Sunday, 31 August 2008

Mellow yellow

Despite my plans for a border full of reds, purples and oranges, this year the garden's most successful showings have been distinctly yellow tinged.
The coreopsis that mysteriously appeared from nowhere, has bloomed right through from early June and is still going strong;

the sunflowers have also done well (though I like the 'Ruby Eclipse' ones the best which are dark red with a yellow edge to the petals, and will certainly be planting those again next year);

the rudbeckia is looking good;

and even the hypericum, which I don't normally have very strong feelings for, had a fantastic show in late June and appears to be coming through for a second blooming around now.

I'm also really pleased with the osteospermum bought at the end of May to replace the tulips in the big green pot on the patio. Like the coreopsis, it's flowered constantly since then with nothing but a bit of dead heading to help it along its way. The blooms are a lovely colour - a faded yellow colour with pinky-lilac centres - and the foliage has remained a good glossy dark green all summer.

Friday, 29 August 2008

21 weeks 2 days

Serious internal jigging about from #1 bambino last night. Ali felt a kick for the first time which was wonderful, he was so happy to finally feel something! Since then the bump has been a bit quiet. I have a worrying suspicion that the Tom Petty album which was playing in the background might have spurred it into action, so I think I'll have to come up with a plan of action for its musical education before the birth that doesn't involve any Dylan, Waits, or Young... We're out for a curry tonight too so that might trigger a few movements - hopefully from the baby rather than my own insides though.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

21 weeks

Everything is OK! We went for the anomaly scan today at the John Radcliffe. As it turned out we needn't have bothered turning up early to make sure we missed the traffic - they had staff shortages due to sickness and so our 9.45am appointment ended up happening at 11.45am instead. Of course you also have to have a full bladder for the scan to 'cushion' the baby, so I was drinking cups of water from the fountain for 2 hours beforehand meaning I was desperate for a wee by the time we got in.

But the wait was totally worth it in the end - all the measurements were fine, all the organs normal and the wee one was very active, especially when it came to the time to capture a few shots for the scan photos. Most of them show our little darling standing on its head or with its arms and legs all over the place - but they're all brilliant. I've still no idea whether it's a boy or girl, and the nice sonographer, when I asked her at the end if she could tell herself (we had said we didn't want to know but I wanted to know if there was something obvious we'd missed...) said she didn't even check either, so we're none the wiser, which is just how we like it. We bought paint samples in various shades of green at the weekend to paint our deep blue spare room a less 'boyish' colour just in case, though I'm sure a baby girl wouldn't give two hoots about the colour of the nursery walls until she got to about four years old anyway.

Added to all this excitement is the fact that I can definitely feel loads of movement now, even from the outside of my belly rather than just the internal flutterings of the last few weeks. Ali hasn't managed to catch a kick yet but it's only a matter of time I'm sure.

So now we know everything's fine and developing as it should, it's time to put all my previous baby posts live, so apologies to those of you on Bloglines who suddenly have 8 or 9 posts to wade through of my self-indulgent baby-waffling. And to those who have been through it all before, feel free to send helpful anecdotes or recommendations...

Monday, 25 August 2008

20 weeks 5 days

Belly has been growing quite a lot this last week I think. Last week I wore a pair of pre-pregnancy hipster linen trousers and they fit fine underneath my bump, held up by a belt on notch 2 (I was on notch 4 pre-pregnancy). The other day at work I put them on and I was *really* uncomfortable all day, they were digging into me and I either had to pull them down a bit to sit just below my hips (and run the risk of them falling down altogether) or put up with the digging. Belt went to notch 1 as well. *Sigh*.

Although, someone at work referred to me as 'glowing' last week which, while very flattering, is not wholly true... I've been tired all week this week, although I had thought I'd got over the fatigue of the early weeks; and I'm not getting rid of the spots on my chin at all. It seems I am forever destined to be a bit spotty - I haven't had the bad painful ones like I sometimes got before, but I've not yet had a totally blemish-free complexion. Still, as symptoms go I could have had a whole lot worse so I should be grateful for small mercies... Spots vs. vomiting? No contest.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008


Watching the Olympics on the BBC website (it's addictive) and I've just seen that a US 400m (male) runner is called LaShawn Merritt. There's also a 400m hurdler called Bershawn Jackson. LaShawn, Bershawn, what next? Reshawn, Sheepshawn, Duhshawn, the mind boggles. Bershawn, though. What a name for a child.

19 weeks 6 days

Ali took some bump pictures at the weekend. It does appear that we are now calling it 'bump' which is highly unoriginal, and has kind of evolved since it's become more 'bumpy' over the last 3 or 4 weeks. Actually I just look like I've been on the pies a bit, as there isn't much definition to it, more just a bloated look. But at least I look pregnant now! and it's prompting speculation about the flavour amongst various folk. My mum is convinced it's a girl, other people say boy, I truly don't have any gut feeling (well, I have feelings in my gut but that's hopefully just early baby movements) or even care one way or the other - I'm just thinking 'baby' at the moment and concentrating on that.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Interweb paranoia

I just Googled myself. Don't ask me why - I don't know myself - it was a random impulse in between work email answering. My LinkedIn profile came up at the top, which I wasn't desperately pleased to see but I'm sure I can fix that (in fact I just have, now). Then there was an old BBC article from when I was still working at Virgin very early on, when I commented about the launch of Napster into the UK. Get me, media pundit. Most alarmingly I saw my Facebook public profile appear at number 3. Now, I *know* I've blocked this from appearing to the world and coming up on Google so I was more than a bit shocked to see this. So I clicked through, and it appears I have a namesake in London, whose profile is public and thus searchable by Google. Thankfully mine is not. Actually I have 3 namesakes, as there's another one who has no friends and no profile, and a third one in Ontario.

It's kind of comforting to know I can control what information I put out there about myself on the internet, especially after a couple of weeks where my Yahoo email account has been hacked *twice* and some bloody spammer bastard has got into my account, mailed all my contacts with rubbish about some random electronics website and then deleted the sent messages so I had no idea what was going on until a few friends politely emailed me, assuming I would like to know what 'I' had sent them. Yahoo themselves were completely crap, stubbornly asserting that I had been the recipient of spam not unknowingly mailed it out, so I've given up contacting them and just changed my password instead. If it happens again I'll be going to gmail.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Bookish stuff, good and bad

There's something that has annoyed me on and off for a while now but not to the extent that I've blogged about it. But I've been tipped over the edge... The other day, I purchased the new paperback of the last Rebus novel, Exit Music. So far so good. But when I unwrapped it from its cardboard sheath (sorry, Mostly Books, the purchase got me up to free delivery on Am*zon...) it popped out as a large format paperback. Number 17 in the series, the last one in the series that is, and the publishers Orion have to take the bleeding decision to re-format and repackage it so that it sits on the shelf next to the 16 previous, *small* format paperbacks (I think they're known as mass market, or A format in the 'trade', dredging up memories of my bookselling years at Blackwell's) in the series and looks downright stupid. I could just about put up with it when they decided to re-design the jackets to be more 'funky' looking with different typefaces, Ian Rankin's name much larger than before on the spine etc etc. At least they were all the same size on the shelf. But why change the size NOW?

The CJ Sansom series of Matthew Shardlake Tudor mysteries was the same - books 1 and 2 small format, then a size upgrade for number 3, Sovereign. But that doesn't seem quite as annoying as 16 small books and 1 big one. I even avoided buying the hardback, desperate as I was to read of Rebus's last days in the force, to wait for the paperback edition so I could complete the set.

Don't get me wrong, I don't shelve my books according to size or colour (most of the time anyway, though I do keep certain publishers together, mainly because the spines look groovy in a row - RIP Harvill Panthers). But these Rebus novels are sat on the top shelf, which is quite close to the ceiling anyway, so there ain't an awful lot of room height-wise for big books. Grr.

Better book news though in that I just finished The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and absolutely LOVED it. I have read some differing opinions/reviews of how good it actually is, and there's even a Wikipedia entry devoted to it but I have to say after I'd got my head round the initial concept I was hooked. I finished it on Sunday night in bed, and while Ali had already gone to the land of nod I was silently weeping rivers through the last 20 pages or so, something a book hasn't moved me to in a good while. Apparently there's a film being made of it, due out at the end of the year, which I'm not too sure I'll make the effort to see - although having said that I did really enjoy Atonement on the big screen, probably because it has been some time since I read the book. It's a wonderful feeling when you enjoy a book that much - and of course as I'm now on the hotly anticipated Exit Music the enjoyment keeps on coming. Fabulous!

19 weeks

Not much to report on really this week. Still a few little flutterings that may or may not be my digestive system rather than the baby moving. We went to see the Gutter Twins play at the Oxford Academy on Monday night which was a great gig, but very very loud. I hadn't really given it much thought beforehand but now the baby's senses are developing and apparently it can hear or at least sense sound vibrations, I got a slight wave of guilt about whether it was actually enjoying itself while the band thumped out their stuff. I even thought it might stimulate a kick or two "Mum, what on earth is this godawful racket you're subjecting me to?" but I haven't noticed anything. Our unborn child has so far been to 2 Radiohead concerts as well as the Gutter Twins so with any luck it should develop reasonable musical taste, unless Ali decides to play it some Neil Young after it's born of course...

Good article on old-fashioned names on the BBC today as well - not that we'll be naming it Clifford if it's a boy but it's slightly sad to hear that some names are almost obsolete now compared to the drivel that some parents inflict on their kids. If we have a girl I'd like the middle name to be Irene after both Ali's and my grandmothers, and that apparently is not popular at all nowadays which is a shame.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

So here we go again...

...with all the rain. Thankfully not of the epic flood proportions of last year, but enough to make things a bit miserable in the middle of what should be summer. The garden looks OK, but not sunny enough to get some nice photos; we haven't really sat outside at all this year and chilled out on the patio; and perhaps most amazingly of all, the only barbeque we've been too so far was a rainy one at Jo and Andy's in June, on the day of the Wimbledon final. We've been invited to a garden party on Saturday but the forecast is downright miserable so I have a feeling we'll be inside.

18 weeks

And I'm finally putting on some weight. Until about 2 weeks ago I'd only put on about a pound, which was weirding me out slightly because my bump has definitely got big enough for maternity clothes to become a requirement. But now I'm definitely seeing proper weight gain that can't only be attributed to the squidgy yumminess of the carrot cake I made at the weekend...

No movements yet though. I can't wait to feel a little kick. Even a big one would be okay.