September 24th, 2012
January 27th, 2012
The weekend came and went. No baby.
I saw the midwife on the due date (a Wednesday) and she had me set up an appointment for fetal monitoring the following week (41 weeks). I ate another good meal at Rustic Canyon. I thought I may have had a contraction, but otherwise, things were semi-normal. I had wanted to re-watch the British verison of The Office, so every day we watched another episode or two before falling asleep.
Early in the morning of Friday, August 12, I woke up thinking I may have had contractions during the night. I also recounted a really weird dream involving a potluck where someone brought watermelon and marshmallows on skewers. I woke Ryan up and he asked if I wanted to walk Harry with him. (This is unusual. In our seven years of dog ownership, walking the dog in the morning is almost always something Ryan does alone.) As we walked around the neighborhood, I thought, “OK, these are definitely contractions.” Ryan decided to work from home. A few hours later, after we’d eaten donuts and tracked more contractions, he decided to take the day off. I kept thinking, “This might not be it, this could stop at any point, or this could go off and on all weekend.” But the contractions kept getting closer and closer together. We finished The Office.
We called Labor and Delivery and they said I could come in if I wanted, but I could definitely wait. We stayed home. A few hours later I was hot and uncomfortable and thought I might be happier in a nice cold hospital. So we headed to UCLA around 6pm. We brought so much stuff! Reading material, a laptop loaded with television shows, a ton of music and an exercise ball. I figured I’d be laboring for a while, and envisioned myself walking through the halls and sitting on my ball while Ryan talked me through things and rubbed my back.
The nurses put us in the tiniest triage room and there wasn’t much space. The pile of necessities sat in a corner and Ryan had nowhere to sit. We guessed how dilated I might be. I said it would be great if I was at five or six centimeters, but Ryan thought it was more likely that I was three or four. Finally I saw our midwife and she checked me. I was already dilated to six centimeters! That meant we could move into a big labor and delivery room. Every nurse who came by kept saying, “You seem so calm for how far along you are!” I wasn’t particularly comfortable, but I wasn’t sure how much more intense it would get.
For some reason I was very concerned about being hungry during labor. My parents went to get deli for dinner and I kept thinking I would have to have them bring me something.
Oddly, I then forgot entirely about food. I had to wear a monitor because the baby’s heart rate was dropping between contractions, which meant I had to stay in a fixed position in bed. This annoyed me, and I kept trying to talk someone into letting me move around. Eventually I made it to eight centimeters. I really wanted to try for an unmedicated delivery, and at this point I knew I could keep going without drugs. At some time after midnight, as I was wiggling in bed, I felt a huge gush and heard a “pop.” “I think my water just broke,” I said to my mom and Ryan.
I got checked again—ten centimeters! The midwife said it was going to be time to push soon. I don’t remember much about pushing except that I yelled—a lot—and that it hurt—a lot. At one point, my midwife told me I was making noise but not pushing, and I needed to push. This made me mad, and in a fit of “I’ll show her” I really pushed. So hard that a baby came out, all at once, it seemed. For some reason I thought it would be gradual, like here’s his head, push push, now his chest, push push…But it felt like one big move.
October 31st, 2011
I’ve always been a fan of kale, but never ate it raw. That is, until a friend of ours took us to Echo Park’s Elf Café and we ordered the spicy kale salad. Crunchy and piquant, it’s like no other salad I’ve tasted, and the good news is—it’s pretty easy to make yourself.
Spicy Kale Salad (inspired by Elf Café, adapted by me)
1 bunch curly kale
Harissa (hot red pepper paste, I bought mine at one of the Persian markets nearby, but I’ve seen it at Whole Foods and specialty markets)
Chermoula (ingredients below)
4 or 5 garlic cloves
one bunch cilantro
one bunch parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice from 2 or 3 lemons (to taste)
My usual kale routine is to put it in a sink full of water, swish it around, rinse, drain the sink and repeat. This gets all the dirt off the leaves. Remove ribs and chop the leaves, then spin dry in a salad spinner.
I’d describe chermoula as Moroccan pesto. It’s incredibly easy to make and no matter how much I tweak amounts, I still love the taste. I use Deborah Madison’s recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. She recommends making it in a mortar and pestle, but I am lazy and use my Vitamix, though a food processor would work too. The original recipe calls for 2/3 cup of cilantro, and 1/3 cup of parsley, but I generally just make sure I have more cilantro than parsley and call it a day. I throw everything in the blender, taste and adjust the seasonings, often adding more lemon juice or salt.
Cut up an avocado, slice some feta cheese, and assemble your salad: a pile of kale, a dollop of chermoula, a blob of harissa and as much feta and avocado as you’d like. Stir everything together and the ingredients will coat the kale, resulting in awesomeness.
And, yes, there isn’t any avocado in that photo. I was so excited I’d remembered to take a photo before eating with an actual camera that I forgot to add the avocado after I’d stirred it all up. Don’t worry, I added it before eating. And, because he’s cute…Ari!
August 25th, 2011
July 3rd, 2011
I’ve self-diagnosed myself with an affliction that has yet to show up in the DSM. I’m calling it obsessive-compulsive bookmarking disorder, and it may be my downfall.
I first experimented with bookmarking outside of my browser with Delicious, and I still contend that for recipe bookmarking, Delicious can’t be beat. But I dreamed of a visual component, so I started playing around with Kaboodle, which I’ve always liked, particularly for shopping and comparing purposes, but never loved. Evernote had my heart for a while, but I never felt like it excelled at the visual element, particularly when I clipped images from house tours. So it was with some trepidation that I started with Pinterest.
Fast forward a few weeks, and I am so sold on Pinterest that I attended a Pinterest party (hey, that’s me in the second to last photo!) last week. I acted beyond nerdy when I met Pinerest founder Ben. (Sorry, Ben.) I say on a daily basis, “Know what I saw on Pinterest?” I evangelize. (Pinterest should really be paying me.)
So I’ve been pinning nursery ideas. Here’s a screenshot of where we are today:
Thus far, we have two pieces of yet-to-be-assembled furniture and little else. I’m not really into themes, though I have had a strong leaning towards elephants since finding out about baby. Hence all the damn elephants.
The problem—and it’s not really a problem—is that on a weekly basis, I start second-guessing myself. I stumbled across a post earlier from Sarah Farris-Gilbert where I was tickled to find that she mocked up five nursery designs for herself—and she does this for a living, people. So let’s blame pregnancy for fear of decorating commitment—and my daily 2am bathroom breaks.
June 30th, 2011
Problem-solving is not my strong suit this week. We are pondering moving (nearby, not across the country again), which has put a screeching halt to nursery planning, or at least nursery painting. This itch to nest and decorate has manifested itself as a deep desire to get rid of things. Up for possible discard is a full set of the much-loved Domino magazines.(This shelf is part of a bigger Olaf von Bohr for Kartell unit that used to hold my toys. Someone gave it to my parents and occasionally I see it in overpriced vintage stores or on 1stDibs. If I ever sell it, please check me into a mental hospital.)
But how could you part with your Domino collection?
Sorry, maybe you’re not actually saying that. Maybe it’s just one of the voices in my head. I’m not pulling these down for reference on a daily or even weekly basis. In fact, I’m not sure if they’ve moved off the shelves since I unpacked our boxes from Florida. A quick search on ebay showed me that a complete set recently went for a little more than $300. And $300 would buy a lot of diapers. Or a posh diaper bag. Whatever.
So, dilemma #1: do I sell off the Domino collection?
This could help fund dilemma #2: the nursery. In an effort to shame myself into making some serious headway in this room, I will show you the current state of affairs.
Items of note: that black lamp is from a Brick House sale that I couldn’t attend but Ryan did, because he is a champion husband. And below that is a donut cushion, because I am a senior citizen now. There’s also a silver Centurion you might be interested in. And a baby gate that is Harry’s mortal enemy. Harry loves this room, mostly because it’s where my mom sleeps when she visits, and there is no person Harry loves more than my mom. He merely tolerates our existence between her visits. Here he is now, wondering when he will get to see her again.
Soon, Harry. Very soon. Speaking of my mom, she has been a one woman sweatshop of late, churning out baby cuteness like it’s her job. Here’s my favorite of her creations.
More thoughts on the nursery coming soon. In the meantime, feel free to advise me on my magazine hoarding or tell me to get cracking on giving this baby a place to sleep. He’s coming in six weeks, nursery or not!
June 24th, 2011
How did I miss this? One of my favorite songs of late, done by the ridiculous PS 22 Chorus. You have no soul if this doesn’t make you even a little verklempt. (Or maybe it’s just that you don’t have pregnancy hormones coursing through your system. Whatever.)
Speaking of the hormones, am I the only pregnant woman who is, for lack of a better expression, un-nesting? As in, the room baby will soon call his own has two bikes, a queen bed and a pile of mom’s craft crap? Oh, and a closet currently occupied by necessities like someone’s Space Ghost costume and someone else’s black-tie wedding dress? (Both last worn in 2009, if we’re being perfectly honest.)
Let’s blame June Gloom.
We only have another week to blame the weather, though, and weather shouldn’t really prevent anyone from, um, buying stuff and painting walls, right? OK, to be fair, I’ve been a little thrown lately by some gross pregnancy stuff (I’m skipping details in case you’re reading this while eating) and travel (New York and Kansas City). But…baby’s due date is fast approaching and I need to get into action. Or at least to Ikea.
(June Gloom by the awesome Roxanne Daner.)
June 5th, 2011
It was suggested that perhaps I change my domain. So, I’m now over at rebeccabraverman.com. If you read this site via RSS, it’s likely that the old feed will work, but at some point this domain will expire, and I will not be renewing it. (Take that, Florida!)
Questions, concerns, comments? Let me know and I’ll make sure my team of engineers husband gets right on it.
May 6th, 2011
We’re halfway through the Fortnight of Many Houseguests, and my visit with my dad (who left yesterday) is fresh in my mind. We have always been close, but it’s rare that we get a lot of one-on-one time. I knew I’d enjoy having him here for a few days, I just didn’t realize how much.
Having a few days with my dad solo reminded me that while my mom and I have things we share, so do my dad and I. We always have to eat deli (this trip included Langer’s and Canter’s). The man loves a tasting menu, and the meal we ate at Providence included the best scallop I have ever eaten in my life. (OK, we like to eat.)
Sharing a meal together is just the backdrop for talking. About everything and anything. Office politics, family politics, why we are the way we are—it’s all up for discussion. What I value most about my dad, though—and trust me, there’s a lot about him to love—is his willingness, “even as an old man,” as he would say, to try something new. We’re always evolving, always changing, and just when I start to think we’re set in our ways, my dad reminds me that we’re all works in progress.
Since Mother’s Day is upon us, I should probably mention that my dad would say he couldn’t be who he is today without my mom. So here’s to parents in general, particularly mine! And here’s the latest object of my affection, the monogrammed Dwell diaper bag, unfortunately not yet available for purchase. Until baby boy has a name, my urge to monogram will stay with my own “RAB.”
April 27th, 2011
We are facing several weeks of houseguests starting, um, now, which sparked a
small major binge-purge cycle in our house. Once I start scratching the Craig itch, I cannot stop. Which is great news for you if you are trying to unload Heywood-Wakefield furniture in the LA metro.
While on this magical mystery tour of acquiring and dequiring (that’s a word, right?), we found my new favorite store. Hotel Surplus is where hotels send their furniture when they redecorate or close, and if there’s anything that gets me high (strictly naturally, of course), it is a warehouse stuffed to the gills. Do I have photographs of this wonder of the world? Of course not, that would require that I had concentrated on something else besides piles of weird photographs with KWID stickers on the back. Two pieces from the Kelly-designed Maison 140 made their way into our wee house and I owe you photographic proof.
But first, I must get my sister from the airport.