Monday, May 25, 2009


I haven’t written lately for a few reasons. First of all, my life is so mundane right now that it practically bores me to tears just to think about it, much less write about it. And secondly, I feel more and more like some sort of primal mammal that just wants to flee from the herd and gestate in peace and isolation.

Yes, I am still nauseated. No, I don’t want to discuss it. There is really nothing else to say. The only way out of this is through.

I remember one day in January, probably after I’d thrown up about 7 times before 1 in the afternoon, suddenly all I could think about was the kitchen at the field station in Nicaragua. How it was always warm and full of activity and how after a long and exhausting day of walking through the forest, I would go in there to slice up fruit to take out with me the next day. The women who worked in the kitchen quickly caught on to how much I loved cantaloupe, or “melón” as it was called in Spanish. On at least one occasion, Doña Argentina saved a melón for me if we were running low—hiding it away from the usual assortment of fruits that they used to make snacks or smoothies for the tourists. Even in my current state of nausea, I could see myself standing there, slicing up melón at the rustic counter, packing as much of it as would fit into my Tupperware container, and putting it in the refrigerator to take out to the forest with me the next morning. Melón was the perfect thing to eat during the dry season. It was cool and refreshing and hydrated me better than water for some reason. The only drawback was that when the temperature soared into the 90’s by 8am, it didn’t take long for the melón to get warm and mushy and rather unappealing. Usually it didn’t matter though. By that point I’d been up for a good 4 hours and would have just about eaten my whole stash—which made for many long, hot, hungry hours until dinner that evening.

I remembered all these things and thought… if I could just be in Nicaragua again, where it was warm all the time and there was always cantaloupe. Maybe Leda or Reina or Doña Argentina would take care of me and even if I didn’t feel better, at least I wouldn’t feel so cold or be so alone all the time. When I finally roused myself to go to the grocery store, I remember walking through the aisles with my arm over my nose and mouth (to lessen the smell of food) and with my head down, because even the sight of most foods would send the contents of my stomach to the back of my throat. In the produce section, there was a small display of cantaloupe. It was ridiculously out of season and overpriced. I stood there for a long time contemplating whether I should get one or not, and finally I did. When I came home, I sliced it open. The rind was thick. The flesh was almost white. When I ate a bite of it, it was hard and tasted like fertilizer and pesticides. I felt like crying. I said to Fig, just hold on. Just hold on until the summer when it is warm and there will be cantaloupe and it will be delicious and we won’t feel sick anymore and we will be able to eat it then.

We’ve made it thus far. There is cantaloupe in the grocery stores again, and even though it’s still not in season here, it is good. They have this kind at Meijer right now called Honey Rock; they are huge melons, so sweet and good. When I first brought one home and tried it, I almost cried it was so good. I have to ration myself or I could seriously eat an entire melon in one sitting (or just while I’m standing at the counter slicing it up). I’ve been waiting for this since January. With the warm weather and cantaloupes available, it’s still not necessarily easy, but it definitely helps. I suppose eventually even cantaloupe will make me feel sick—the general pattern seems to be that I’ll find one thing that tastes good for a while but at some point I won’t be able to eat it, smell it, or even think about it again. So I figure out something else and move onto the next thing.

Less than 3 months to go.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Irises, Part 4

Irises, part 4, because I never do things in sequences of 3.

These are more like the traditional irises I remember having while growing up. They are lovely of course, but I also like some of the more fancy varieties that managed to bloom this year too.

Irises, Part 3

It’s a little sad to have the brick of our house as the background in these iris photos.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Irises, Part 2

Now that the sun is rising so early, I can’t sleep in. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. There is nothing better than waking up to warmth and sunshine.

I left for a walk around 7am, and these irises were still buds. A few hours later, they have bloomed.

Why was it for all those years I preferred autumn to spring?

Monday, May 11, 2009


The first iris bloomed yesterday, on Mother’s Day.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Team Ragfield Event

Rob and I ran the Twin City Twosome yesterday. It’s a 5K relay race, in which each partner does the 5K and your finishing time is the total time for both participants. Rob and I have never done the Twin City Twosome before because it always seems to be held on Mother’s Day weekend, when we usually go visit my parents in P-town and run the Race for the Cure. But this year we were staying in Urbana and decided to give it a try. It was a little bittersweet I suppose, because back in the day (i.e., pre-pregnancy), we could have probably won the husband-wife division. All things considered, this year I was just hoping to be able to finish the 5K without having to stop and walk. Or puke.

Yesterday morning Rob and I headed over to Crystal Lake Park and got ourselves signed up for the race. We decided that I would be the first runner, so I held onto the tongue depressor they gave us that served as the relay stick. At the start line, I positioned myself way in the back, assuming that I would be running really slow. But when the race finally began, I was so far back and crowded by so many people that I felt like I was shuffling and constantly dodging even slower runners for at least ¾ of a mile. Finally it thinned out enough that I felt like I could breathe, and I cruised along very easily at about 9-minute pace. The loop at the park is around 1.5 miles, so for the 5K, we ran the loop twice. That was really great, because I got to see Rob again after the first loop, as I passed the start line/exchange point. Also, a lot of the race volunteers were people we knew from the running club, so it seemed like every little bit there was someone shouting, “Go Melissa!!” Before I knew it, I was finishing up the second loop, and I handed off the tongue depressor to Rob. By my watch, my finishing time was 26:55, which is probably faster than I should have run it. I’d been thinking that 30 minutes would be reasonable, but the 9-minute pace had really been pretty easy for me. The weather was cool and windy, so I definitely wasn’t overheated (didn’t even break a sweat). I had a brief moment of paranoia when I was afraid I’d run too fast for Fig, but I calmed myself down by reasoning that if Fig had been in distress, surely I would have felt some kind of ill-effect. I guess it’s all relative though. My finishing time was probably around 5 full minutes slower than what would have been an all-out effort for me in a non-pregnant condition, so this was definitely taking it down a few notches.

After my brief paranoia passed, I began mentally calculating and realized that if Rob ran about an 18 minute 5K (something he’s definitely capable of), our summed finishing time would be in the realm of 45 minutes. As he finished the first lap, he was right on target. He powered through the second lap and crossed the finish line in something like 45:20. Not too shabby for Team Ragfield! It ended up being good enough for 3rd place in the husband-wife division. And as Rob later quipped… definitely good enough for a first place in the husband-and-6-month-pregnant-wife division. I was very proud of all 3 of us.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Puppy love

We had a special visit from our favorite puppy-dog* this weekend. Ravage wasn’t quite sure what to do about my gigantic belly, but luckily, he only weighs 8 pounds, so he still fit on my lap.

Ravage meets Fig

I like this picture so much that I want to put it in Fig’s baby book. I suppose that would require getting Fig a baby book first.

Friday marked the 24th week of pregnancy, which according to the internet means that the baby is now “viable.” So from here on out, if for some reason I went into premature labor, Fig might stand a chance at survival. I think Fig is pretty comfortable in there though, so he/she will probably not come out anytime soon.

I would write more, but I feel like I’m going to puke.

Thanks for reading.

* Note: Ravage is not actually a puppy.