Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Pregnancy Train

(This is another pregnancy post. Feel free to click away if you came for the crafts.)

I'm now in my 39th week, i.e. 38 weeks plus small change. That means - as all my healthcare providers take gleeful delight in telling me - that something can happen at any time, tee hee! Sadly, nothing seems to be happening at the moment and probably won't any time soon. This medical diagnosis is based on the fact that Mr Gingerbread needs two hours and two alarm clocks to get out of bed in the morning, so I can hardly hope that his offspring is going to exit my innards punctually or, indeed, early.

"Are you nervous about the birth?" my little sister asked.
Let me tell you about my attitude to pregnancy and birth, young 'un:

Imagine you're taking a train journey to somewhere really nice. You're looking forward to being at your destination, everyone has said it's quite lovely. And the train ride is very interesting - some parts of it are very beautiful, and although other parts of it might cause motion sickness, all in all it's really quite an experience. So you hop on the train and off you go.

The only problem is, you know this train is going to derail. At some point, there's going to be a great, big crash and the train is going go careening out of control. There's be blood and gore and confusion and chaos.  In the grand scheme of things, it won't last long. It'll seem like forever when you're in the middle of it, but afterwards you'll realise that it was just one day. And you know that, in all likelihood, everything's going to turn out fine and you'll still get to your destination and, chances are, it'll be every bit as nice as you were hoping but ...

you're still going to be on the train when it goes flying off the rails. So no matter how nice the journey is and how pretty the landscape looks, you have a sense of foreboding that sometime, sometime soon, that thing is going to happen. If you're not me, you can get into a place of zen and say, "It'll be an empowering experience! I'll feel enabled in my role as a woman!", or you can take my standpoint and view it with the same resigned dread as a root-canal treatment (of which I've had four and have survived to tell the tale.) I don't care if it empowers the living daylights out of me, I would look forward to it a lot more if it were called "slight inconvenience" or "mild discomfort" instead of "labour".

In the meantime, I'm going to distract myself by looking out the window and watching the nice scenery.
Not long now.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Oooh, it's September. Even though the sun's shining and it's warm, there's a chill in the air and the sunshine is slightly ... diluted. The first sign that September's here - apart from the stacks of Christmas cookies and gingerbread already in the supermarkets - is the proliferation of pumpkins. Ooh, I love pumpkins! As soon as I could, I got a nice, big butternut squash and made a crockpot (yes, this crackpot has a crockpot) full of vegetable soup:

which Mr Gingerbread and I ate with gusto. And a couple of slices of wholewheat bread.

The Summer Daisies is being tested by a group of nice women, whose eagle eyes will spot any mistakes in the pattern (I am numerically-challenged, so this is not an easy task.)

But in my head, I'm thinking about what I could do next. The Cathedral Rose pattern has fascinated me for a long time. But I don't want to do that one, I want to do my own pattern based on another cathedral rose window, namely the north window in the cathedral in Chartres:

beautiful photo by Eusebius (Guillaume Piolle)
So I lined up my yarn and looked at it.

And did some thinking about how you change a complex image of a mediaeval stained glass window into a crochet pattern ... why-oh-why did I not pay attention in geometry class? If I had known twenty years ago that all of that stuff Sr. Francis used to torture us with in maths class actually had a practical usage in the Real World - why, I might have actually listened! I might have done my homework!
Or not.

Too late now. I have to use my geometry set from the Euro Store and work things out on my cheapie calculator, with no guarantee that I'm actually doing it right. But I persevere!

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Potential Life of Crime (and How Karma Strikes Back)

This was a gift from my friend, Pat.
Sadly, I am not this graceful and lithe
in pregnancy. But we can pretend.
In my state of With Childness, I am now quite round. Positively rotund - in fact, a bit like a roast chicken: with a huge midriff and little spindly legs and arms. However, pregnancy is not without its interesting aspects.

For example, did you know that, as a pregnant woman, you are a natural target for beggars, chuggers*, buskers, punks, sellers of homeless magazines and fresh-faced young American men from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, sweltering in dark suits in the hot German sun? With the exception of the latter - whom I would really like to take home and give a glass of ice-cold lemonade to, bless their freshly-laundered socks - they descend upon me with expressions of fake-suffering plastered across their faces, waving magazines, clipboards and paper cups, looking - inevitably - for money. Because I am an expectant mother, I am clearly a soft touch: the ol' hormones have made me daft in the head and loosened my purse strings. My only defence is to steam down the pedestrian zone, waving them off with a "No, no, thank you. Not stopping. Nine months pregnant, thirty-degree heat, you don't want to talk to me today. Thank you!"
It usually works.

With the exception of one young man, who tried to block my path and get a euro off me. At least, that's what I figured he was looking for: hard to tell, because he was smoking a cigarette and swigging a Starbucks coffee. He got a ruder version of my standard tirade. He even got my Evil Eye, the look that withers house-plants, which made him shrink back into the shade and take a stiff gulp of overpriced coffee.

On a more positive note, I've also discovered that my roundiness seems to make me immune to all suspicion of crime. I could probably kidnap a bishop and escape in a stolen car, mowing down the swing-set in a children's playground along the way, and no one would even suspect me. Somehow, being pregnant has made me a better person: shop assistants no longer follow me around snooty shops, keeping an eye on me in case I'd filch some of their merchandise. Instead, they smile at me benevolently: "Ach, look at her, with her big bump and little skinny chicken legs! How could someone as pathetic-looking as that poor pregnant woman possibly swipe anything? Impossible!"  As a pregnant lady, I am clearly above all of that kind of thing; I radiate innocence and good-will (or else it's the thin film of sweat I acquire whilst waddling around on my heat-swollen pins.) I mean, if I were criminally-inclined, I could wait till the baby's arrived, then make a fake pregnant stomach with a little pouch inside and go on a shop-lifting spree throughout Gingerbreadtown.

I won't, of course. But it doesn't stop me wondering if I could.

 I must sadly report that my wonderings about crime set off a wave of negative karma in the universe, as I myself was a victim of a heinous crime this morning -  someone stole the geranium out of the basket in front of my house. In broad daylight. Let me say that again, in a more outraged tone of font: someone swiped my geranium! So I've decided to stop contemplating a life of crime in case karma sends the thief back to rob the heather plant that's now sitting forlorn and alone outside my front door.

* chugger - in case you didn't know - is a brand-new word that entered the English language in 2002 and it refers to "charity muggers": the attractive youths paid to aggressively accost you with their clipboards and tales of third world woe in an attempt to get you to sign over your bank details and your first-born child.