Thursday, April 30, 2009

Provident Living Tip #1

If your low-end piano needs a tuning, but it's so old that no professional piano tuner will do it for you (at least not without trying to sell you an expensive piano humidifying system that costs more than you paid for the piano), consider learning to tune your own piano. I read many books and websites on the subject first. Then, for the cost of a professional piano tuning job, I was able to buy a few mutes, a good tuning hammer, and a Korg chromatic tuner over the internet. Now I carefully give my little craigslist-obtained spinet a periodic tuning and feel quite pleased to be able to do it all by myself! I don't do a perfect job, but it's good enough for all practical purposes at this stage in our family's musical progress.

Bonus: My four-year-old just started learning to play her first piece on the piano. She was intrigued by me tuning the piano and is now making the connection between the piano keys and the written notes in her First Journeys in Music Land book.

Toddler illness

She hardly went anywhere, but she's got a runny nose now and is refusing anything but milk. How do little children manage to get sick so easily? And this is not a frail child--90%+ for weight/height her whole life thus far. I don't understand it, but I'll keep wrapping her up in her blankie and comforting her until she feels better again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mr. Golden Sun

The weather is beautiful today! We are so hitting the park after breakfast!! We've got to enjoy the good weather when we have it here in mountain country.

The Mummy 3

Although The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor was enjoyable to watch, it was probably my least favorite of the three Mummy movies. It's hard to compete with the great characters in the first Mummy movie: Benny ("Think of my children!"), the Egyptian prison warden ("Apparently he had a very good time."), and the horde of zombies ("Imhotep...Imhotep"). Still, this one had a good martial arts fight at the beginning, and I always enjoy shows with the old Chinese fairy tale look to them (complete with beautiful women flying around in swirling clothing). This was a fun evening's entertainment (and much less suspenseful than the first Mummy, for those who found that one too scary).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

10 Happy Thoughts

These things make me smile right now:
1) My daughter's drawing of Maisy
2) My daughter's fort in the living room
3) Stare Dobre Malzenstwo--Live in Lowicz
4) Edible chicken for lunch
5) Seedless grapes (under $1/lb!)
6) Toddler quietly napping
7) Fast internet (well, fast enough)
8) Having energy to catch up on my blog
9) The weather forecast tomorrow
10) Not feeling nauseous right now!!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Too much! Too much money spent, too much background and foreground music, too much makeup and expensive clothing, too much scenery embellishment, and WAY too much Troy and Gabriela. High School Musical 1 was a delight because it seemed like it could happen in a generic high school. High School Musical 3 was unbelievable and actually kind of tiresome because it felt like everyone was in a theme park already. Sorry, Disney, you made a really lame sequel here.
DH here. I, too, didn't really enjoy the movie. I was glad to see Kelsey get some screen time, but some of the actors looked a little old to be high school students. I was glad to see more of the school roof garden scenery, but disappointed in the music and choreography that didn't include me. I never really felt like dancing or singing along. I was also glad when I went to high school that I never was in a play or musical that a high school student composed. Come on! The best parts of HSM were that people overcame their high school selves and got along with each other. They stopped tearing each other down and built each other up.
And the songs were great fun to sing along with and watch. HSM 3? Too much and not enough at the same time. What were your favorite parts/least favorite parts?


What does one make for breakfast when she needs protein fast, but sweetened cereal and eggs are out (I've gotten rather tired of eggs)? Oatmeal with yogurt! I added raisins and some homemade strawberry jam to sweeten the combination just a little bit. It works as a nice, slow breakfast to eat while reading blogs.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine Flu

The recent outbreak of a new strain of swine flue is more worrisome to me than SARS was. SARS affected Asia, and the city that was primarily affected acted quickly to contain it. However, Mexico is just a one day drive to the south from us, and the Mexican government didn't realize they had a problem until recently. The Mexicans are taking strong measures now, but they've already seen over 80 fatalities. I think the swine flue will be contained this time. However, it brings to the forefront a longstanding concern: Is another global pandemic inevitable? And what's the best way to prepare for an eventual global pandemic without being alarmist?


In the midst of my morning sickness, I got a lot of reading done. One of the best books I read was Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. He spent a large portion of his book talking about cultural differences and how they can affect performance. One example was the hierarchical culture of Korean flight crews and how that led to high crash statistics. Cultures (such as Korea's) with high power differential index (PDI) scores cause flight crews to be much less willing to speak directly to the airplane captain in any way that might be perceived as critical.

What's the point of a flight crew that can't use their own judgment and experience? Hierarchies are important for getting final decisions made, but they are counterproductive when the people at the top do not receive important input from their underlings, either because they refuse to listen to it or because the underlings do not feel they can say what they think. You might as well just have one pilot and some robots in such a situation.

Interesting, four of the five countries with the lowest power differential indices are primarily immigrant countries: the United States of America, Australia, South Africa, and Canada. For some reason, Ireland was also in the top five.

Ein Deutsches Requiem

This past semester, I've been part of a community choir that learned and performed Brahms' A German Requiem. I'd never heard of the piece before, but I'm so glad I learned it now. Not only is it beautiful, but the words are so meaningful (especially to a suffering lady in her first trimester of pregnancy who needs to know that others have understood the suffering that often falls to the lot of mortals). If anyone is looking for a new piece of music to familiarize themselves with, check out the Brahms' German Requiem (it's all on YouTube).

Cool 3-D journey (even without 3-D glasses)

We just watched the Journey to the Center of the Earth. It was so much fun to watch! I highly recommend this film, too. Brendan Fraser is fun to watch as his adventures change his character. And the Icelandic mountain guide is great ("Guys, nobody gets dibs on the mountain guide!"). We saw it on video, and even on video, the 3-D action was great. More films like this one would be very, very welcome!


We just watched the movie Hancock yesterday. It had good effects, and Will Smith, as usual, turned in a good performance. It was certainly a new take on the whole superhero idea. However, it left a lot unexplained and the relationship with the female lead just wasn't convincing. For those who prefer to avoid profanity and vulgarity, be warned that this film deserves its PG-13 rating.


I loved the movie Penelope. Great acting, visuals, and story. I highly recommend it. At the end, there are three stated morals to the story:
1) Rich people stink. (OK, I don't really believe that.)
2) It's always the mother's fault. (OK, not always.)
3) A curse only has the power you give it. (That's the real truth in the story.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NVP and dessert

Last Wednesday, I finally stopped throwing up every day. Still some nausea and gagging, but on the whole better than losing the contents of my stomach. Sunday, I got overconfident and starting eating desserts again. Sweetened breakfast cereal in the morning, a cookie at lunchtime, some mini-cinnamon rolls at night, and I ended up throwing up Sunday and Monday night. I blame the sugar.

Another benefit of breastfeeding babies

I would do it anyway because it's the safest, best way to feed a baby, but how cool is it that I can decrease my risk of cardiovascular disease by nursing?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Susan Boyle

Good for Susan Boyle! I'm so happy to see someone get a chance to share their talents even when they don't meet our society's unrealistic expectations of celebrities. Especially female ones. Who cares what she looks like when she can move us so deeply with her song? Do you think I can get her CD for Christmas?

Speaking of female celebrities, wouldn't you hate to be one? Seriously, tabloids reporting on every change in your lovelife, waistline, and wrinkle lines? Ew. I would never wish that on someone I loved.

How I can tell the NVP is diminishing

Besides the obvious decrease in times I retch, I find I have energy to sometimes cook (from scratch, even!), clean, and read blogs again! The light at the end of the tunnel is starting to illuminate my heart. :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Good news!

I've been mildly worried about possibly having a thyroid problem since I got a high TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) lab result in February of 2008. Then I got an even higher TSH reading in February of this year. Attempting to be a responsible baby-incubator, I told my midwife about this issue last week. She had a blood test done checking my TSH level as well as an actual thyroid hormone level. The results came back within normal range! I blame the fact that I haven't had dessert for a month. :) Seriously, we Americans eat way too much sugar in general. Too much = harming our bodies. Something to keep in mind this Easter, eh? Speaking of which, the best news of all is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and was resurrected nearly two thousand years ago, making it possible for us all to be resurrected!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

More NVP helps

I've had a hard time staying adequately hydrated, but I recently discovered that drinking my water with just a little bit of lemon juice helps me sip the water in very small amounts so that I don't have a "sloshy" stomach. The lemon juice also seems to help my queasiness go away.

Another thing that helps, I have found that avoiding sweetened foods helps me feel better. Even a bowl of breakfast cereal or sweetened yogurt makes the nausea worse. I haven't had dessert in over four weeks! Oh, well, maybe it's better since I had a large baby last time and might have had undetected gestational diabetes. As Cookie Monster says, dessert is a "sometimes treat". :)

Woohoo! Home stretch!

According to my journal, last pregnancy I stopped vomiting at 11 weeks (still had some nausea). Well, I'm just over 10 weeks now and much more attentive to my rest and nutrition needs this time around, so I think I'm in the home stretch for the worst part of pregnancy sickness. To prove it, I'm actually posting blog entries today. I've been so sick that I've not even wanted to look at the computer for the last few weeks. Yes, it's possible to feel that ill!