Monday, July 28, 2008

32 weeks and counting

So I'm now about 32 weeks along and overall I'm doing really well. I get hot really easily (par for the course) and unfortunately I've started throwing up again. Last week was my worse pregnancy thow-up experience yet because I was at a focus group facility with a client and had to sprint out of the room to the bathroom and didn't quite make it in time. Thankfully I was able to clean up my clothes pretty well.

Here's a new picture of me. It's not great, but does show my growing belly somewhat (though it still looks small compared to my chest). The picture is from the back room of a furniture store where I was trying out rockers.

D measured my belly yesterday and it's 41 1/2 inches. What amazes me is that it's only 2 inches bigger than it was the last time we meaured it which was 13 weeks ago. It looks like it's grown a lot more than 2". For the most part I'm still maintaining the no sweets diet (still not craving sweets, though they don't gross me out anymore), so I think if I wasn't gaining baby weight I would probably have lost about 8-10 lbs just from not eating candy and sweets.

I'm going to pick up our new (to us) car in about a 1/2 hour. After hemming and hawing over it, we finally decided on a used Toyota Highlander. We would have liked something more fuel effecient, but the reality is we wanted the all wheel drive (the roads get rough where we are in the winter), and I found the seats on the Highlander to be much more comfortable than the Forrester or CR-V. I really thought I would be a station wagon owner rather than an SUV owner, but none of the wagons were quite right for us. Other than being higher off the ground, the Highlander is a lot like a station wagon.

In getting the new car, we're saying goodbye to D's Camry. He bought it new when he finished college and has put 205,000 miles on it over the years. It was a good car, but it's time for it to go...just didn't make sense to replace or repair anything on it at this point.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nightmare Traffic!!

I typically have about a 45 minute morning commute. Sometimes it's a little less depending on what time I leave in the morning (the later I leave, the better). This morning, my commute took 2 hours 15 minutes--3 times as long as usual! I started out on my usual route. I heard on the radio that it was a little backed up, but that's par for the course on a rainy day. After sitting in the car for 1 hour 15 minutes, I finally called the traffic hotline. Turns out, the on ramp I take from one highway to the next was completely closed due to flooding and they were re-routing everyone who wanted to get onto 128 North onto 128 South. Great. So they're taking 3 lanes of traffic, merging them into 2 on the on ramp, and then merging them into the rest of a busy highway when half of those people want to be going in the opposite direction. Most people who needed to change direction got off at the first exit but I knew that would be massively backed up, so I decided to go down another exit. Of course, then the northbound side was bumper to bumper with people merging back on to the highway.

I ended up driving a big loop, going way out of my way, in order to get on roads that were going a decent speed. Here's the route I took to work this morning:

View Larger Map

Oh, and I forgot to mention that for the first hour of the drive I felt like I was going to throw up at any moment. I even reached around to the back seat and grabbed one of my reusuable grocery bags in case I needed to vomit spontaneously and couldn't pull over in time. I almost pulled over 3 times. So that was my morning. I'll be calling the traffic hotline before I go home. Right now, is telling me that the on ramp for a different highway on my way home is closed due to flooding. Great. Hopefully I can find a shorter route to avoid flooding than I did this morning.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Shout Out to our Tomatoes

So, I was checking on the analytics of my blog today because I like to see how many reader I have and where they come from. I had a whole bunch of referrals from a site called so I visited the site to check out how I got on there (most of my referrals come from blogs where I have left comments...I had never heard of this site). There, in the July 6th post, was a picture of my tomato plants and a link to this blog. Check it out here.

And here's a picture of the tomatoes from July 9th. We enjoyed the first red tomatoes when we returned from vacation on July 14th.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Maine Vacation

D and I spent 5 days in Maine last week--a "babymoon" of sorts where we got to enjoy some things that we won't be able to do next summer with a baby. I'll go into details on some of the specifics in subsequent posts, but here's an overview.

For 2 nights we stayed in Ogunquit which is one of the towns furthest south on the Maine coast. We stayed at a place called the Admiral's Inn which D rates as a 2 out of 5 stars. It was on the main street into town, about 1/2 mile from the restaurants/shops. I picked it because the price was reasonable and it had a pool. We stayed in the main inn. Well, the room was small, the AC set off the carbon monoxide alarm, the bed wasn't comfortable, and the breakfast left something to be desired, but the pool was excellent! I enjoyed about 2 hours in the pool both afternoons we were there--pregnancy heaven! While I typically prefer the beach to the pool, the water in Southern Maine is so cold that there was no way I was going to go swimming when we were at the beach.

The highlight of our stay in Ogunquit was dinner at Arrows restaurant. A number of years ago I attended the wedding of my friends Chelsea and Thomas at Arrows and since then I've really wanted to go back. The restaurant is well-known to foodies and I will do a full post with a review of our meal. Overall, it was a terrific dining experience--the food was exceptional, the service was very attentive, the pacing was perfect, and our walk through the vegetable garden was inspiring.

After our 2 nights in Ogunquit we headed up the road to Camden. There we stayed 2 nights at the Spouter Inn in Lincolnville Beach which was just a short drive from all of the "action" in Camden. Camden is a much quieter town than Ogunquit, but I think in some ways it has more to offer. There's a public landing in Camden where there are numerous schooners for daysailing and Windjammers for overnight sails. Had I not been pregnant, I would probably have convinced D that we should do a 3-day sail, but I wasn't sure how well pregnancy and sleeping on a schooner go together.

The Spouter Inn (photo below from their website) was a fabulous B&B experience. I'd give it a 5. The inkeeper, Grant, gave us really good recommendations on places to eat and things to do and see. Breakfast was amazing--the first morning I had fruit, french toast, and home made sausage and on the second morning I had a crustless veggie quiche with lobster. Interestingly, the week before we stayed at the Spouter, it had been written up in the Travel section of the Boston Sunday Globe.

While in Camden we took a 2 hour sail on the Surprise. The boat was designed as a replica of a Gloucester fishing schooner, only on a smaller scale. Typically the owners captain the boat for tourists, but on the day we went their children gave them the day off. Our captain was their son who is an editor at Down East magazine and first mate was his sister. Both had lots to say about Camden, the surrounding area, and the people who live in and visit Camden (including a story about the captain of Martha Stewart's yacht not being able to bring her boat into a berth in Camden one day). When we got home and were reading the website for the Surprise, I found out that the sister of the folks who took us sailing is married to a guy from the town where I grew up (in fact, I grew up on milk delivered from his father's dairy).

We ate lunch on both days in Camden at the Camden Deli which has great views of Camden Harbor, and had a very good lobster roll (lots of claw meat and very little mayonaise). Dinner our first night was at a brand new (3rd night open) flatbread pizza restaurant called Paolino's Way. The salad there was excellent and the pizza was very good. Dinner our second night was at a little place called Francine Bistro whihc had been recommended to us the weekend before by friends of friends. It was excellent, and I will be writing a post specifically about this restaurant.

While I was napping one afternoon, D went to a local winery called Cellardoor Vineyard owned by a couple of people from Boston. He did a full tasting and found a few of the wines to his liking. He bought one bottle for us to enjoy post-baby. He brought me there the next morning to see the restored barn that houses the tasting room and to take a walk thorugh the gardens and vineyard. It was inspiring, especially for the 2 of us who like to dream about D's company stock skyrocketing so we can buy a "gentleman's farm."

Surprisingly we didn't buy much on the trip. We weren't looking for anything in particular and there were a few things I considered, but I guess I'm getting more practical about souveniers from vacations. It was tempting to get cute things for the baby, but not knowing the gender has really helped me hold back from buying things. I was going to buy capiline long underwear for the baby at the Patagonia outlet but D vetoed that idea (even though I told him that we could save on heating oil if we dressed the baby in a base layer of long johns). The one thing we did get, other than a bottle of wine and some maple syrup for the family taking care of Mercury, was a print for the baby's room. It's an illustration from the children's book "Bunny My Honey" (which I have never read) and will look really nice in the baby's room. If I remember correctly, it's this illustration which is from the cover of the book.

That about sums up the bulk of the vacation. We didn't take many pictures (didn't bring the "good" camera), but I'll post whatever we have. And, I will get those posts about Arrows and Frnacine written in the next week so stay tuned. I'll try to channel all of the food bloggers and magazine editors I read to make my reviews do justice to the restaurants.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

I'm a guest blogger today at Hank and Willie, a blog maintained by a friend of mine who just happens to be featured in Real Simple this month. There you can read a couple of Independence Day inspired recipes that I blogged about last summer.

Today on The Importance of Being Stacey, a blog written by one of D's colleagues, Stacey references a "What Cheese Are You" quiz. I just had to take it. Turns out, I'm Camebert which is, in fact, one of my favorite cheeses; however, I'm not sure how well the description really suits me (organized, me??).

"You are a creamy, delicate tasting cheese. You are refined and graceful and very organized. As a very insightful cheese, you like to ponder the meaning of life."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Favorite Things -- White Vinegar

Lots of people expound on the wonders of white vinegar--it's good for cooking, cleaning, and many other things, but only once have I encountered my favorite use for white vinegar--insect repellant!!! I share this tip with people all the time because it really is that good.

Yes, white vinegar makes an excellent cheap, safe, and natural insect repellant. I read this in the book "Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean" and haven't read about it anywhere else.

I am a mosquito magnet and I live in a major mosquito area. If I go out into the yard after work without protection, even for 10 minutes, I am guaranteed at least 3 mosquito bites. Pretty much the same thing at any time of day. I avoid walking down to the mailbox and taking walks around the neighborhood with D (unless it's cool enough for pants and a long sleeved shirt) just because of the mosquitos.

So, when I read about using white vinegar as insect repellant I knew I had to try it. The first time I used it I applied it to my exposed skin with cotton balls. As you can imagine, the smell isn't great, but it does fade. These days I tend to douse myself with the stuff, especially when I garden. I take out my spray bottle filled with vinegar and water and spritz every bit of exposed flesh, including my hair. For my face I spritz the vinegar into my hands and rub on my face. I usually end up spraying my clothes too.

I can be out all day and not get even one mosquito bite if I'm doused with vinegar. I smell like a pickle, but it's worth it. Now I just need to experiment with a way to use it when in public without people make strange faces when they smell me. It's one thing to smell like vinegar when I go to the garden center, but another thing to smell like it at an outdoor cocktail party!

Oh, and should you go out without the vinegar and get a mosquito bite, put a drop of white vinegar on the bite and it will take away the itch.

For other great things to do with vinegar, check out The Vinegar Institute website.