Rate of Use

I just finished a tube of lip balm. That in itself is pretty big news: I kept track of a tube of lip balm throughout the entirety of its natural life! What I thought was remarkable, though, was how quickly I used it: my mom brought it with her to Hamburg when she came to visit just after Frida was born 9 months ago. The tube was one of three that I keep in rotation; I, apparently, rip through a tube of lip balm at the rate of one every three months.

(If you’re wondering why I’m calling it lip balm instead of Chapstick, it’s not because I’m one of those people that calls Kleenex ‘facial tissue’. It’s because my mom MADE this lip balm, and I wanted some way to mention that fact without being too obvious. Did it work? Her lip balm is incredible: perfectly smooth and moisturizing, often lightly tangerine flavored, and it comes in both a nice shiny soft formula and a pocket-friendly, firmer formula. This, coming from a woman who also makes everything from kimchi to my big poufy wedding dress and who, last weekend alone, made five kinds of sausage. Mom, you are a star!)

Wow, this post has a lot fewer F-bombs than the last one, huh?

The rate at which I use lip balm is, it turns out, similar to the rate at which I use both wheat bran and cocoa powder: I ran out of all three of them this week, and each unit was acquired early in 2012. The volumes, though, are a bit different.

When I bought another flour-bag-sized bag of bran, I thought, wow, this new health food store’s only been open for 7 months or so. I’ve made two batches of bran muffins, using a cup of bran each, since I bought my first bag of bran from the new store, and if I’ve been adding 1/2 cup of bran to each batch of granola, I must’ve made something like 10 batches of granola in the last 7 months. That makes sense. I like granola.

And then I remembered the day that Tobias and I cruised through the fancy foods warehouse with Frida in the front pack (she must have been 6 weeks old or so,) and joked about smuggling a ridiculously huge bag of Callebaut cocoa powder out with her. We bought the 1-kilo bag instead, and laughed about how it would last until her 5th birthday. Ha, ha, um, no. It hasn’t. I blame the Joy of Cooking’s recipe for chocolate pudding (1/3 cup per recipe), the internet’s recipe for Central Market’s chocolate walnut cookies (7 Tbs. per batch,) and my utter lack of discipline when it comes to limiting my cocoa intake (a heaping spoonful of cocoa powder mixed into plain yoghurt, anyone?)

What’s funny, though, is that, even after using an average of over one and a half teaspoons of cocoa powder every day for nine months, it hasn’t until now occurred to me to make chocolate granola. With that, I’m off.

Updates to the Update

As I mentioned, I am the proud gestator of a 20-week pregnancy. In the matter of Girl vs. Boy, we have an update! This week’s sonogram showed… let me put it this way: my new-to-me velvet maternity overalls are awesome, they’re comfortable, and they’re BLUE! That’s right! It’s a BOY!

Well, not a boy, really, as much as a 20-week male embryo. Say, that reminds me. Want to know something that is illegal in Germany? Besides running out of gas and/or telling a patient the sex of the fetus she’s carrying before the 14th week of pregnancy*? Now, newly illegal in Germany: circumcision!

Aargh, Germany, why the excellent energy policy but the totally fucked up approach to personal liberties? I keep trying to imagine myself making my case to the German authorities: ‘I want to cut off a piece of my son’s penis. Well, not me, exactly, I want someone else to do it. No, not you, someone who knows how. No, I don’t know anyone who can do it – we’re not part of a synagogue or mosque here. No, we’re not proposing circumcision for religious reasons – we’re not Jewish anymore since you guys killed all of my Jewish relatives and we fled the country. Oh, still sensitive? Me, too! How about you stop making Jewish traditions illegal, and we’ll stop cutting off pieces of our kids’ penii** just to spite you and your stupid laws? How about that?’ (For the record, I might be pissed at Germany but I still hate that Toby Keith song about how freedom ain’t free. I appreciate the American approach to freedom, yes, but I do not appreciate the American approach to absurdly repetitive lyrics and the use of crowd-baiting 9/11 references to sell albums.)

In good Germany news, the walnuts are newly harvested and fantastic right now, and this week I lucked into some spanking fresh kumquats that are making my day. Also, I just ate a chocolate cookie to celebrate my first-time-in-months 25-minute run today. Yum. Tonight Tobias is cooking sauerbraten, a marinated beef dish. The recipe suggested that the beef could be marinated for up to three weeks (not a typo!), but he’s opted for a conservative 30 hour marinade. Thanks for not killing me with rotten beef, by serving it to me for dinner or by making me smell it in the fridge for three weeks!

By The Numbers

  • I’ve been pregnant for 14 of the last 18 months.
  • I’ve been pregnant for half of Frida’s life.
  • By the time this babe is born, I will have been pregnant for 19 of the 40 months I’ve known Tobias.
  • Number of stairs from street level to our apartment: 90.
  • Number of elevators in our building: 0.
  • Number of stairs that Frida can currently climb on her own: lots. Hurrah!!

Public service announcement: you can get pregnant while breastfeeding full time. You can get pregnant spontaneously in 2012 even when your IVF doctor’s last words to you were ‘Congratulations on Frida’s birth! See you for round two in 2013!’ You can get pregnant even when you’re not having periods. You can get pregnant when you and your partner have a combined age of 80 years. You can get pregnant even after you and your partner have agreed that the ideal interval between children is 24.75 months. You can get pregnant even when you’re so surprised by the concept that you attribute your first-trimester nausea to brain cancer for the better part of two weeks, including a visit to a doctor to check for skull tumors. (Kudos to my cousin Rachel, my sister Nancy, and my mom for guessing the real cause of the nausea and for encouraging me to take a pregnancy test. Without them, I could still be pestering that poor brain doc: ‘Are you sure it’s not a skull tumor? I’m still feeling some nausea; I can’t think of a 3-week-old sauerbraten without retching. I’m also having some fatigue and some emotional instability. Should I come in for another check?’)

Anyhoodle, we’re happily (sometimes even smugly) anticipating the arrival of a little boy, and are taking suggestions for names. Tobias, Jr.? Jogi?

Frida and Tobias and I had a wonderful time in Colorado in late September, and a very energetic week in New York in early October. Here’s Frida taking it all in.

Little Frida, Big City






















*p.s. For fuck’s sake, Germany, this is NOT the way to address the issue of sex-selective abortion, which isn’t even an issue in countries where women are valued at roughly the same level as men. Imagine a woman who was pregnant and who was feeling so much pressure to have a male child that she was willing to abort her pregnancy if it were female. Do you think that denying her information about the sex of her fetus until late enough in the pregnancy that abortion is no longer legal is going to help her problems? All you’ve done is force her to either have an illegal, unsafe abortion instead of a safe, legal one, OR to have an unwanted female baby (hint: the latter course doesn’t end well for the baby OR the mother.) I’m thinking that any situation that puts so much value on male children over female ones isn’t such a hot deal for any of the females involved, and that any effort spent by the great state of Germany should be on treating the causes of gender bias rather than on punishing the women involved. (And that, if you’re wondering, is what I said in my head to the doctor as she was performing my 12-week ultrasound and explaining German law. What I said out loud was, ‘That’s not going to help.’ Succinct, yes, but not at all to the point.)

**I know, I know, it’s not penii, it’s penes, but penes is such an ugly word, and penii is fun! Like Hawaii and Pompeii!

p.p.s. Forgot to metion: Frida’s walking! Staggering, really, but taking a few steps all by herself before collapsing in a pile of pleased giggles. Go, Frida! At this rate, she should be ready to help me carry groceries up the stairs in no time!



Coupla things from the last coupla months:

  • While we were in Colorado on vacation in September, Dad got sprayed by a skunk. In the face. The mouth part of the face. Yowza. He had the good grace to suggest that luck was with us: the skunk jumped out of a pipe that Tobias had just been carrying, and a skunk-sprayed farmer (Dad) who spends most of his time outdoors is marginally better than a skunk-sprayed flight companion to New York the next day (Tobias). Thanks for taking one for the team, Dad!
  • Frida’s getting a baby brother or sister! For her birthday! (Not quite, the babes will be 14 months apart.) Imagine me going to my employer, Planned Parenthood (whose mission of helping women and families plan and space their children I have been happily committed to for lo these last 13 years,) to request maternity leave beginning in February, a whopping 10 months after returning from my last maternity leave. Not spaced, not planned, but very much a wanted pregnancy!
  • I’m 20 weeks pregnant now and am going to the doctor shortly for a checkup, which will hopefully give a good guess as to the gender of the (not so little) new babe. I’ll report back!*

*Later today, I mean, not in two months. 🙂 Sorry about the break.