Friday, July 30

Almost August

On Tuesday I returned to work after a weekend getaway to Tucson, Arizona to visit my friend Laura and her family.  As you can imagine, Tucson in July is a heck of a lot hotter than L.A., but that didn't stop me from having a great time.  All of our 21st century technology makes keeping in touch much easier than in times past, but nothing beats a good old fashioned real life visit.  As parents of two with another on the way, both Laura and Keith had lots of parenting tips to share, which I duly noted like the diligent student I am.  I also enjoyed commiserating with Laura on the joys of pregnancy.  (And yes, I use the word "joys" with a certain amount of sarcasm.)  When I left for my return trip to L.A., I was happily loaded down with all sorts of baby boy clothes that Laura very generously passed on to me.

Having all of this baby stuff slowly accumulating around the apartment is a constant reminder to me of the mission that must be accomplished by the end of next month:  Our second bedroom, which Eric has used as his personal catch-all room, must be cleared out and converted into the baby room by the end of August.  Otherwise, we will not have a place to put everything from the baby shower.  This project sounds simple enough, but the room is a total disaster area--just looking at it is enough to induce an anxiety attack in me--and it is a task that is almost entirely up to my husband to complete.  Sure, I could make it easy and just start filling trash bags, but I am pretty sure Eric would take offense at having his crap--I mean, his stuff--summarily tossed into the dumpster.  And so, I must wait patiently and encourage (he would say "incessantly nag") him to get started on this project.  It's almost August, so we'll see how things progress.  As I keep trying to tell him, the fall will be here before we know it...

Friday, July 23

Brain Drain

The past few days at work have been hectic, since we try to get in all sorts of "staff ed" professional development sessions over the summer when we don't have school groups in the mornings. Busyness at work aside, everything continues to go well. My main task these days is to figure out ways to adjust to the expected and increasing discomforts associated with pregnancy, like figuring out how to manage a comfortable night's sleep, get my pants on in the morning without face planting, and so on. (That changed center of gravity thing in a person like me, who wasn't very coordinated to start with, is a killer...) One thing I have noticed more and more as the weeks go by is evidence of what some people call "pregnancy brain." I thought I had a tendency toward absentmindedness before, but pregnancy has brought it to an entirely new level. Most incidents are harmless and laughable, but it is somewhat disturbing at how they just keep adding up as the weeks go by. Below are some of the classic pregnancy brain moments I've enjoyed so far. Mind you, given my hormone-induced mental condition, I'm impressed that I was able to keep my thought train on track long enough to come up with this list.

1. Searching the living room for my cell phone while talking I'm on it. To my credit, it only took me about two minutes or so to figure out where it was...

2. Having an inner dialogue with myself and suddenly completely forgetting what it is I'm talking to myself about.

3. Taking the elevator to the wrong floor at work. This one doesn't seem so bad, but it is somewhat awkward when you hit the button for a floor and you're the only person on the elevator going to that level, yet you stay on the elevator when it arrives and then hit the button for yet another floor. Trust me, people give you looks when you do this.

4. Neglecting to fill out my timecard at work all week. Really. Who forgets to fill out the paperwork that gets you paid?

5. Heading somewhere with a purpose and then completely forgetting why I went there in the first place. Truth be told, this type of thing was pretty typical before I got pregnant--the difference now is that I can't recall my purpose after a moment or two.

I'm sure before this is all over I'll have plenty more of these blank-out moments. On the bright side, since I rely heavily on my memory and knowledge I've built up over time for my gallery talks at work, I'm thankful that pregnancy brain appears to only effect short-term rather than long-term memory. Hopefully, once I have the baby the brain drain will cease and I can go back to my normal, more acceptable rate of forgetfulness.

Wednesday, July 14

A Little Bigger Everyday

It looks like summer has finally made it to Southern California. The "June gloom" hung around well into July, but looking ahead at this week's forecast, the gloom is in full retreat and summer is finally here. Like anyone else I prefer sunshine to gloom, but this year the summer heat is arriving just as my pregnant belly is really beginning to make itself felt. As any woman who has ever been pregnant can testify, one of the most common questions asked of you is, "How are you feeling?" Since I'm pretty sure most people I just being polite and really don't want to hear about heartburn, backaches, and my hatred of compression hose, I usually just smile and say, "A little bigger everyday."

And how true it is! I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but sometime in the last week or so my feet disappeared. If I want to see them, I need to lean over my belly. Not that I need any such reminder--this belly makes its presence felt a little more everyday. Each little growth spurt brings with it a few more of those pregnancy aches and pains, and there's no doubt I feel frustrated already at how certain tasks like bending over to tie my shoes are becoming increasingly difficult. In spite of these little frustrations, I'm well aware that this is only the beginning and that soon I'll look back fondly on these latter second trimester days as "the easy time."

At the Villa (24 Weeks).

Wednesday, July 7

Letters from Students

I think most people would agree that it is always nice to get thank you notes. One of the most entertaining aspects of my job is getting to read the thank yous that sometimes come in from students I taught during their visit to the museum. Teachers tend to turn the project into an assignment that helps students with their letter writing skills, so many of the thank yous arrive grouped in packets of letters from students. I thought I would share some selected excerpts with you from the most recent packet of letters I received--reproduced here just as the students wrote them.

"Dear Ms. Amber...When we were talking you just told us to be quiet and you didn't get mad at us even a little bit. All of the stuff was cool. I hope I could come again."

"Dear Amber...My favorite thing was the beautiful garden and the pond with the fishes. I learned how to make mummys, and how Hercules restled the tiger and got his skin. The visit to the museum helped me because it reviewed the stuff that we learned in the classroom."

"Dear Amber...Thank took us to see the culpture of the sirens. You showed us the shandalers with Mudusa next and after that you showed us the mummy. Finally you showed us that hallway were you let us sit down. I also learned how Mudusa and how see became that beast. This helped me understand some of my questions like do gods and goddesses have emotions. The answer was yes."

"Dear Ms. Amber...Thank you for helping us out! Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, time being limited and there being so many other letters. Thanks again, and hopefully I'll be back soon!"

This one, I think, is my favorite:

"Dear Ms. Amber...Thank you so much for walking us threw the Getty Villa museum. I enjoyed going their very much. I hope you have a nice life."