Wednesday, August 29, 2007

And so it Begins

The theme of this blog is, admittedly, a little less tasteful than my usual fodder. However, I find that I am an infrequent blogger because much of my life seems less than blogworthy. Of late though I have been inspired by some of my favorite bloggers to cast aside these self-inflicted chains of propriety and dive into the nitty gritty that is my/our day-to-day existence. Having made this momentous decision I would like to devote this, my first "free to be me" post to heartburn. I know this seems a little odd and maybe just plain boring, but for me it cannot be ignored any longer, it has reared its ugly head and will be my constant companion for the next 21 weeks. With Caleb, it started much sooner, sometime around the tail end of the 1st trimester. And, with this pregnancy when I made it to, through and past the end of week 13 without any sign of the beast I was thrilled, delighted, foolishly optimistic. And then, it happened, I was sitting in a restaurant, enjoying the last of my scrumptious Argentinian beef dinner and out of nowhere WHAM!! the searing, burning feeling arrived, seemingly from the great deep like some unimaginable mythological creature lying in wait only to pounce when I least suspected it, when I had been lulled into a false sense of "maybe this time will be different", when I was beginning to think last time had been a fluke. I tried to ignore it, repeating over and over again that mantra "if I don't acknowledge it, it isn't really there". But, the evidence was mounting, as was the discomfort and the frequency of craving little, chalky tasting discs of temporary relief. Over the last few days my hefty supply of American made antacids has noticeably dwindled and I have been reminded of this time 2 years ago when I never left home without them. I had industrial sized bottles stashed everywhere, my office, the car, my purse(s), my church bag, all 3 rooms of our tiny apartment, Kenny's pockets, my pockets (which also meant a fair amount were hidden in the washer and dryer as well). At the height of the pain I was popping upwards of 15 a day, much to the surprise of my OB who said "sometimes you'll have heartburn, but never bad enough to require more than one or two doses of (tums, rolaids, maalox, mylanta etc.) a couple of times a week" ha! ha! ha! I showed him. The silver lining in all of this is that after 6 months of antacids, this time around I knew in advance which ones worked and tasted the best...for me, that is. I had no idea, until I was forced to become intimately acquainted with these products, the breadth of available options. My assessment, and definitely more than you ever wanted or needed to know, is as follows: Mylanta: not convenient and yucky besides; Maalox: ditto and ditto; Rolaids: Softchews (tropical fruit, vanilla, cherry) taste great (relatively speaking) but don't work; Rolaids: Extra Strength, effective but only the fruit flavored ones are palatable; Tums: Smoothies - PUHLEASE!! - don't waste your time; Tums: EX, all flavors taste okay and it works pretty well in a pinch; And the winner...Tums Ultra, Maximum Strength, Assorted Berries flavor, 265ct (I've no doubt I'll be on bottle number 2 when this phase of my increasingly exciting and blogworthy life ends). So there you have it, a very, perhaps too, personal glimpse into the things that I am thinking about right now all day every day.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

An Heir and a Spare

A terrific benefit to being pregnant in Peru is that every doctor visit involves an ultrasound. So, at about 17 weeks we went in for my usual appointment to see if the genetic test results were normal (they are) and if the baby was growing as it should be (it is) and the doctor asked, "do you want to know the gender." Of course we want to know the gender! Since I found out I was pregnant I have been fantasizing about a whirlwind US shopping spree where I envision myself with heaps of clothing being gathered up as if my life depended on it. And, of course, the clothes in this daydream are always frilly, bedecked with flowers, ruffles, ribbons and rosettes, deliciously cute and above all PINK! Add to that my endless cravings for all things sweet (cupcakes, brownies, cheesecake, milkshakes, s'mores, candy and on and on and on) which usually means you're expecting a girl

and you can imagine our surprise when the doctor said...

Of course we are thrilled and not just at the inevitable financial benefits we will garner now that a whirlwind shopping spree is unnecessary (don't get me wrong, there will be shopping, though perhaps not to the degree I had planned). We are thrilled that he is healthy and developing normally and that this pregnancy has been uneventful so far. We are also delighted our family is expanding. And boys are great, we love boys. Furthermore, as my mother pointed out, boys are generally easier than girls over the long haul - she's got several of both so we'll trust her assessment. And, despite my daydreams, I have never really been the frilly type so perhaps this is just as well. And, depending upon how things go, baby #2 probably won't be our last so we could still have plenty of ruffles in our future. The only real issue expecting a boy creates is coming up with a name. We have had a girl's name at the ready since well before we ever needed one. But, as we found with Caleb, boys name are hard for us. We didn't even name Caleb until almost 2 days after he was born. Plus there is all kinds of pressure as you consider ways the name could be turned into something insulting or cruel, or what the initials spell or who to name the baby after (or rather who not to name the baby after for fear that you'll be reminded of that gross boy who drove you crazy in 7th grade) and the cadence of the first name, middle name, last name combination presents a challenge as well. At this point we don't even have any contenders and are hoping lightning will strike convincingly and soon.

Friday, August 17, 2007

If You're Interested, But Not Interested Enough To Look For It...

Of course we have spent the day responding to concerned family and friends and scouring every news source on the planet for any information about yesterday's earthquake, incidentally now upgraded from 7.9 to 8.0. Locally, the US Government has mobilized Embassy and Military personnel to assist with the response and we are sure there will be many immediate and future opportunities to provide the affected regions with aid. The Embassy also sent around some information from the USGS which we thought might be of some interest. The aftershocks are still rolling in as are the reports of damage and sadly, the death toll has reached more than 500.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Hola from Peru. As many of our faithful readers know I grew up in Hawaii, land of lush beaches, sparkling blue water and fragrant air so sweet it takes your breath away. And, to be fair, the land of Hurricanes, Tsunamis, Volcanic Eruptions and Flooding -- all these we had, all were devastating, sometimes deadly. What we did not have were Earthquakes. Last night, with my brother, his wife, her brother and my parents visiting, Kenny and I stood with Caleb and them in the doorways of our seemingly impenetrable house for nearly 2 minutes as a 7.9 Earthquake rolled through Peru, the epicenter less than 100 miles south of Lima. Since moving to Lima we have felt 2 previous earthquakes each lasting less than 10 seconds and of far less strength than last night's, but significant enough that we know the warning signs, and, we thought, what to expect. We were not prepared (emotionally, that is) for the events of last night. And, while we did not rush out into the streets to join our fellow Limenos, some escaping buildings they should never have been in in the first place, some looking for signs of the end of the world, many crying and wailing and reportedly seeing a strange light in the night sky, we were a little shaken (not just literally) and it took some time for the adrenaline to stop pumping. As we watched the news last night and have continued to read the reports rolling in today (Washington Post, New York Times, El Comercio, BBC) we are feeling exceedingly blessed to have come through this major event with next to no damage. We are happy to report that all of our elementary school and foreign service training instincts kicked in the instant we heard the glass begin to rattle and we darted for Caleb and the doorways. It is devastating to look at images of damage in places we have visited which are now lying in ruin and where so much death has occurred. Among the many things we are grateful for today is that our house is structurally sound and built to withstand the mighty clashing of tectonic plates.

One final note, yesterday we celebrated our 4th anniversary, still deliriously happy and looking forward to another 40 least. Needless to say, it was an anniversary we will not soon forget.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Please Sir, I Want S'Mores

Once upon a time a young, newly married couple walked through a Washington, DC, Linens 'n Things and spied, as if in a dream, a S'mores Maker! It was truly a moment of Kismet, because like all newly married couples, this couple believed not a single appliance or kitchen accoutrement existed that they did not own. This was not their first romp through stores of this ilk, but this time they were pleasantly surprised to find one more thing to squeeze into their minuscule, yet cozy first apartment. Completely wrapped up in the moment, the young couple thought of other young couples they knew and purchased, not one, but four of the serendipitous and totally superfluous apparatuses. The couple gave away three as gifts and carefully found a place for the fourth in their increasingly cramped living space where it was promptly forgotten.

Once upon a time a not quite as young couple had a baby, moved to Peru and were visited by their parents/in-laws. Their father/father in-law walked into their kitchen and in a vaguely familiar ah-ha moment said "A S'mores Maker, really? Can you actually make s'mores with that." The young couple looked at each other and thought, who knows, we certainly don't, never having used it or many of the other boxed items stored on the same impossible to reach shelf in our kitchen. The next day, one half of the young couple went to a local grocery store in search of graham crackers, Hershey bars and marshmallows (miracle of miracles, they all exist in Peru). That night the young couple, their parents/in-laws and the aforementioned baby roasted marshmallows (conveniently designed with a flat bottom, perfect for s'mores) in their dining room and had their fill of honest to goodness American campfire fun. The moral of the story is, impulse buys are always a good idea.

Caleb wasn't interested in the s'mores, just the chocolate which he ate like a piece of corn on the cob

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hail the Conquering Heroes

My 30 year-old husband and my 60 year-old father have just returned from hiking the historic Inca Trail from the Sacred Valley to spectacular Machu Picchu. To say that the trek was anything but grueling, would be to diminish their achievement, not to mention an abject lie. They hiked for 4 days, usually going up (and up and up) and down (and down and down) rough stairs hewn into the sides and ridges of the mountain itself. They slept on less than adequate mattresses in completely adequate sleeping bags provided by their tour company for the bargain price of $15. We hired a half a porter for each of them to carry their packs (they were allotted 18 pounds apiece) and both admit carrying their own packs would have been next to impossible. They each had a head lamp, a camelbak, well broken in and sturdy hiking shoes and a book, in case they had some down time...they did not, and each night fell into bed/bag utterly exhausted from the day's travails. They braved what sound like the most pitiful excuse for toilets on the planet, fairly treacherous conditions (no railings on the Inca trail) and sometimes extreme temperatures for a trip of a lifetime with spectacular views. On the morning of the 4th day they hiked through the Sun Gate on their way down to Machu Picchu where my mother, wisely opting not to have this particular experience of a lifetime, waited for them having arrived by train and bus. Tired and none too clean, to say they were thrilled to be done would not do justice to their emotions, but the pictures might. While Kenny may someday undertake another such trek, to make clear that he would not, ever, my father gave their guide his trekking poles and camelbak. He had arrived and was most decidedly, done.

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