My father sent me an email from China suggesting we call the baby “Hercule”, to which I composed a polite response advising that I was sorry to disappoint him, but that the names we were actually thinking of were rather boring and traditional. “If you were born now,” he told me, “I would call you something much more exotic and interesting.”

I am grateful that despite what feels like my constant whinging about being uncomfortable and achey, I really only seem to have one very uncomfortable day before I adjust to whatever my stomach muscles and skin are doing, and I also appear to have avoided any severe indigestion and water retention. I have occasionally puffy feet and a few reflux episodes, but no endless day to day complaints. As I am going to continue working until a week before my due date this is particularly helpful. Sitting behind a desk does make my back ache a little, but I’m sure it would be infinitely more unpleasant if I was sitting behind a desk with feet the size of balloons and doing vomity burps into my mouth all day long.

(Now I have written about such things, of course, I will no doubt be struck down by reflux for the rest of the pregnancy.)

People now seem to think it’s perfectly acceptable to refer to my gait as ‘waddling’, such as commenting cheerily, “And where are you waddling off to?” While I do feel rather enormous, I had been fondly imagining this was all in my head. Apparently not, and I am in fact doing a fine impression of an overweight arthritic duck. Hopefully one with colourfully pretty plumage.

Going deeper

Horace says that you’re feeling sleepy. Veeeerrry sleepy.

I did a two day course on hypnobirthing with my sister in law, mostly at her suggestion. I quite liked the idea of a course focussed on natural childbirth though, because I’m a bit of a hippy, and I was planning on doing the whole drug free childbirth thing if I could, however I couldn’t really imagine something called hypnobirthing making a particularly dramatic difference to my approach to the whole shebang.

My probably very innacurate summary of the heart of the course could be summed up as:
1. Women give birth all the time all over the place;
2. So let’s not freak out about it; and
3. Mostly, try and relax. Like, really try and relax. Let’s meditate. And also do a bit of self hypnosis. And talk about surrender. And then watch some videos of people giving birth while looking like they’re peacefully meditating. Would you like a cup of herbal tea?

I wouldn’t say I found the thought of giving birth particularly traumatic, but I was nervous about it – mostly about how well I would deal with the pain, and the thought of tearing and things like that. And I must say, after two days of hearing the phrase “your beautiful birth” about 200 times, doing relaxation exercises while listening to someone talking about surrendering to your body, and watching quite a few videos of some extremely relaxed women giving birth (breathing deeply while smiling beatifically, which really has to be seen to be believed), that nervousness has entirely dissipated. I’m not sure I’m going to get to the stage where I can essentially meditate while silently giving birth, but you never know I suppose.

During the next two months I have a bit of hypnobirthing homework to do – mostly listening to relaxations and practicing a little hypnosis style stuff with the husband. I’m also supposed to be doing affirmations, but honestly, I just feel like a dick telling myself earnestly that “my body is surging and bringing my baby closer to me” (or something of the sort). I’m going to be open minded and try them out, but I just don’t think I’m an affirmation kind of girl.

6 down, 3 to go

I haven’t written a great deal about being pregnant. I’ve even had a hard time recording occasional moments in my pregnancy diary, mostly because my pregnancy has been uncomplicated and pedestrian, and hasn’t impacted on my life to a great extent. Finding out that we were having a boy, feeling the baby kick for the first time – they were all rather emotional moments, but few and far between. Apart from a few weeks of feeling nauseous between the first and second trimester, I have proceeded placidly about my business, getting slightly larger each week and finding it difficult to find the motivation to read my various pregnancy books. The actual birth seemed a rather distant event.

This week marks my official entry into the third trimester, and I am suddenly rather alarmed. My reading has progressed beyond pregnancy to the “you are now at home with a tiny helpless creature who relies on you for everything” stage and I am trying to prevent myself hyperventilating all over the place. I don’t feel ready to be taking care of an infant in a mere three months time. I still find it hard to reconcile the wriggling little inhabitant of my midsection with an actual, honest to goodness baby that will appear in our lives. In three months. THREE MONTHS. Three months before our holiday to New Zealand we had an excel spreadsheet of all our accommodation and plans. We do not have an excel spreadsheet for this baby. I think perhaps we need one. How can I have a baby without a spreadsheet?

I find the birth the least alarming part of the whole procedure – I’m a little nervous about it, and I don’t expect it will be particularly pleasant, but it won’t go on forever, and you get a baby at the end of it. And then you can clutch the baby and collapse into a howling pit of anxiety, or at least that’s the way a small part of me is picturing it at the moment.

I feel large now, the glimpses of myself I first see in the mirror always a bit of a shock. My back is starting to ache and whenever my bladder is full the baby seems to kick me in it with unerring aim. I keep experiencing random and intense bouts of nausea, and am grateful when they happen to occur somewhere near a bathroom. I’m less than happy when they occur while driving, and next time, I am promising myself, next time I will pull over the minute I start to feel even slightly sick. For the good of my clothes, and the upholstery.

First day

We came back from five days visiting family in Melbourne and spent some time together in the garden over the past few days – mowing, pulling out fallen fences and ripping up lantana. This year will bring so many changes for us and I think we both feel the impetus to organise and arrange the property. And remove lantana, that bloody stuff. At least it has fairly shallow roots, its one saving grace.

We started the new year eating croissants, and then trying to pull the ute bullbar back into position after I had a little disagreement with a concrete post. We were mostly successful, and I am determined to stay away from concrete posts this year. They’re no good for me. Or the car. And that should be a nice easy resolution to keep.

Night life

The bootcamp instructor I spend my time with on Saturday mornings persists in jogging lightly along beside me while denigrating my running style. Probably with good reason. “Keep plodding along!” she shouts at me cheerily, while I gasp for air, and try and communicate with my eyes that I am not plodding, I am gliding, is she blind?

I am a terrible runner, and I haven’t done any regular running for a long time. When I was on my last fitness kick, I eventually worked up to being able to jog for 5ks without stopping. Once I was able to do that I apparently decided that I had ticked running off some invisible list, because I promptly stopped and did away with all the work it had taken to get there.

It took me 38 minutes to jog 5ks, with a couple of walking breaks, listening to a podcast and wearing my very attractive reflective ankle straps. The route I take starts on a downhill slope, which is a bit of a cheat I suppose, except that I have to run uphill on the way back. The moon hadn’t risen tonight when I was out, so I went fairly slowly along the road, only veering off the bitumen when a car came along. A guy on a horse came past and startled me when he said hello – I hadn’t noticed him until I was right next to the horse (well, it wasn’t wearing attractive reflective straps, after all).

There’s a fire burning somewhere tonight – the glow of it was reflecting orange off the clouds and there was a strong smell of smoke. Those glowing clouds are always a nasty sight to see on the horizon when you’re driving home at night, and you live surrounded by dry eucalypt forest – you do pointless mental calculations trying to figure out whether you’re driving towards it and how far away it is. This fire still seems to be a fair way off – I’m going to be optimistic and presume it’s some sort of official burning off, rather than something more worrisome.

The game

We watched a bit of rugby while we were in New Zealand, mostly because there always seemed to be a provincial match on TV whenever we turned it on. And I found myself becoming interested in it, despite a lifelong indifference to similar sports. I think it was nationwide enthusiasm for the game, and the general excitement over the world cup. The safety announcement on the flight over was world cup themed. On the news, a bloke being interviewed on the street about the snow storms tugged at his All Blacks jersey and said it would keep him warm.

I entered a very predictable tipping sheet in a workplace competition, and have been watching the games that are showing on free to air tv (which will be mostly just those involving Australia) and keeping an eye on the online commentary for the other games. And Twitter of course, home of many a sarcastic remark during the England v Argentina game. I continue to find a lot of penalty calls confusing, but given that half the time the commentators seem to join me in that confusion, I think that’s probably alright. I attempt to cover up the fact that I have no idea what’s going on by making a disgusted grunting noise and shaking my head a bit, which could be directed at the ref, the other team, the vagaries of fate… I’m sure it’s very convincing. They’ll be asking me to commentate any day now.

Counting in

Since early this year, I’ve been organising a group of people who get together to play ukuleles once a month. Until a few weeks ago, we were meeting in our lounge room – I would drag all our dining room chairs into a rough circle and we crowded in between the bookcases, strumming away. But we moved recently to a community centre, which gives us more space. It also makes the whole enterprise seem more formal, which I’m finding a bit of a challenge. Figuring out get the attention of a group of people and count them into a song, wondering if the song choice is right, if the tempo is right, wondering if we should go over the chord changes more… I rarely have enough confidence in my own decisions to say definitively, “Right, this is what we’re doing – 2, 3, 4, go.” Partly, it’s lack of experience in leading any sort of musical group, and partly it’s my usual concern that people won’t like what I’m doing.

Charlotte at Great Fitness Experiment wrote about the strange nature of the desire for everyone you meet to like you. And it is a ludicrous idea, really. I don’t like a lot of people I meet, and occasionally I would describe myself as a bit misanthropic, but I still want people to like me and approve of my decisions (even the ones about how to count in a song). I always find it a bit hard to believe people who claim that they really don’t care what other people think of them. Surely no-one gets through their day without a healthy dash of paranoid speculation about the inner thoughts of their fellow citizens.

I think improving at leading in songs is more to do with deciding that your timing is the right timing (and your songs are the right songs), and sweeping everyone along with you. No dissension allowed. Speaking practically, the minute you ask for opinions from 10 or so people, you lose 5 minutes while the merits of those various opinions are debated. A benevolent dictatorship is probably more productive. (As long as it stays relatively benevolent, I suppose).


♠ The instructor moved me up to a 12kg kettlebell at bootcamp this morning before we did about thirty thousand squats. My legs are killing me, in an enjoyable sort of way.

♠ The husband and I are almost two weeks into a six week diet of no wheat, dairy, sugar, alcohol and caffeine. I feel incredibly energetic, and am thinking about making certain aspects of it a permanent dietary change, at least during the week – despite the fact that I seem to be spending a fair bit of time thinking about cheese. And chocolate.

♠ My latest mild addiction to an iPhone game – Mastermind.

♠ Our woodheater might serve as a home for possums for most of the year, but for about two months in winter I am grateful for its help in heating our airy wooden house. The possums are probably less thankful.

♠ After an unfortunate incident with a fox a few weeks ago, I had to go and buy some new chooks for residency in Chickendome. They were older than the first group of chooks, and have started laying already. They haven’t had the run of the garden yet – I’m being much more cautious with letting them out, given that I know there’s hungry foxes around. “The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night” is off the list of songs to play for a while.

Conversational misunderstandings

Law offices:
Me: [on the phone to someone three offices away waffling on about my communal farm idea] – “Waffle, waffle, waffle, basically a commune.”
Workmate: [frantic rustling and clunking] – “God, I just had to pick up the phone, I had you on speaker.”
Me: “Ahhh – was that little panic attack because I said the word commune where other people might hear me?”
WM: [entirely seriously] “Yes.”

What happens when you spend too much time playing cricket:
Me: “Oh, that’s my phone buzzing. Do you like my new Tardis message tone?”
Cricket-Playing Workmate: “What’s a Tart-us?”
Me: “The Tardis. You know, from Doctor Who.”
WM: “Is that a band?”
Me: [stares in disbelief]
WM: “Oh no, I’m thinking of Dr Hook.”
Me: [waves hands around in speechless gestures of distress]
WM: [backs away] “Erm… well, I’ll see you later.”


My new lens arrived as an early birthday present – the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G VR Micro. And it is gorgeous. Almost completely silent, heavy as all hell, and I can’t wait to get out into the garden during daylight and really test it properly. You can check out some of the shots people take with this lens on Flickriver.

I took a couple of test shots around the house with the flash, and I love that I can make a light bulb and the cats’ water bowl look, like, totally arty. Well, I think so.