I saw a sign stating they were founded just in 2015), but have obviously hit the ground running because every beer I tasted was pretty solid.

Red Ale: 5.6% ABV. Nutty, amber style, well-balanced, malty, and slightly smoky.

West Coast IPA: 6.5% ABV. I was of course looking forward to this one the most. It is very hoppy, floral, and is a lovely golden color. Its texture is light, and it would be a fantastic summer beer. It tastes like it would hold up better in the heat than other thicker IPA’s. It’s also a bit crisp.

Irish Stout: 4.7% ABV. Smoky, well-balanced, and I thought I tasted a little bit of peanut butter.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Amber: 5.9% ABV. Interesting combination. I’d never had a peanut butter amber, but it was decent. Malty, amber-style beer, enjoyable, though I wish I had tasted it before the Irish stout. I think the Irish stout flavors sort of washed this one out. I’d be willing to give it another go on another occasion.

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A Weekend Of Beer And Wine

Had a beautiful weekend in Malibu. Stayed at a charming bed and breakfast called the Topanga Canyon Inn. This place had a lovely view and was reminiscent of the Italian countryside. The inn is run by a family, and their daughters greeted us and checked us in. We hiked up to Eagle Rock and enjoyed the view from up there too. Later in the day, we had a couple of Chainbreaker White IPA’s by Deschutes:

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I don’t recall the Chainbreaker being as tart it was on this occasion, and wondered if it’d gone slightly bad in the heat. It’s been extraordinarily hot, and it was like 98 degrees most of the day (even during our hike – slightly painful, but the view was worth it).

Later on in the day, we stopped by Malibu Family Wines and shared a bottle of Saddlerock Sauvignon Blanc while listening to some live music. At night, we had dinner at Moonshadows and shared a bottle of Saddlerock Cabernet Sauvignon. Moonshadows is a restaurant that can only be described as magical: you can feel the waves crashing underneath the restaurant as you eat, and the seagulls glow a bright fluorescent white in the ocean night.

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