Saturday, January 15, 2011


Ah, January 15th is here! When I learned last spring that I would be due to deliver on January 13th, 2011, I was careful not to get too excited about that date in particular. First-time moms usually deliver late, so I knew I could go as late as January 27th and still have a healthy baby. I was ready for the long haul.

Well, it's a little tougher now that it's here! I mean, I am 100% committed to as natural a birth process as is safe and plausible, and I'm glad our wee boy is growing and moving well, and I am convinced that he and my body will prepare and deliver at exactly the right time. But week 39 (10 days ago now) brought a host of new, uncomfortable symptoms including carpal tunnel syndrome and a Herculean resurgence of overnight heartburn. I'm not sleeping, I weigh a LOT, and every Braxton-Hicks contraction has me a little more hopeful that labor is on its way.

So a little self-medication has been in order, lately. My birthday was a great salve - a couple of girlfriends took me to Tacoma for a great Thai lunch and an epic trip to Trader Joe's. Then one day I saw a recipe for homemade Oreo cookies and ended up with this:
Oh. My. The cookies are deep, dark chocolate, and the filling is the super-sweet white cream you'd expect from an Oreo - but I used butter and coconut oil rather than hydrogenated shortening. At first I thought the cookies were too sweet overall (despite my having reduced the sugar by quite a bit), but then, imagine! They kept disappearing!

Then it got even better - Mom came to town! She's been such a trouper, cooking dinner for Josh and me, getting me out to walk around, and coming along to the doctor earlier this week. And then best of all, earlier this week, Mama (Nana!) made a Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake. Hoo, nonny.It was so delicious I forgot to take a picture of a slice. And there are no slices left.

So just as long as the baby's signs remain strong, I am fine to handle whatever petty discomforts come along with an overdue little one. I'm content to know that sometime within the next twelve days I will be holding my perfect new baby boy - and in the meantime, I'll tide myself over with chocolate.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The other Portland, part 2

Customer service sucks in the United States. I don't like saying it, but in general, that's what I've found. In Japan, I never once doubted that the people working in each restaurant, shop, hotel, and train station were doing their best to make me welcome and comfortable - and that was doubly impressive, considering that I didn't speak the language or understand the culture. In this country, I doubt that all the time. So it is always with a little trepidation that Josh and I embark on mini-vacations. Why spend the money to be treated badly and eat mediocre food? I had hopes that Portland would be different.

Well, it was.

I mentioned in part one that our drive down was stressful. When we finally arrived at Hotel Monaco, dropped the car with the $33!! valet, and made it to the front desk, we learned that our room, which was prebooked, prepaid, and due to be ready 40 minutes earlier, was not ready. Josh and I sighed and exchanged knowing glances as we settled into a chair in the lobby - here we go. But it wasn't two minutes later that the front desk clerk walked over to us and let us know that no, the room wasn't ready - so they would be happy to upgrade us to a suite on the top floor that is ready to go now.

Well, color me flabbergasted. Even more so when I saw that the manager had sent up a bottle of sparkling cider with congratulations for our impending birth. Unreal.

This hotel delivered in a BIG way, and I heartily endorse the Monaco and the Kimpton brand.

But it didn't end there! After our delicious doughnut adventure we set out to find real food and landed at Mother's Bistro. One of the drawbacks to living in a small community is the lack of fine dining. It was so refreshing to have a meal that was well thought-out, delicious, and as-promised. Our server knew the menu, didn't hover, and didn't have to write our orders down. The meal, and our evening, was lovely. So much so that I didn't even pause to take photos of my crab cakes or Josh's pot roast.

It was still raining, of course, so we turned in early and enjoyed a couple of doughnuts for dessert in our cozy suite.

The next morning, we found the last culinary stop on our little babymoon. It was one I found on the web which bore the magic words: grass-fed beef. See, cows aren't made to eat corn and they can't digest it, which is where we get e. Coli! Cows that eat grass take longer to grow, have less fat, and are absolutely e. Coli free - which makes them tastier, safer, and much more expensive. Josh and I eat grass-fed beef exclusively at home, but it's almost impossible to find in restaurants. Except Urban Farmer!

Oh, what a place! This restaurant walks the local, sustainable, organic walk. And we woke to a blue, sunny sky, so you know the camera joined us for breakfast. Josh ordered the grass-fed steak and eggs, and I ordered a less photogenic but equally delicious plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and whole grain toast with freshly squeezed orange juice.We ate, we drank, and we thoroughly enjoyed our leisure. I do still miss my caffeine a bit, though. Does it show?

We're counting the time until the due date in days now, rather than weeks, and I am so ready to meet our son. This precious baby, made up of Josh and me, is an awesome expression of our love and commitment to one another - a commitment that I know we'll need to work on as baby takes over our lives. This little trip was a great beginning to this, the next phase.