Category Archives: Berkeley



I went with a few friends to see “Eclipse” the other night.  We were going to have a ladies night out, a real treat, at a local theater pub.  Don’t get excited, this is no PDX style, the movies are first run and full movie-going price.  But you can get burgers or pizza and beer or wine delivered to your comfy seat.  So exciting, as the last ladies night out I’d had was in March.

Once we’d all managed to liberate ourselves from our houses, leaving babes in the care of Dads, we found out that the theater was having some special event that was nothing like a terrible teenage vampire saga.  Woe!

Calls were put in to husbands, only one of whom was available to do research for us.  We found a showtime only half and hour later at a nearby mall and rushed on over.  It was looking like I wasn’t going to be able to get my greek salad and wine.  Boo.  The good news was that Annie and Sarah had a different plan for dinner, and it was oh, so perfectly convenient and fitting.  We had a high school dinner of the following: 
Large bag of popcorn, refilled once, buttered
Nachos (meaning chips and that fluid cheese – delicious!)
Bag of Reese’s Pieces
Large Coke and Root Beer

Folks, it was so perfect. And, much to my surprise, there wasn’t a terrible, stomach-achy issue later. I guess I’m still close enough to 18! I think for dinner tonight I’ll have a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and chocolate milk.

6/16/10 Ellie likes chocolate for dinner




To be fair, I thought I should list the good stuff in Berkeley. I think if I could not be living in Oregon or Washington, the Bay Area would be next on the list.

Here goes, what Berkeley has and Portland does not:

1. Fantastic weather! Though, I never minded Portland’s.

2. Diversity! Resulting in fantastic restaurants and the possibility for Ellie to take a “Baby Mandarin” class. Though I’m not spending $30 for Ellie to walk around putting everything in her mouth while the adults recite single words in Chinese.

3. A good school where Jesse can get a PhD in Chinese languages and literature. He said today that a prof (from another university) told him that Berkeley was the only place Jesse could really study what he’s studying.

4. Good donuts

5. Close enough to drive to Parents, Grandparents and Cayucos without Ellie getting pissed off (as much)

6. Year-round farmer’s markets (ie, year round local produce)

7. The Sea

8. San Francisco nearby! (and even just looking at the cityscape from the East Bay)

9. New friends

10. Good, small, local markets for produce and meats and fishes

…and that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll miss it here when we move to Minnesota for Jesse’s first teaching position.



I’ve been terribly cranky ever since coming back from Portland a week ago. Darn you Portland! I almost think I should stay away so I don’t get grumpy about what I’m missing.

Here is the short list of what Portland has and Berkeley does not:

1. A sister, her husband, their gestating child, their cat and comfortable house.

2. A brother, a sister-in-law who is also a good friend, their fun kids and a comfortable house.

3. Coffee shops with good coffee

4. Coffee shops with good food

5. Coffee shops with places for kids to play!

6. Easy(er) access to good friends.

7. High Chairs and changing tables in every establishment.

8. Nicholas’ and Saburos

9. Good parks

10. Nice little neighborhoods to walk around (Sellwood, Multnomah Village, Mississippi, etc, ad nauseum)

11. A recently transplanted aunt who had lived nearby and was very helpful

I’d better stop. I think I could be writing this list for hours. The point is Portland is better and I know it and I know I will not get to move there for at least 6 years, if ever. Humph.

A long day


It was a bit of a trying day today. I woke up with a headache that followed me around all day. And I was just feeling tired. But Ellie was having none of that, and wanted me at my peak performance all day. She was almost as grumpy as I was. Maybe she was tired and headachy, too. Her naps were short and she was hard to get to sleep.

She and I met up with Linsey and Erica, on their way down to Cayucos for the week. We walked a short trip around some shops, looking at all the cute stuff we couldn’t afford, and then they went on their way down to bask in some sunshine and soak in the quiet. I found myself envying them their quiet, carefree, single girl lives.

Then I came home, wrestled more with her little grumpiness to get her to eat and/or sleep, before Jesse and I took off on a long walk. And of course, she fell asleep just as we were about to get back in the car and go home for a nap and nursing. So instead we let her nap while we walked all around the lovely neighborhood we were in. By the time we decided to give up and get back in the car, she had slept for more than an hour and not eating in 4 hours. So she ate furiously and angrily once we got home. Twice.

Then, Jesse and I determined that a trip to Safeway would really make our evening and morning much nicer, so, seeing as she’d just napped and just eaten (twice), I took off on my own to the grocery store. I left feeling carefree, “ha, ha! A baby-less trip to the grocery store! How exciting!”, until I’d walked not 10 steps and found myself instead thinking, “oh, but my baby! My identity, I’ll miss her! Nobody will know I’m a mom. What if she needs me?” Sigh. I am my own contradiction.

Birth Story


In honor of Sherrie’s impending delivery, I’ve finally got our birth story ready for you all. Try not to think of my lady parts when reading this, please, it makes me uncomfortable.

I’ll try to keep this short. It was a short day, after all. My water broke at 5am on Tuesday (I was born on a Tuesday!), October 7th, 4 days before my due date. Oddly, I was NOT READY! The feeling of it woke me up, even though it was only a small gush and I immediately woke up Jesse and told him my water broke. It made a bit of a mess in bed, and then on the bathroom floor. Actually, it dribbled out here and there all day. I couldn’t get back to sleep after calling the doctor and pacing and worrying and waiting for her call back, so I got up and did the dishes (with a towel under my feet). We were asked to go in sometime before 10am for a non-stress test and I wasn’t having contractions or anything, so we were in no hurry. We packed some stuff in the car and at 10:45 we got to the hospital, where they exclaimed, “There you are, we were getting worried!” My belly was strapped with a couple doodads and was monitored for an hour. I tried to do some sudoku, but was too distracted by watching the baby’s heart rate and my (small, still couldn’t feel them) contractions. We were told to go home and wait for contractions to start. We were told we’d need an induction the next morning if they hadn’t started by then and scheduled one with the doctor.

We stopped at the campus on the way home while Jesse got some stuff ready for missing class the next few days, when my contractions started up suddenly and quickly (about 1pm) about 5 minutes apart. We got home, I tried eating something (cold, naked pasta from the night before), but was distracted by the frequent pain and breathing and relax, breathe, relax, massage my back, etc.. We were trying to time the contractions, but it seemed so erratic until my husband said something about 3.5 minutes and should we call the dr? who said to come right on in. When we got to the hospital, I must have looked quite ready. I was put into a wheel chair and Jesse took me upstairs while the car was taken care of by a valet dude who seemed to be there just exactly for such purposes. We got there at 4pm, were put straight in a room (No triage, etc..), and then calmly hooked up to this and that monitor, tube, and whatnot. I let the nurse know I rather felt like pushing sometimes, so she offered to check my cervix and exclaimed that it was 9.5 or 10cm (that’s all the way) and then things went into high gear. She called the doctor, tried to get the rest of the cords and monitors and iv’s set up and then I pushed for what seemed like forever, but was about 2 hours. I started on my side, but ended up pushing on my back just like in the movies, only not, because I was gripping my knees by my ears. Through it all Jesse was completely cool, reassuring, and an amazing birth partner. He never looked below the waist, for which we are both very glad. When her head was halfway out, they asked if I wanted to feel it, and I did, and it was gross. I was afraid after feeling her head that she was going to come out weird and squishy. Elena Mae was born at 6:55pm, 6lbs, 6 oz, 19.5″ long, apgar scores of 9.5 and 10. After she was born, the doctor showed me my placenta, it was cool. I broke all sorts of blood vessels in my face and eyes and bruised the nerves going through my hips with my hard pushing. The nerve thing was odd, as it caused my thighs and knees to be numb for about a week and a half.

All in all, it was amazing! From the beginning of my contractions, the labor was only about 6 hours long. From the birth classes and from hearing other’s stories, I would have thought that the contractions are the worst part of labor, but they were nothing compared to the pain during pushing. It was all so fast, though, I think next time (hoping there will be a next time), we’ll have to go to the hospital pretty early in.

Freaking Out


Ugh.  Oof.  I never thought it could be this difficult to bend over.  Jeez.  I’m about 2.5 weeks from the big due date and all’s well inside the uterus, I just wish all were well inside my head.  Last night I freaked out. I fell asleep on the couch but once I got in to bed, couldn’t sleep. I obsessively thought of all the things I don’t have yet for taking care of this baby. Ahhhhh!  I imagine when you are sent home from the hospital, you don’t exactly feel up for running to the store to get diapers and wipes and…what else? Ahhhhh! I don’t even know what I need!

What goops and toiletries do a baby (or a new mom) need? I don’t have a stroller or a baby carrier. Am I going to be able to leave the house? Do I need a bath tub or is a kitchen sink OK? Do I need to stock up on convenience foods so we have something to eat? Do I need nipple cream? A breast pump? How many blankets? How many quarters for laundering the 2 blankets I have?

The house is a mess.  There are still boxes and suitcases everywhere and it’s nearly impossible to unpack as there are no surfaces to put things on or drawers to put things in.  We have a bunch of boxes of stuff, but none of our furniture.  Ahhhhh!  *freaked out*

Anyway.  The baby’s doing fine.  The acrobatics are beyond cool and well into scary, as it’s now less of a delicate kick here and there and instead full on slow and alien stretches and jerks.  There is no descending of baby or any other signs that it could come anytime in the next, oh, month.  I’m terribly uncomfortable standing around, sitting upright in a chair is only slightly better.  In fact, I’m only OK if walking or sofa-lounging.

So.  That’s what’s going on!  Freaking out and uncomfortable.  I’m going to swallow my pride and go ahead and mention that if anybody is feeling hugely generous and pitying our poor confused-new-mom/24-hours-a-day-grad-student lifestyle and wants to buy anything for our baby, we do have an Amazon registry thingy and Momm has our address.

And also, I miss you all.  It’s been really nice to get to know Berkeley, but I haven’t gotten to know any people and I am totally serious when I say Jesse studies from 8am to at least 8pm and I’m beginning to realize I have no one to talk to.  Jeez – poor, poor me.  This whole email has been a personal pity-fest.  I hope no one reads my journal anymore.

Goodness, gracious


Oh jeez.  I know it’s been about a month too long since I last wrote.  I’m good!  Jesse’s good, baby alien is good (actually sticking a knee in my ribs right now) and we’re attempting to settle into our awesome (and expensive) new apartment.  There are kids running around everywhere and our apartment backs up on a park-like patch of grass.  The weather in Berkeley is just as perfect as we’d imagined and all is quite well.  There are quite some characters hanging around town and it all seems a bit big city-ish to me just now.

I’m afraid I can’t write a whole bunch for another week.  I have to read 4 more books by next Tuesday to finish up my 52 books in a year thingy.  I was all caught up when I left China, but all this traveling messed me up and I have had to really buckle down the last few days.

Everything is going great, though, and I love and miss you all!