Monday, July 28, 2008

Have you come to raise the dead?

I blame Rose.

She invited me to join Facebook, the pervasive social-networking whathaveyou that seems to be all the rage with the young'uns these days, with the tempting phrase (and I quote) "Dru and I are on this, Joy. Come to the dark side."

So I joined, figuring it would be just like Friendster or one of those other faddy things that I would be interested in for a few days and then give up on.

But no! It has been...actually, quite good. Time-consuming, but good. I hate filling out all those personal information questionnaires that these sites always seem to have, where you have to concisely sum up your entire being, personality, life, interests, beliefs, pants size, astrological sign, height, weight, sexual preference, et cetera. Who can do that in a few paragraphs?

Initially I figured it would be a way to keep in touch with my legions of cousins, since they are members of the aforementioned "young'uns" demographic, and while it has served that purpose admirably well, it has also gotten me back in touch with tons of other people, from as long ago as high school and college all the way through LA and NYC and up to Boston. It's pretty nice to see those familiar faces and find out about what's going on in their lives. Some friends you don't mean to lose track of and are immensely happy to hear from when you do get back in touch...

Number one among them...Janet! YAY, Janet!

I know the four of you who read this thing know which Janet I am talking about and need no further information, but should you like to be nosy and find out about her life (does it even count as being nosy anymore when we all put our lives up on the internet for everyone to see?) she can be found at

We caught up on the phone this past Saturday, and I can't tell you how comforting it is to know that out there in Wisconsin is someone who understands why leaving an answering machine message consisting only of Homer Simpson's thought process ("Dental plan!" "Lisa needs braces..." "Dental plan!" "Lisa needs braces...") is an act of purest hilarity.


Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Inside you the time moves and she don't fade

Well, we had the first ultrasound on Friday (after much wrangling with our crappy insurance company over whether or not they would cover a first-trimester ultrasound) to pinpoint the size and age of the embryo, because my OB wasn't sure after the oh-so-fun manual exam and my periods were irregular before we conceived, which means it's hard to narrow down the due date. TMI, you say? Sorry. So, the ultrasound:

The day we had it done (Friday the 18th) the embryo measured a size consistent with it's being 7 weeks 5 days old, which means I'm a little farther along than we initially thought. Which is good, because it means this wretched period of all-encompassing fatigue and pervasive nausea will come to an end earlier! Woo-hoo!

For those of you who, like me, are having trouble visualing just what the heck is in those pictures, here is a photo of an embryo of the same age:

It's mostly head at this point, as you can see.

That little round ball to the right side of the ultrasound photos is the yolk sac (not pictured in the photo), which will soon become detached as it ceases to serve its purpose (which was to generate new blood cells - that function is being taken over by the liver and the bone marrow).

Kind of freakish, isn't it? Did you even know human beings had yolk sacs?

It was nice to get the ultrasound, though. I've got the symptoms and the positive pregnancy test and all that, but it's still great to see the little sprout on the screen to confirm that all is well. (And that there's only one in there. Which there is. Whew.) We got to see the little heart going wubbity wubbity wubbity, which brought an involuntary tear to my eye.

It's pretty damn strange to have another living creature incubating inside you, even one that you made yourself and greatly desire - I think that's why there are so many horror and sci-fi films that directly or indirectly reference that fear of the alien creature inside of us.

For (an obvious) example, the movie Alien. What could be more explicit than the worm-like chest burster literally tearing someone apart as it makes its way into the world? How many women have had that nightmare in the days before they give birth? And in the third installment, when Ripley realizes she's been implanted and throws herself into the big steaming vat of molten metal, the chest-burster tries to escape and she clutches it to herself in an overtly maternal gesture. Perhaps the aliens (or the pursuit and attempted elimination of them) are Ripley's substitute for children - I think she has a daughter back on Earth (it's been awhile since I've seen the films) but she's in hypersleep so long that her daughter has already grown old and died.

In any case, the H.R. Giger designs for the first Alien (or "xenomorph" as they seem to be referred to in much of the online fan sites I've been browsing through) are strikingly similar to some early embryonic photos I've found. Although Giger always said he didn't get any inspiration from naturally occuring animals, the similarity is still there, and is enough to make you think, "Just what exactly is this thing growing inside me?"

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(For those of you who can't tell, the TOP photo is the Xenomorph...)

Or take The Fly, for another example (the 1986 version, that is, starring Ebony's favorite jazz musician boyfriend). The scene where Geena Davis is having a nightmare about her pregnancy with Jeff Goldblum's increasingly bizarre-acting Brundle(fly). She has a horrific labor and basically gives birth to a giant maggot, whereupon Brundlefly crashes in through the window and steals the little grub away. Although the scene doesn't actually occur in the reality of the film (she's dreaming), it is potent imagery nonetheless. What exactly happens when you combine two creatures' DNA to make a third creature? And how do you know there won't be some mistakes along the way?

I could go on and on, I suppose. Rosemary's Baby. The Omen. (The 1976 one with Gregory Peck, that is.) It seems to be a common theme in horror/sci-fi, perhaps because pregnancy is such a common occurrence in the world, and there are millions of parents and soon-to-be parents out there going, "What the hell is going to happen to us now? What are we bringing into the world?"

Or maybe it's just me, watching too many movies, as usual.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 14, 2008

There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do (once you find them)

No, no, I didn't fall in a ditch. I am perfectly fine, other than the simmering nausea and bone-withering tiredness.

I've just been taking every opportunity I can to nap, and that has seriously cut into my blogging time. And my fiddle-practicing time. And my reading time. I think I'd rather nap than do just about anything else these days.

But, thankfully, this only lasts another month or so (or it did last time) and then we'll be on to the second trimester when I'll hopefully feel much better.

Thanks for reading.