Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Moment of Weakness

There are the most wonderful vintage , antique and second hand shops in Burbank. I was very bored the other day and went to It's A Wrap looking for a little something to cheer me up. It is where I found this:

But I didn't find anything there so I went over to a vintage shop that has mostly 40's and 50's stuff. I was just about to leave and the owner, in between cigarette puffs and coughing fits, told me to check out the shoes. Umm, ok. I know I shouldn't because I have heard that pregnancy can permanently change your shoe size. Well, I found out that I have 40's feet. I cannot wear anything made today with any kind of heel. But I can wear these 40's shoes with no pain. Miracle. So I talked the price down and got them. And I love them, even if I wear them only a couple of times.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Women's Lib?

I was driving to yoga this morning and there is this major intersection on my way to Hollywood right over the Hollywood Freeway. Thousands of thousands of people drive this route every day, as it is the ONLY way to get from The Valley to Hollywood. At this intersection are three giant billboards, one of which has rotating screens to advertise three shows at once. I usually ignore them because I am focusing on trying not to be killed by drugged up LA drivers on their cel phones. This morning I glanced up and saw ads for these these shows all at once. It was a T&A overload. Obviously the CW network owns these billboards. And right now there are TV shows which treat women as trophies, prizes, and

I asked myself, "What has happened?" Why is that generation of women so eager to be part of this objectification and exploitation? Is there no other way for these young women to feel appreciated? Is my generation as pathetic? Who is watching and supporting all this crap? I admit that I have been sucked into American Idol(talk about exploitation!), but at least it is in part about exploiting talent.

I had just been thinking how wonderful it is to finally have a woman running for president. What would our founding fathers have thought? Then I see that crap.

Beauty should be admired and celebrated. I see at least one tree every day that makes me stop in awe, and the beautiful effect of the golden sunshine on the lavender hills is breathtaking. And today I practiced yoga with the most beautiful pregnant women and one gorgeous 3 month old boy. I feel lucky that I see beauty in so many things, including beautiful young people. Not only am I fascinated with why there is such a fixation on the "women as trophies or objects" thing, but also with the idea that there is some kind of social psychology here. Is it an underlying fear that a society of powerful women is scary, and there is a subconscious need to keep them in the safely established gender roles? Or is this younger generation just so shallow? Both?

Living here, I am surrounded with such superficial poop all the time, and I have gotten so over it. But now I am thinking, "What if I have a girl? How am I going to keep her adjusted with all that around her?" It was hard enough for me growing up with 80s commercials for diet soda and suntan lotion and Elle MacPherson. All that is nothing compared to now. Is it going to get worse? What if I do have a daughter and she ends up wanting to be in an exploiting girl band? God, I can't even deal.

What do you think? Am I just being overly analytical?

Monday, February 25, 2008


I did not mean to sound negative in my last post about pregnancy. Yes, I have not had the greatest time the past three months, but I am so happy now. I feel the love!

Here are some of the changes that have been happening:

1. Don't like coffee. For the past three months the smell has made me gag. Now I just don't want any, doesn't taste so good. I used to love coffee. It was special treat. I miss it.

2. Same goes for garlic.

3. Well, the same pretty much goes for all food now, too. I used to simply adore food. Now all I want is grapes, salt, and corn flakes.

4. Because of a cantaloupe in my belly, I can no longer touch my toes or put my foot behind my head.

5. Has everyone always driven like maniacs? I have precious cargo here! Slow down!

6. My boobs are now farcical in size. I mean really, is that necessary?

7. Babies and Mothers are even more miraculous to me.

8. Today I feel better than I have since December 9th.

9. Things like dishwashers and washer and dryers seem even more magical and elusive.

I also know that this is nothing at all compared to the changes that are on the way!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Buying Property Is Scary

Went to look at a bunch of condos and townhouses today. But there is only one we are considering at all, and that is because it has three bedrooms. I couldn't believe it. There were actually two townhomes in the same monstrous mazelike complex (in which we only saw old men walking little white fluffy dogs). The first was owned by this Armenian family that decorated the place not unlike the parent's house in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Really. Every single pale pink wall was covered in roman columns and a ridiculous amount of decorative molding. There was a framed horse puzzle in the family room.
The back patio fence was lined with razor wire. Hmmmmm. And the wife hovered over us the whole time we were looking around.
The second one was empty. It has three bedrooms. Three. We could have a baby room. I had accepted the fact that we would have to choose between having a studio or a baby room. With three, we wouldn't have to. This place had very nice wood floors throughout. It needs a washer and dryer, refigerator, new range, (the one in there now is ancient, and not in a good retro way), and the cabinets in the kitchen and all three bathrooms are very gross, but that can wait I suppose. Our agent seems to think we can offer $250K to the bank (it's a foreclosure) and wait for a counter offer. The HOA for the place is $300 (for the love of Pete!). So our payment each month with bills and everything else(mortgage insurance, property tax, HOA, mortgage, food, etc.) would probably leave us with about $1200 a month to spare, if we stick to a tight budget. Is that cutting it too close?
I mean, we are really frightened and need advice. This whole BIG BIG SCARY purchase is too much. We know it's the smart thing to do, and we hate to keep giving our evil landlord money. But how do we know the real estate market will go back up? What if there is no equity in 5 years and we poured all our money into the place? I guess we could always go back to renting a crappy place in the perfect neighborhood again. Sigh. I just wish someone could tell us what to do!

Anyway, here are some pics from today:




LIVING ROOM (check out the mirror wall!)


Yes it is two levels. We could pretend it's a real house! Only drawbacks are no nice views, big maze of a complex, and no funky coffee shops or parks. What do you think?

Friday, February 22, 2008

A New Kind Of Love

I had wanted to have a baby since 1998. Before that I didn't know too many people who had babies. Didn't even know too many babies. The only time I spent around babies in the past were my own neice and nephew, who most of the time, lived in other states. I adored my nephew as a baby, but I was about 15 years old at the time. Having babies was the farthest thing from my mind. When I was in college, my sister, niece and nephew stayed with my folks and me for a while. My niece was about 3 or 4 at the time, and unfortunately, not the sweetest thing in the world. I was also working at CVS, where frantic and exhausted looking women would come in with screaming kids. I had decided that kids were a mistake some people made - to try to keep a doomed marriage together or the result of failed birth control.
But I remember this time I met this little boy while working at Koenig Art Store. He came in with his Mom, and he was so outgoing, started talking to me by himself. He said, "My name is Sean. And I have a brother - his name is Patrick."
I said,"Wow, you must be Irish."
He looks at me with this look of pity and exasperation,"NO, I told you, my name is SEAN."
I was instantly smitten. We chatted for a while, and so amazing was our connection that his Mom asked if I would babysit because he seemed to like me so much. I declined because I thought, well, I have absolutely no experience with kids and I would be a terrible babysitter. But I remember that moment when that cute little boy stole my heart. I never looked at kids the same since.

Then, a few years later, Marianne, a woman with whom I had worked as a decorative painter for years, had a baby boy, Leo. It was the first time a friend of mine had a baby. And I was finally mature enough to recognize what Marianne was describing to me. She loved to tell me about her feelings for her Leo. How it has changed the way she sees everything. I could see how much fun she had with Leo and the bliss she received from him. She would cry when describing something sweet or cute that he did.
And something that really blew my mind was this one time we all went to get Mexican food somewhere in Brooklyn after working in the city. Marianne still worked with us while baby Leo would stay with her parents. Next to our table was a woman who was with her own baby, who was hungry and crying. That baby was very cute too, and when he started cryng, I noticed Marianne slouched down in her chair, pulling her shirt. I asked her what was the matter. She told me that the crying baby made her gush out milk. I was stunned. Not even her own baby. I was completely awed at the power of that . Her motherly instincts took over her body. Her desire to calm that baby made her body do something miraculous. I am sure some folks heard that baby, and their reaction was one of intolerance and annoyance. I needed to know what being a Mommy was like. That kind of love, that kind of total transformation of body, heart, and perspective.

Then it seemed everyone I knew was having babies. And my friend at Paier College, Sue Falato, who was cupid for Mark and me, had a baby girl. I started talking to anyone who would indulge me about what it was like to have a baby. There was just one problem I had nobody to have a baby with. And finally Mark came into my life. And I knew he was the one. There were times when I couldn't look at Mark and not wonder what our baby would look like. The love we shared and the intensity of my admiration and love for him - I needed to know. But I still needed to wait. And wait. Wait for a steady job, wait for Mark to feel ready, wait for marriage. Until finally waiting was no longer necessary or smart.

So here I am, and pregancy is nothing like I imagined it would be. I do not feel like the glowing, enlightened, happy, happy life-giving miracle I thought I would. Instead I have felt nauseous, sick, bloated, lonely, nervous and bored. But now that I am feeling this cantaloupe in my belly, what I didn't imagine is the feeling of having a tiny person in there, with whom I am sharing blood, emotions, and a new kind of love.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

More House Hunting

Went to look at these "condos" today with Mark. I use quotation marks because they are really just dressed up apartments. But their prices are really low. Bad points: There are no real views, a small laundry room in the basement, no balconies, big construction project across the street, it's a neighborhood that we wouldn't stay in because of terrible schools, and they are about 850 square feet. Good points: Everything is brand new, central air, only $200 HOA, and the neighborhood is not scary. And we could probably get one for $275,000. Believe it or not, that is a very good price.

Also looked at this house in Burbank in an amazing area. It is a foreclosure selling at $399K. (Most houses in that area go for $600K and up.) So at that price we were used to something that has no roof, in a crack den, or with a electric plant in the front yard. So we thought, well let's see what scary thing this is. It does need a lot of cosmetic work. Needs: some new windows, new floors, all appliances, major scrubbing, paint, some landscaping, and new cabinets. Also, there is about 5 feet in between houses, and no back yard. Our awesome realtor, Alison, says we can offer $330K because it is a foreclosure. Here are some pics:

tiiiiiiiny kitchen


2nd bathroom


(You can see I already have a bit of belly. Belly pics to come soon.)

How about that red room? The house is in a great neighborhood with a fantastic bike/jog path right across the street where folks are walking their dogs, jogging, strolling with babies. It is in a great school district. And within walking distance are cafes, cool shops, a Rite Aid, and a park. The question is, can we do all that cosmetic work with a baby in the picture? And can we afford the extra expenses?

Big decisions. We would love any advice! Especially, how much of a tax break do you really get from interest deductions?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Vomitous Valentine's Day

Mark and I are celebrating Love this weekend, because all I was celebrating on Velentine's Day was porcelain. I debated whether to share this, but it is just so ridiculous and almost farcical. If I didn't know I was pregnant and a slave to those hormones I seriously would have thought I had been poisoned and dying. I woke up at 5am, having to run to the bathroom to throw up, and then continued to throw up every 30-40 minutes until 3 in the afternoon. I would sip water, gnaw on a cracker, only to have to throw it up. If I just happened to even think of a word associated with food, I would have to go throw up. 'No, don't say spatula!' Aaaagh. Today all my stomach muscles and even muscles in my neck and shoulders I didn't even know existed are so sore. And today I feel fine. Go figure.

Enough of that. What I really wanted to talk about today was love. I don't think the origin of St. Valentine's Day was about chocolate and diamonds or even about being in love, but I like to celebrate the love part. I am where I am now because of love. Love brought me to Los Angeles and knocked me up. So I guess, in a way, it was love that made me puke all day! Ha!
I was friends with Mark in Paier College(90-94), and didn't see him again for almost 10 years. I bumped into him again because of the same college. In 2003, he came to give a lecture and I was teaching there.
I really had a thing for him in school, but never really told him. I figured I wasn't pretty enough or cool enough, and he was a bit of a wise ass. I thought his attentions toward me were just to get me into bed. That's what my parents always told me boys only ever wanted. I remember being in almost all the same classes, and even working on a drawing project together. He would always saunter in late, wearing a heavy metal t-shirt, combat boots and long hair, cracking some joke. I thought he was the hottest guy I had ever seen. I recall how the smell of him made me feel weird, a little dizzy and excited. In my high school not many boys had long hair, but I always had crushes on those few. They were mysterious and bad boys. They probably kissed good, I thought. Through the years at art school, Mark and I stayed friends.

Well, it turns out he had a big thing for me too, and never said anything.

We went on with our separate lives after graduation. I joined art sketching groups, went out goth dancing, had a couple of doomed relationships, traveled, worked in Manhatten, and drifted along. It was at the end of a way too long relationship, that I moved back in with my folks for a while, and was teaching at Paier College.
Which brings us to the reuniting. I was good friends with Paier's student activities director, Sue Falato, and she happened to mention to Mark at his lecture that I was teaching there and that I was *single*. Oh, yeah. Well just one catch: Mark is moving to California in 3 weeks. I called the number on his card, excited to see an old friend. Mark sounded a little distracted and mentioned that maybe next week he will have some time, being in the middle of packing up his life. So we made plans to meet on Sunday, which happened to be the day after my birthday. And also happened to be the day after I stayed up all night partying in Manhatten, but wasn't too tired the next afternoon. God, I could never do that now. The next 10 days were a blur. I felt like a pawn in a game, being moved around, following some grand plan. Didn't sleep much; We would stay up all night talking. When I had to go to work and leave him, it hurt. But the BIG THING, which even as it was happening I was all,"Wha?", happened one day when Mark and I went to a cafe. We were chatting about everything and nothing, sitting in a bubble of sleep-deprived euphoria. And then I felt this electrically charged gentle wind inside my body, filling my breath. A sweet, distant voice said, "This is him. This is the father of your children." And I looked around me, like "Wha? Jeez, Joy you need some sleep." Naaah, wishful thinking, maybe.
But it didn't take long for me to realize I really was in big trouble. What am I going to do? He is moving to Los Angeles! Three days before he was to get in his car and drive to the other side of the country, he laid it on me. He pulled me close and said, "I have to tell you something. I am in love with you." Without hesitation, I told him that I loved him too. We cried.
And we made a plan. I knew I would spend the rest of my life with him, even more than I was certain about the sun rising every morning. We were a great team. I felt I knew him as well as I knew myself. I know how he works, and I finally felt someone understood my wacky self.
So he would go to LA, and see how it goes. I would stay in Connecticut, and see how it goes. I flew out there every single moment I could to be with him. We paid thousands in plane tickets and cel phone bills. FYI: Cingular won't give long distance love discounts.
Two months after we met(again), we decided we would get married. (It only took us 4 years to actually get around to the wedding.) And ten months later, we moved in together in Burbank. Then, adopted two cats, got engaged, got married, and got pregnant, in that order. I feel we are the luckiest people to have found eachother.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Stuff For Baby

Pretty soon, we will hopefully know the gender of Baby Covell. And I know already that there are very excited Grandparents who are trembling with baby shopping anticipation.

So my question is: Do you have any recommendations for where to register? And what things are necessary and what things are a waste of space? I have looked on BabysRUS and Target, but I just don't know. Maybe it doesn't really matter, and I just like obsessing over these things!

Yesterday I went to It's A Wrap, a store here in town to which all the TV and movie studios give props and the amazing clothes from their wardrobe departments when they don't need them anymore. They had baby and kid's clothes there, and they were so cute and from really nice labels, but very gender specific, so I couldn't get anything. (How's that for a run on sentence?) Anyway, it was frustrating.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Home Birth vs Hospital

Yes, I am taking it easy. And I am a little bored and lonely. It's okay, though, because I would do anything in the world to keep the little one safe in there. I cannot remember the last time I went this long without exercise. I get winded going up one flight of stairs! Heck, I could go on and on about all the hormone related stuff. But I'll sum it up: heartburn, crying at anything, asleep by 10pm, peeing every 20 minutes, inability to tolerate any bullshit, constipation, nausea and headaches. No big deal. Bring it on! It's all worth it to eventually know the feeling of this:

Thanks, Dave and Christy.

So I have started thinking about and researching the home birth versus hospital birth idea. I have thought about it even before I met Mark. I want to temper my thoughts from being too new-agey or too conventional, and focus on what's best for Mark and me.
On one extreme there are the folks who want to give birth naked under a tree in the mountains. On the other extreme is lying in a hospital bed with IVs in my arms, a tube in my spinal cord, monitors strapped to my belly, and my legs in stirrups.
If everything goes normally, I am completely comfortable with having a certified nurse midwife come to my apartment to assist my giving birth. We live less than 2 miles from the hospital just in case. I have spoken to women who have done this, and they recommend it enthusiastically.
Also, I think I am capable of having the kind of experience I want in the hospital. My fear is that I will be pressured to do things contrary to my wishes in the hospital. Maybe I have read too many bad stories. But why would there be so many bad hospital birth stories and practically none about home births?
Mark is so wonderful and listens to all my ramblings intently and patiently. We want this to be a team effort and mutual decision.
I think that my generation thinks that a hospital birth is the way it should be. It is all we have ever seen or heard about. Actually, home birth has been the norm throughout history, and still is the norm in most other countries. And with all my research of medical studies, I have yet to find one that says that hospital birth shows any advantage with a normal pregnancy birth. And I have read many which show much much lower rates of cesareans and epesiotomies, and shorter labors in home births. The bottom line is I want to have the freedom to move around and be in whatever position that feels best for me when the birth comes. The next step is to go to the hospital and see what their policies are. I'll let you know how that goes.

What are your feelings about this matter? I would love to hear your opinion!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Take It Easy

This is me.

Tuesday was a little stressful. I went to see Dr. Sofya. I call her Dr. Sofya because her last name is Tsya-can't-pronounce-to-save-my-life-ska. I went in last minute because things were happening in my baby making parts that weren't supposed to be. Turns out the baby's house is sitting low, too close to the exit. It's not dangerous, but I have to 'take it easy' for the next 4 weeks until everything starts moving upwards, away from the exit. She did a sonogram and the little thing is moving around like crazy with a big old strong heart. My blood pressure is 95/65 and I finally stopped gaining weight.(They say that weight gain isn't supposed to start until the 4th month. Shut up.)
I said, "Take it easy? I don't do that."
Dr. Sofya says, "No sex and no heavy lifting." Oops, I didn't tell her about all the moving of boxes and all the aerobics and handstands I have been doing.
"But that's all I do now; I'm unemployed", I said.
Dr. Sofya smiles, "No."
"Can I do yoga?"
"Can I go to the gym?"
"Can I go for a walk?"
"Just take it easy."
So I can go for easy walks. I really need some new hobbies now. My old hobbies of sex and heavy lifting are on the back burner.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

What Am I, A Bird?

Yesterday, I decided that I had to go through all my clothes, and pick out two big bag's worth to give away. But why is it so hard for me to get rid of clothes? Why, yes, I will fit into these jeans again, so I'll just keep those, besides they cost $70! And this purple 80's shirt with butterflies on it, well, sure I have worn it once, but it is so pretty and funky. And, yes, I DO need 20 pairs of bras!
Problem is, I have one 3 foot wide closet to hold my shoes, fancies, and workout gear. And one 3 drawer dresser from Ikea to hold everything else.
It just doesn't seem like a lot of storage for me. I don't think I am a clothes whore. What do you have for clothes? Should I be able to fit everything into these spaces? I just hate to throw out good clothes, but I have to make room for a new person to live here! Yaaaaaayyy! Guess who is going to get the Ikea dresser for diapers and onesies? Not Mark!

So what to do? Then I decided that the studio/office room, which is a little bigger than the bedroom, needs to be the new sleeping, clothes, baby room. It is a whole whopping 11'X 13'. What are we going to do with all that space? Just for fun, I made a small scale drawing of the room, and cut out to-scale pieces of paper. I figured out the bigger room could hold a bed, dresser, crib, and YES, even a new wardrobe! And still have room to walk around in it. We will get to paint the walls a new fun color. and maybe even get new curtains. Glee!

The current bedroom is 10'X 12', so it will be the new studio. Now we have to figure out how all of our stuff is going to fit into the smaller room. So I started to go through everything in the studio, throwing things away, and packing lots of more stuff into bins which I can put s o m e where.....uhhh.... in the garage! Okay, now we have to clean out the garage! Oh, boy!

Weird thing is that I am completely psyched to do all this. Sure I am unemployed and bored, but I am feeling this very strong (nesting)need to make a functional, comfy place to live.

So how have you tackled the getting house ready for baby thing?