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December 11, 2000
a year ago
three years ago

Fish Check and Chinese Spaghetti

We both woke up tired. Just tired. I think we're both still worn out from all the weeks and weeks of stress with Fezzik, and we're still gradually recovering. Today was just quiet, on the most part. Though we did have an early morning appointment with Dr. Imig, who is one of Dr. Weinburg's associates and partners. She has a number of others and it's kind of a toss up as to who is actually going to do the actual delivery, but they all seem to be of mostly the same persuasions. John remembered to ask the question about how many contractions counts for pre-term labor, as we will likely ask that of all the doctors and see how it comes out and if it's something they all agree on.

The snow made driving in a bit of an adventure. The roads out Erie-way were all hard-packed snow, and while the roads in Boulder had at least been sanded, few of them were actually clear. The Baby Buggy had a fine time with it all. Handled it all no problem and the sheer weight and size of the thing really helped to make me feel completely safe.

The Fish is well. The heartbeat was good and strong, the length of the uterus seems to be exactly in-line with what was expected. My weight gain is in-line with what's good for the baby, and my blood pressure is normal. Urine analysis showed everything to be just fine. He did notice that my lower extremities were a little swollen, but well within normal parameters, as were my hands.

Sometimes I half wonder if all the hardship with Fezzik ate up all the possible bad luck for the baby.

Work was work. Lunch was with a couple of folks visiting for the week. Karen is not used this cold, and it was pretty interesting to realize that I actually was pretty comfortable. I did, however, have an extra inner layer that I don't normally wear. Leggings go really easily under my sweats and my Baffins are good to 40 below 0, so I was good and warm. We went to a little Indian place with a buffet that had good, hot food with plenty of fresh naan and I got a mango lassi 'cause I've been craving yogurt lately.

Yogurt. Why can't I crave things like donuts and pickles and ice cream? Instead, I crave spinach, yogurt, and grapefruit. Not a bad thing, I don't think, but it really is pretty interesting to think that the body really does crave what it needs.

Work was just work in the afternoon, with a review of someone else's design late. So I read the design docs, marked up the things that made no sense, added a list of things that I thought might be missing and then settled that. John came by wondering if we could go home early so that we could get some stamps and some other things, and the review was set for 4-5. James and his wife also wanted to come by and see Borax and try him out in the snow. So we decided to leave at exactly 5 to try and work that all in.

It was really funny when I sat down for the review. The baby seems to have taken a dislike to when I'm completely still and when I do get completely still, the antics within begin. Kicking and pushing and rolling about and some impatient wiggles here and there and if I put my hands on my belly, the baby pushed back right where I'm pushing. It's pretty amusing. It all went pretty well.

It was cold out when we left. The snow on the ground still had that frigid crunch of being utterly dry and totally frozen. The full moon was just on the horizon, so it was enormous and deep harvest gold, it's face vivid with marks almost as if the trees it seemed to rest in had scratched it up. The roads to Boulder had cleared out and where mostly dry and clean, and as we got further and further out more and more snow was to be had on the roads until we got to our street, which was still just hardpacked snow most of the way. We found James' wife out in our driveway and we brought them inside for a bit while Borax warmed up they were able to warm up as well. John's new thermometer read -.7 F (-17 C) when we first looked at it. Really cold.

I stayed inside and watched TV while they drove around. It was very nice in the house. They were happily joking about how they'd get to test the heating system out, and didn't look too cold when they managed to get back. So that was good.

I was surprised to find that I'm mostly at peace, now, with respect to Fezzik. He is gone. I miss him, but it doesn't hurt as badly as it did. There is some kind of rock solid assurance at the heart of it all that I never knew would be there, but it really is there. That it was time, that he had a great life, and there is such a wealth of memory with regards to him, it's just amazing. And remembering doesn't hurt, if anything remembering is a joy in many ways because so much of it was so good. The grief was right in its place, and from the grief really has come a comfort I didn't know would be there. I can and do say sadly, "No dog to feed scraps to." or "No dog to hug." and then hug John or toss the scraps and it isn't a breaking thing, but just an acknowledgement.

What is real.

While I sat the baby went into active mode again, tumbling and poking now and again. Flutters of motion here and there. I still marvel at the requirement that one has to try and count at least ten motions in 2-4 hours to see if the baby is healthy when I can usually count ten movements in any given half an hour when I'm still or hungry or have eaten something the Fish liked or didn't like. There is so much motion from the kid that I can't imagine the baby not moving so that I can feel it for so long as a day. When I go to sleep, the first half an hour is just filled with Fish wiggles as I try to settle my heavier belly on the body pillow so that it's supported. Interestingly enough I think that the Fish has sugar crashes, too, and if I eat something really rich there's a flurry of activity and then some stillness when I'm crashed, too.

John eventually came in and I asked him if Chinese Spaghetti would be okay with him. He said sure and then asked if it wouldn't be too salty for me. I poked around the fridge and said, "Well, so long as I don't use too much of the salty bean sauce, it should be good."

So there's a Chinese version of spaghetti that literally translates to 'Fried Sauce Noodles', and basically it's a bunch of bean sauces that have been fried with some pork and green onions that is then mixed with noodles. The sauces are sauteed to help release their flavors and, in some cases, actually cook the sauces a bit more and what kinds of sauces you use, in what quantity and with what other ingredients is as varied as American Spaghetti sauce is dependent on the household that spawned the recipe. With spaghetti you get everything from dressed up Ragu to Rome based tomatoes fried with basil in olive oil to elaborate meat and cheese tomato sauces based on hours of slow cooking. The same thing is true of Chinese spaghetti and the combinations of sauces really makes it unique. Mom always used to just use hoisin and a Harcourt bean sauce that was very salty, so she just used a little of the salty and a lot of the sweet hoisin to balance it. Just a bunch of green onions along with the ground pork and it was a very savory sauce that a few tablespoons of would flavor and color brown a whole serving of spaghetti. She'd often serve it with threads of cool cucumber.

As a kid I thought the Chinese moms that added peas and carrots to the sauce to be committing heresy. Now, however, it seemed a great way to add a few vegetables when fresh cukes aren't so readily available. I also used one of my pork loin chops for my ground pork, which is a bit like using a filet mignon for spaghetti, but it was what I had and I have a lot of it in the freezer. So it was good to use. I peeled off all the outside fat and I chopped it up good in the food processor. I then chopped green onions a bit more conventionally. I added a teaspoon of canola oil to a gradually heating pan and then added half teaspoons of three types of sweet bean sauce I'd found lying around my fridge and a whole teaspoon of hoisin. I then thought about it and added a quarter teaspoon of the hot bean sauce I normally use in the turkey dunking sauce as well. I then fried the sauces together for a while, then added the pork and the green onions and once the pork started looking cooked, I added a good double handful of frozen peas and carrot cubes. The lean loin yielded up nearly no fat whatsoever, so it was well worth using, for my tastes. I always had a hard time skimming off the fat from most of the other ways folks make this stuff, and with the extra lean pork, I didn't have to do any of that.

Since I hadn't used any of the really salty stuff, the results were very tasty without sounding my internal salt alarm at all. I was very glad of that.

John and I had fun talking over financial stuff over dinner. Just all kind of things we needed to figure out for the next year or two. One of the things we really need to do is figure out what our 'ideal day' is in the terms of the Wright Exit Strategy book. To have an idea of when we can be done with this working phase of life would be a really good thing. Actually know what the goals are that we need to hit in order to know when we're done is just a very cool thing. Then I can work for fun, or write just for wanting to, or things like that. Raise the kid full time. That might be a very interesting thing to be able to do. Lots of stuff that we haven't even really thought too closely about, as we know that we want to get somewhere, financially, first. So we're mostly into the 'making money' mode, and the whole shock and switching out of it is going to be something I'd rather plan.

Lots to think about.

We had the chocolate torte for dessert, early enough that it wouldn't keep me up a while after. It was really, really good. I cut three pieces to take to Bob tomorrow, as I didn't think that John and I really needed to eat the whole thing. I also knew that they'd enjoy it. I've volunteered, if they invite us over for any part of their Christmas celebrations with their 20-some-odd relatives, to bring dessert. So it seemed right that they'd get to sample a few of them first. I am thinking of one of these really decadent chocolate things, an angel food cake with fruit in whipped cream, and maybe a few pies for the traditionalists. That would be fun.

Sleep was a bit late for me. I think that this third trimester is actually tiring me out more than I've been letting myself rest. I really need to get back into the habits I had for parts of the first trimester, and get to sleep early when I'm actually tired. This whole pregnancy is really teaching me a lot about listening to my body and doing what it wants or needs rather than just ignoring it as I have in the past. It'll be interesting to see what comes of that.

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