Friday, May 30, 2008

I Remember When It Was 99 Cents

This is the cheapest gas station here. How much is gas in your town?

Thursday, May 29, 2008


You all know that Mark and I have been looking for a place to buy. For over a year. We have put offers in on two places only to be told we are too poor to have them. We have looked at houses that I was sure were either going to collapse around us, were described as "nice site for new building", or smelled of death. We have looked at condos in which you had views of concrete, the freeway, or smelled of death.
Why have we been doing this? Giving up our weekends, evenings, and sanity to go look at the next property? We love our neighborhood. We adore and trust our neighbors. We have a big apartment (for LA).

We don't do this only for investment reasons. We do it because we cannot stand giving our landlord our money. I will not say that I have any emotion for the landlord at all. I don't consider him human, and therefor no emotions are necessary. Landlord feels no responsibility to make improvements on his building.

I never thought I would stoop so low as to publish bad words about someone. But, oh well, I have. Mark, I, and our neighbors love to gather and talk about landlord. We have all complained about the plumbing and hot water in the building for years. Josh, my downstairs neighbor has been taking cold showers for months. I told landlord about the complete lack of hot water in the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Two years ago. Nothing. I had a plumber come (we paid for him) to assess the situation. Plumber said you need new pipes and a new hot water heater. I passed this info along to landlord. Response? Nothing. Even when we moved in, landlord came by with a friend. Said no words to me as he walked around, talking to friend, and then left without a word.

Landlord's mother and father owned this building, and landlord and sister managed it. Until landlord had building transferred from widowed mom to himself, leaving mom penniless. Heard this right from said mom. I see no reason to disbelieve it.

Here is a copy of a recent letter Mark sent to landlord:

His response:

He has had one plumbing company here three months ago. Since then: Nothing.
My favorite part? "I hope you will cooperate..." Huh? What the hell is that supposed to mean? And no response to baby coming at all.

So sorry for the acid post today. I really needed to get this off my mind.

What landlord horror stories do you have? I would love to hear them!

Monday, May 26, 2008

2 Months To Go - Holy Crap

The past ten weeks have just sneaked speedily on by. Like greased lightening. Like quiet ninjas.

Here is the latest belly. We have been neglecting our belly growth documenting. Baby and I had a huge growth spurt over the past few weeks. On my 27 week visit my fundal height measured 27 cm. Right on target. Then at my 29 week visit I measured 31 cm. Twice the usual growth. And I had gained 4 pounds. It is so weird to get on the scale and see the numbers I am seeing. Plus I gained a bunch of weight in the first trimester, hardly any in the second, and now the third is really going full speed. If my belly keeps going at this rate, I will be in big trouble.

30 Weeks

Luckily, I have only 2 months for growth, but 2 months now feels like no time at all. And I am officially freaking out and nesting like nobody's business. On top of just getting stuff for Baby(heck, that seems like the easy part), I have already thrown out, given away, and tag saled so much stuff. I want that old cat-scratched Ikea clearance couch out of here. The storage in the garage is packed to the top with stuff. Oh my God, everything is so damn dirty all of a sudden. Can I just power spray everything down with bleach? Can't we just get all new grout, baseboards, floors, and windows? Like, now? Why do we have so much stuff? Throw it ALL out! And shave the cats; they shed too much. Oh, no EARTHQUAKES! Bolt everything down. I know whatever we don't will fall right on the baby. Replace all glass with plastic. We need smoke detectors every three feet. I need to meditate and visualize twice a day. Perineum massage. Lead paint? Circumcision? NAME??? Zzzzzzttt..pop, my brain just checked out.

I feel like I am always on Mark's heels. We gotta do this, gotta do that! Running out of time! What if Baby comes early? Aaackk!

But now is also the very best time of all, and I wish I could be 7 months pregnant for like 2 more months. I feel the best I have felt so far, and have energy to do yoga, walk, and swim. Baby is moving around so much that he wakes me up, and his movements are so strong they can make my body move. He flips all around, kicks, stretches out, hiccups, and plays tag with my pokes. I poke my belly here, and he pokes back. The most amazing thing ever. I love to sit back and watch my belly morph and bump with his acrobatics. I am feeling his presence more now. I am starting to feel a soul and a consciousness in there.

I am not ready for it to end so soon!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Caution: Nudity

Usually around this time, I am in Florida attending the Forgotten Coast Paint Out. And usually I am planning my trip to Monhegan, to which I usually go in July-August to catch all the tourist money. The best time to really go is September. Not as many people and perfect weather. But, with the timing of Baby Boy Covell's arrival (August 4th), I made the decision to stay put. So with the ending of my part time assistant job because of morning sickness(or all day yacking, as I call it) and the (sort of) bedrest I was ordered, I have not been making any money, which bothers me more than I thought it would.
But I have been doing some painting. No plein air painting, though. Can't imagine being out all day when I have to pee every 30 minutes, eat every 2 hours, and get a sunburn just thinking about it. And I am either shivering cold or sweating my toosh off, sometimes at the same time. I am not complaining. I will take all that over nausea any day!

So here is a sampling of some work:

This is a study with a gorgeous model wearing this silly head wrap.

Here is a little study of my turp jar. It has been to Maine, Florida, and San Luis Obispo.

And I think I will never, ever tire of painting pears.

And here is the nudity I promised. This is Laura and her boobs.

So, yes, I will miss all my friends in Florida and on Monhegan this year. And painting there of course. And I will miss the money that I might have made. I have a hunch that that will change the moment I look into my son's eyes for the first time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Palm Springs

Mark and I went to palm Springs last weekend to attend an art opening at the M Modern Gallery in which he had a painting. The theme was Tiki, which I surmised was much more a boy thing than a girl one. Here is Mark with his painting, and a nice red dot next to it.

He was worried that he might not sell it, but I knew he would. I personally do not like art openings. There are too many strangers who are all looking for free booze, and hardly anyone is looking at the paintings. At least those who are serious buyers don't mind.

Well, I love any excuse to get out of LA County, and our good friends, Jeff and Rich, invited us to stay for the weekend in Palm Springs. They are the best hosts with lots of booze, fun friends, a huge gorgeous house, and a pool.They took us the The Living Desert, where they take care of rescued animals, and keep desert plants. It was a real hot day, and most of the critters were hiding, and the plants were pretty burnt, but it was still thrilling to see the big birds:
This guy was giving me the stink eye.

And this amazing Golden Eagle was using his water dish as a little pool.

And these wolves were taking a late afternoon nap. I thought they were definitely lovers.

And I can't believe these guys stayed still for me.

And on Sunday we went to brunch at this amazing place (can't remember the name - must be the hormones), with more food than I have ever seen in one place, and a Mariachi band. I think Jeff has a crush on the singer:

Here is Jeff and Rich, enjoying the serenade.

You can get married in California now, guys. Yay!

Then we went back to the house and sat by the pool, sunning our bloated bellies. Ahhhhhhhhh. Except I stayed out of the sun to protect my super-sensitive pregnancy skin. And I couldn't drink margaritas by the pool, or have champagne at the brunch. But that's okay, I will make up for all that in due time.
I think we need to go back there again this weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Home Birth

I promise I will write about something other than the pregnancy soon. I am doing other things, ya know. I am going to a sketch group again, painting, getting apartment baby-ready, yoga, and more yoga.

And I have debated telling everyone this, but then I remembered that I am not Dooce and most likely will not get any horrible comments or emails. So anyway, we have decided to have a home birth. I talked about it before, and after many talks, tons of research, interviewing midwives, watching this movie 3 times, we feel so good about out decision. And we picked a midwife, Davi, who we love and trust. She is a former hospital bound nurse midwife, and now a private one, with 20 years experience helping babies come into the world.

And contrary to what I assumed, LA is not full of birth centers and midwives. I found four midwives and NO birth centers. And many of the hospitals do not allow midwife births or have birthing tubs. I was shocked at this, and I assumed it was probably a matter of big business insurance crap. My OB, who is a super sweet woman, had to have so many patients just to make her huge malpractice insurance costs. This is why I wait 45 minutes to see her for 5 minutes. And I was completely forgotten one time. I know she doesn't want it that way either. The office would tell me that I had to go here and get this test, and this blood work, and then this other test. Okay. But then I would have to call them two weeks later to find the result. My last blood test showed I had very low iron, and they didn't even call me. ( I started taking iron supplements, and man, oh, man, what a difference!) They are way too overloaded.

On the contrary, at the initial consultation visit with the midwife we all talked for two hours. That's more time I ever spent talking to the OB combined. There were all these pictures of babies coming out of hoohas on every wall. There was a very comfy waiting area with books and nobody else in it. And the next visit was an hour. They told me they always leave room for an hour at every visit. They come to the house for the birth, stay for two hours after, and come visit the day after, and for four more home visits after that. I have their personal cel phone numbers. They made it very clear that they take no chances - if they think anything looks questionable, off to the hospital, where they stay and be doulas. They come to the house with just about everything they would have at the hospital except epidurals and scalpels.

I believe that the routine the hospitals do is not in synch with what the body needs. I would think that a laboring woman needs to move around and to feel safe. I know for me, I need to feel safe and comfortable in my environment so I feel free to to let my body take over. And to have a midwife there every second when I need her. I feel that having nurses running in at every blip on a fetal monitor strapped to my belly would drive me to a panic. The rates for interventions, cesareans, and fetal deaths rose immediately when fetal monitoring started. America has one of the very worst fetal and maternal death rates in hospitals. The rate for home births is much lower. The rate for cesarean surgeries is so high in hospitals (40% in the hospital here!) In home births, the rate for hospital transfer is 8%, and only 4 to 5% of those end up in cesarean. The rate of tearing and episiotomies are practically nil. All these things were pivotal in our decision.

Now the next big decision. A pediatrician. Any advice about that one? Gah, I am so worried about this decision. There aren't too many in our insurance near us. And I do not like the idea of having to drive 40 minutes (without traffic) to one.

We already warned all our neighbors about the likeliness of 3am howling in early August. But we have heard plenty of stuff like that coming from their apartments, so we're even.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I'm Not A Writer

I'm not a writer. Not a good one, anyway. I appreciate good writing. I seek it out constantly in books and online. But I'm best at painting, and if I could have other talents, I would choose having a great voice and the ability to write well. (Oh, and probably to dance, like ballet.) So that the singing and writing would bring people to strong emotional places. But emotionally, I am more of a receiver than a speaker. (See, a good writer wouldn't have so many sentence fragments.)

I wish my writing could give you a sense of how blown away I am with being pregnant and my feeling of impending parenthood. I might be going along in my day and forget I am pregnant, but then I will feel him move, or I will feel my expanding belly, and remember. Now, it is getting harder and harder to forget. And then I realize,"Wow, I am the pregnant woman in the room."

It seems like such a contradiction for me. I know there are millions of pregnant women and millions of new Moms, but at the same time, I feel like my pregnancy, my love for Mark, my giving birth is the biggest, most important thing in the whole world. But there is this little voice that says,"You are just one of countless preggos and it's so ordinary, really." And then I tell that little voice that it's not needed here, and go back to feeling divine, human, and awestruck.

Like with anything BIG in my life, I know this will come to me slowly. This realization that there is a person in me. A person who chose Mark and me. Who has his own quirks, talents, likes and dislikes. Who is part of my anatomy, but will soon be separate, whole. And who will slowly grow and need us less and less.

But for now, I still can't believe it.