Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What's cooking Wednesday

It seems all the rage to do 'what's cooking wednesday' posts (ok, it's a very small rage) and I've decided to jump on the bandwagon too. I don't cook every night (that's what take out and the Soup Peddler are for) but I'll try to share what I do cook on Wednesdays.

Tonight I was hosting book club, which happens about once a year, since we rotate around. The hostess does everything - the meal, dessert, wine, chooses the book, everything. Which means that it's a lot of work once a year, but the rest of the time you just get to show up and enjoy. It's very nice, actually. I didn't decide until last night what to make, and I decided on quiche. I made two - one vegetarian, one meat. I don't really follow a recipe for this, so it will be more of a description than a real recipe, and I'm going to assume you can make or scrounge a pie crust.

Bacon/spinach/onion Quiche
- Chop bacon into bite sized pieces and cook until nearly done. Drain fat and add onions. Cook until onions are translucent. Add handfuls of spinach and cook until wilted. Set aside. Brush the bottom of a pie crust with mustard, then spread bacon mixture evenly over crust. Mix together 4 eggs, 1 c milk, salt, pepper and any spice you might want. Pour over bacon mixture. Top with grated cheese of your choice. Bake in 375F oven for 45 minutes or until firm. Let sit at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Vegetarian Quiche
- Chop and saute onion until translucent. Add chopped sun dried tomatoes (in oil) and artichoke hearts. Heat until warmed and flavours have mingled. Spread evenly on bottom of pie crust. Place dollops of goat cheese on onion mixture. Mix eggs as above and pour into pie shell. Bake as above.

I love quiche - it's easy to make (if you have pie crusts on hand), it can be eaten at any meal, and it reheats brilliantly in a toaster oven or microwave. Everyone loved the two I made this evening. I served it with a mixed green salad and warm bread. We had lemon squares for dessert. Yum.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pregnancy rules

And I don't mean that it's the greatest thing ever, so far, I can say it's not, and although the second trimester is supposed to be great, that seems to be the exception, not the rule. Part of what makes pregnancy not rule, is the rules. And some of them are asinine - old wife’s (or doctor's) tales that people seem to follow blindly without thinking. Let look at some of the rules.

Don't eat sushi.
Don't eat soft cheese.
Don't eat deli meat.
Don't dye your hair.
Don't eat too much.
Don't eat too little.
Don't exercise too much.
Make sure you exercise.
Don't take hot baths.
Don't drink any alcohol. At all.
Don't smoke.
Don't clean the cat litter box.
Don't Don't Don't.

Sigh. Some of these are obviously true - there is evidence that smoking during pregnancy leads to low birth weight, which is associated with a host of other problems. Some are known to be harmful at certain levels (alcohol is known to cause problems at an intake of 4 or more drinks per day, but no one knows if there is a 'safe level', which presumably there is or there would be many more developmentally disabled children in Europe). But some of them are patently untrue, while most of them should be taken with a grain of salt (but not too much!!). The thing that bothers me the most about all the rules, and the fact that people like to remind you of them, is that it implies that the pregnant woman is incapable of logically thinking through her choices and then making a choice. As if she is incapable and irresponsible. It's infantilizing and condescending.

I think a lot of the rule spouting comes from doctor's who are scared of liability. If they tell you it's ok to eat sushi, but then you get some parasite, you could come back and sue them for malpractice. So they simply say no, rather than explaining the risk and allowing the woman to decide for herself. Concern also comes from family and friends, or even strangers, and it's fine to be concerned, but it's not ok to tell someone what to do, pregnant or not.

I was thinking about this while racing this weekend. A know some people thought/think that racing is a bad idea while I'm pregnant, however in the first trimester a woman is capable of going whatever she was doing before she was pregnant. It would not be ok for a pregnant woman to go out and do a 24 hr race if she wasn't used to doing it, but I am used to it, and my body is used to it. The point is that you can do what you are used to doing. Racing for me is not dangerous because I'm trained for it. I plan to keep working out and keep riding my bike to work as long as it's comfortable. At some point, it won't be, but until then and after, I get to decide what is right for me and what risks I'm willing to take.

And I'm planning on eating sushi too.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Too Cool Big Chill race report - now with (a) pictures!

This past weekend was the Big Chill adventure race out at Bastrop State Park. I raced with the Werewolves, my regular Texas team. The team was Paul, Tom and Ashley. I have raced with Tom and Paul many times, but it was my first time racing with Ashely. I've always liked her, having met her at many races, so I was looking forward to racing with her.

The race started at 8 am on Saturday morning, with all the teams being loaded on buses and instructed to put on blindfolds. We had dropped our bikes off at a nearby (15 miles away) mountain bike ranch, as well as dropping off the boats at the lake, so we weren't sure where they would be taking us, although we assumed it would be near the bike drop. We drove for many 20 or 25 minutes (it's very hard to judge time when you're blindfolded and in a moving bus). When we unloaded, we were at an intersection of two streets in a small neighbourhood. We had maps of the region and a few trekking points to find before getting to the bike drop. But we didn't know where we were on the map to start. We had to figure that out by wandering and matching up the streets to the small neighbourhood on the map. It didn't take long to figure out, to find the few points and get to our bike. I would say we were mid-pack getting to the bikes.

The bike leg took place at the Ranch, with a bike drop to pick up a few points on foot before continuing on the bike. It was a relatively uneventful leg except for the mud. It has been very wet around here lately, and the soil at the ranch is clay, which means it sticks. Fortunately, our bikes were mostly working, which was not everyone's experience. We saw and heard of many bike casualties. The route was specified by what trails to take until the trekking points. We did make an error on one point by going the wrong way up a draw and losing about 30 minutes. Otherwise, we felt we were doing pretty well, having passed many teams on the trails.

From the ranch, we rode the bikes back towards Bastrop. We had to pick up a few points on the roads, and then drop the bikes to get some trekking and a ropes point. This leg, combined with the first leg ended up longer than we expected, and we ended up running out of food and water around the time of the bike drop. The whole section ended up taking about 7 hours, quite a bit more than we'd planned for. The navigation for the trekking points was pretty good, except for a detour up the wrong draw, but otherwise, we were trucking along. The rope section was a traverse across a deep valley - not a zip line, since we had to pull ourselves across while avoiding hitting our heads on the trees in the way. It's really nice to have a ropes section in a race, even if it's not a long race, since it's always fun and good to look forward to. We finished up the trekking points, returned to our bikes, and gratefully headed to the TA to fill up on food and water.

The next leg was a scoot, just a short loop around the park road while looking for answers to various clues. I hate scooting sections, mostly because they are always far more effort than I seem to think they should be. We did get lots of great comments from other park users who were curious why grown adults in their 30s and 40s were scooting around the park.

After the scoot we were off for trekking and paddling points. We could do the trek before or after the paddle. Since daylight was running short, we decided to get the trekking points while we still had light. The nav was dead on for all four points, and we headed quickly to the boats. It had been a pretty nice day, except for some light mist in the morning, but that had burnt off and it was a sunny, calm day. Someone on the team mentioned how it would be a nice, calm night for a paddle. Ooops.

As we were walking to the boat drop (a few miles down a paved road), we started to notice the wind in the trees, and when we got to the lake, there was a distinct breeze. Breeze is a nice way to describe the wind, which was kicking up the waves coming down the lake towards the boat put in. As we were just putting in, Team Backpacker was coming in, surfing along with the tailwind. They had set out with hardly any wind, and it had been building while they were out. They were about 2 hrs ahead of us at this point, and we were in a distant second. We launched into the nasty conditions and headed down the lake.

We had thought, when we were packing for the leg, that it was a calm night. We knew it would be cold, but we expected a dry paddle. This meant that we (well, Paul and I, at least) were underdressed. We got very wet from the waves crashing on the boat and the spray off the paddles. For one stretch, we were paddling as hard as we could, and we were barely holding our position, much less making headway. We eventually made it down the lake and found all four checkpoints before surfing back to the boat drop, freezing cold. While out on the lake, we were commenting on the fact that we hadn't seen anyone else out, even though another team was putting in right behind us. We found out when we got back to the boat drop that they had capsized, and the race directors decided not to let anyone else out on the lake because of the conditions. What this meant is that only two teams in our category (24 hr, four person) had done the paddle. So, we were a distant second, but we couldn't do any worse than 2nd.

We returned to TA, very cold and wet to head out of a bike leg. I was getting tired, but dry, warm clothes do amazing things to make you feel better. The leg seemed straightforward, with all the points within a few hundred meters of the trail or road. The navigation for the leg was great, with only one point on the opposite side of the road than the plotting indicated. We knocked out the leg very quickly and returned to TA, thinking we probably had one more leg to do before the end. It was about 1 am, I think. There was hot chocolate at the TA when we arrived, and it was one of the best things I've ever had at a race (I say that about something every race).

The last leg was a trek leg with seven points scattered through the park. Lots of ground to cover, but 7 hours to do it. We started on the point closest to the TA. We had some trouble since the vegetation in the area was very very thick, but after trying to attack it from a different point, Tom walked straight to it. The next point was waaaay out the park road, and after a long walk out there, we found Backpacker still looking for the point. We had seen them about 1.5 hours before on the park road, hiking out toward the point while we were coming in from the bike leg. At that point they were 2 hours ahead. But here they were, still looking for CP29.

Rankings in an adventure race are done by the number of checkpoints found. If two teams have the same number of CPs, then it is ranked by time. Since we and Backpacker were the only teams to do the paddle, all the other teams had four less checkpoints than we did. Backpacker was ready to give up on the CP29, but of course was concerned that if we found it, we would beat them. We chatted to them for awhile about their attempts to find it, and went looking for it ourselves with no luck. They decided to leave it and move on, and after a bit of looking, we did the same. I had a very good idea that some other teams wandering around the area had managed to find it, but we moved on anyway, knowing that Backpacker had skipped it as well.

The rest of the points went really well, with very good navigation. We were getting tired, and I, at least, fell asleep walking a few times. We saw Backpacker nearby at a few more checkpoints and decided we'd better run into the finish to try to catch them. We ended up coming in 3 minutes behind them and getting 2nd place.

In hindsight, we should have kept looking for CP29, but we were cold and tired. We'll remember to not stop racing next time (although, I think we've learned that lesson before). My teammates, as usual, were great and I really enjoyed racing with Ashley and chatting with her on the long bike and trek sections. It was a good race, fun and harder than expected (we finished in just under 22 hours. The race directors had predicted 18 for the lead teams). Robyn and Art do a fantastic job putting on these races, and I'll miss doing the rest of them this year.

I felt much better than I expected to, considering how tired I've been the past two weeks. I had no cramping, and although I felt more out of breath than I should have, I was really happy with how I felt. I don't think I ever really slowed the team down, which was my concern. Really, I had fully expected to have to drop out of the race due to cramps or exhaustion, but I did fell really good. Since it's my one real race for '07, I'm glad it went well.

This race report ended up super long. If you made it this far, I'm impressed. Sorry there are no pictures to break it up a bit. I'm going to post tomorrow about my thoughts on training/racing while pregnant. And I still owe a 7 week picture. I'm working on it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Seven weeks

Today is seven weeks. I'll post a belly picture later in the weekend.

I'm feeling pretty good - still very tired in the afternoons, which I now realize is directly related to exercise in the morning. If I ride to work or go to the gym, I'm wiped out, but if I just sit around on my ass all day, I'm not nearly as tired. Quite a realization, I know.

I'm racing this weekend - likely my only race of '07. It's a 24 hr adventure race, and it will be interesting to see how it will go with my crazy eating habits and extreme fatigue. I'll let you know how it goes.

Oh, my boobs are hurting.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Each new day

We're getting into the thick of the first trimester now. 6.5 weeks, and by all accounts the symptoms really kick in during week 7 and 8. I'm gaining new symptoms daily, it seems. My lower back started hurting on the weekend, and now my boobs (ok, just the right one) is sore, and they seem to be growing, since this shirt didn't use to fit like this.

My stomach is queasy throughout the day, but usually calms with a few bite to eat. But not always. I haven't been sick to the point of throwing up, but I certainly have stomach awareness. Stomach awareness and boob awareness. Fun times.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The factory

Sheryl gave the best explanation to my question of whether you could grow a baby without growing your ass.

"You can't build a car without a factory"

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A letter to my mum


I can't believe you've been gone for two years. When you died, I couldn't imagine the world existing without you. And yet, here we are, two years later and everything is continuing on. I still miss you everyday.

I'm pregnant. You would be so excited, and it's made me miss you even more, even though that seemed impossible. There are so many things that I wish I could ask you. Karen and I have gotten a lot closer - I know that would make you happy. But we both miss you so much.

You were an amazing mum. I'll consider my parenting a success if I'm even a fraction as good at it as you were. I'm sad you'll never get to know your grandchildren. They will hear all about you.

I miss you, mum. I love you.


Lois Reyburn
July 7, 1943 - January 20, 2005

Friday, January 19, 2007

Six weeks

Six weeks. The way the weeks are counted is a bit crazy to me because they add two weeks before ovulation onto the count. So, for the first two weeks of 'being pregnant' you most definitely weren't pregnant. But, whatever. By the official way of counting, today marks 6 weeks. Apparently there is now a heartbeat. Weird.

I'm feeling fat. I don't even know if I've gained weight, since we don't have a scale. But I'm feeling fat, and I know that I've gained some. Some women report feeling of great satisfaction with their changing shape, and feeling very happy with their bodies. Not me, at least not yet. I think it is going to take awhile for me to shake years and years of training habits, where if I notice a change in the size of my ass it means I haven't been running enough. Is it even possible to have a baby without your ass growing? How come they don't answer that question in any of the thousands of books?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I can't hold my head up

I'm sooooooooooo tired, I can barely focus my eyes. I just want to put my head on the desk and have a nap. I felt like this at work last week too, but not over the weekend/ice days at home. Which makes me think that it's related to riding to work. However, I'm not going to stop riding to work because I feel very sleepy mid-afternoon, it's not a good enough reason. But I'm sooooo tired.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ice/Snow day #3

Everything is closed again today. I might venture up to the shop later, but maybe not. It's right around freezing, and everything is drippy and wet. Graeme has the day off again, and all the school are closed. The temperature is supposed to get higher tomorrow, so we'll all be back at work.

Some pictures from this morning.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How to spend an ice-bound day

We are having an ice storm- maybe you've heard? Apparently it's all over the news.

Icicles on the eaves this morning. They have since grown.

Icicles on the house next door.

This oleander bush usually stands about 30' high. Today it's nearly touching the ground from the weight of the ice.

What do you do when you're inside all day and it's cold? You warm the house by baking. I made chelsea buns:

Belly picture - 5.5 weeks

I'm going to take weekly pictures of my belly to document the growth. Although, it probably won't be doing it every week until something actually happens. I think it's already changed a bit. When I lay down, there is a new little bulge in the middle that wasn't there before. I expect I'm going to show very early - I'm so small that there isn't anywhere to hide a fetus.

Week 5.5:

Global Warming?*

It's snowing here in Austin. Yep, real snow falling from the sky. It's making a thin white layer on top of the ice layer. It's a ghost town out there.

*I hate it when people use a local cold snap as evidence against global warning. Are they still in denial? If so, they should watch this movie.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Birth center visit

We went this morning to the Austin Area Birthing Center for a tour and consultation. I have decided that I don't want a hospital birth, for a variety of reasons I won't go into. A birth center is a good option between a hospital birth and a home birth, which I don't think I'm ready for. We wanted to go see the center before making a final decision, although for reading the website, I was pretty sure it would be a good fit for us based on what I had read. It was a good visit. The center was understaffed today because of the "bad weather", but we still got a tour and asked some questions. We definitely like it. I made an appointment for Feb 19th for my first check-up.

A weather report - yes, it's cold. Yes, we got some freezing rain. No, it's not the end of the world. No, the power has not gone out. The mayor told people to stay home if they could, and it's MLK day, so a lot of people had the day off anyway. The result is that it's quieter out on the roads today than on a typical Sunday. The thing is - now they are saying that tomorrow is going to be WORSE! MORE WET! COLDER! THE END OF THE WORLD! Hey, if it's another day off, fine with me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


"Crippling ice storm is expected"
"Giant ice storm on way, officials warn"
"Worst may be yet to come"

Apparently, there is a possible ice storm headed this way. The above quotes are headlines from various news websites warning of the dire, dangerous weather on the way. Looking at the radar and weather maps, it looks to me like it's going to miss Austin, but I'm not a meteorologist or a headline writer. Nor am I running out to buy BOTTLED WATER OR CANNED FOOD. Yes, that's right. People here in Austin are apparently stocking up on these essentials in case the ice storm hits.

Maybe I'm mistaken about the impeding doom, but in all the years of ice storms in Canada, we never lost water service. Has anyone ever lost water service due to a winter storm? Hurricanes, tornados or earthquakes, yes. But an ice storm? And canned food? How long do they think they are going to be holed up in their houses? Weeks? We have refrigerators; the food will not spoil in a day. And if we lose power, it's COLD OUTSIDE. Use your backyard as a fridge.

God, Texans.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The pregnancy so far

We're not very far along into this, but I thought I should do a catch up post to get up to speed. I was going to say 'a short catch up post', but I already know that it's not going to be short. Feel free to skip.

On Monday I was pretty sure something was up, but I didn't want to pee on the stick prematurely. I called my sister and she encouraged me to pee on the stick (she was pretty excited at the possibility of a positive test). I asked her if it might be better to wait a few more days so that the chance of a false negative would be reduced. She pointed out that if I waited a few more days, peeing on a stick wouldn't be necessary. Good point. I peed on the stick, and as you know by now, it was positive. I cried. My first reaction was panic. Oh. My. God. We made the wrong decision. I can't do this. What on earth were we thinking? Shit.

Then I called Graeme. He was completely nonplussed. Not terribly helpful to reduce my freakingoutness. I called my sister back and she was super super excited. That definitely helped, although I still went back and looked at the pee stick about 5 times over the next two hours. And of course, in the meantime I called a bunch of people. Most were excited; a few (Ok, just Marlene) were speechless. It seemed completely unreal. I didn't feel pregnant. Shouldn't I feel something? How can the stick just say I am if I don't feel anything?

The strange detachment/no symptom thing faded quickly. The next day at work, around 4 pm, I was suddenly COMPLETELY exhausted. Couldn't even stand exhausted. Like many days of racing without sleep exhausted. The same thing occurred the next day. And then the next day (Friday, by this point) I was nauseous all morning. I guess I shouldn't have been so keen on feeling pregnant. There will be plenty of that.

A new blog

"Why a new blog? Don't you already have one from PQ training?", you might be asking. Yes, I do, but it was so specific to that event that it seems weird to resurrect it for something else. And there is a something else. I'm pregnant, as we just found out this week. I wasn't planning to blog about it, but Erika asked me if I was planning to. I said no, and my reason was that there are a gazillion pregnancy blogs. The last thing the world needs is another fucking blog about someone's pregnancy. OK, it's not the last thing the world needs, that would be another George W. Bush, but I'm sure another pregnancy blog is right up there. Erika pointed out that she didn't care about all the other pregnancies, she cared about this one. Valid point, so here we are. Welcome.