Monday, March 25, 2013

The Things I Like To Do When My Husband Goes Away (aka, Keeping it Real)

J is away for a little bit, and I have Alone Time At Home, which I don't get very often these days.  He's super protective of me, and to be honest, I'd rather not be on my own too much.  But I have this little haven of time alone, and I'm not going to waste it.

Don't judge me...  I'm pregnant...

- I have a Peter Cetera playlist going on Youtube on one computer.
- There is a Netflix Gossip Girl Marathon going on on another netbook.
- I am playing Skyrim.
- I am eating strawberry Jell-O right out of the big bowl with a giant mixing spoon.
- I have a face mask drying on my face (well duh).
- I have a hair mask in my hair.
- I just farted loud enough to freak out Joey, who had been sleeping on the couch next to me.  I'm pregnant, ok?
- I can feel a burp coming on, too.
- I'm wearing flipflops with socks.
- I have pretzels and peanut butter, and no utensils of any kind with which to eat them.  Will that stop me?  What do you think?
- My cell phone has an article on the screen from the New Yorker, but I have no intention of actually reading it.  It just makes me feel smart being up there.

Yep, that's your report from Pregnant Land.  Just keeping it real.  You know, because I'm usually so glamorous and polished and stuff.

Here's a fun tidbit:  I was trying to find an image for this post, and googled "slobby pregnant woman."  The second image that comes up is of Jesse Jackson looking drunk.  I have no idea what that means, if anything, but I think it's pretty funny.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March Madness

Like a lot of people, once a year my husband becomes a college football fan.  There's this awkward period in February when there aren't many sports on - football has ended, NASCAR, F1, the Indian Premiere League cricket hasn't started yet, and so we become, by default, basketball fans.

I played basketball for several years in junior high and high school.  By "played", I mean that I went to practice, had my parents install a basketball hoop on the edge of the garage, spent a lot of time shooting through that hoop, went to basketball camp in the summer, and then, when it came time to actually play in a real game (which I did almost every game because I was tall), I spent a lot of time freaking out and getting totally spastic whenever the ball wound up in my hands (which it didn't often, because of the aforementioned freakouts).  I swear to God one time I got a rebound, and I excitedly dribbled it out of bounds to where my coach was sitting on the sideline, to point out that I had, in fact, caught a rebound, and I wanted to know what she thought I should do with it.  She just put her head in her hands and lamented the day she ever thought it would be a good idea to coach junior high school girls' basketball.

I like watching March Madness, though.  I like watching stories like the one from Florida Gulf Coast University unfolding.  I like watching the commentators on the first day get all punchy and silly after twelve hours of broadcasting.  I like watching Charles Barkley pretend that he's watched more than five minutes of college basketball before the tournament started.

Speaking of Charles Barkley, I had a little brush with him when I was in high school.  The 76ers used to have their training camp at F&M College in Lancaster, and they'd have exhibition games where you could go watch them.  During one of these games Charles Barkley fell right in front of me, and I got his sweat on my legs.  

So tonight I asked Jonathan to make dinner for me because I was feeling tired and pregnant.  He was watching the SDSU game against that magic Florida team, and he didn't want to pause the game.  So I got to pretend I was a radio commentator and called the game for 20 minutes.  Here's a sampling of how it went.

"The guy in blue with the dreadlock ponytail has the ball and he's tossing it to some other guy who has green shoes, but it looks like somebody's trying to wrestle him, so I think that's a foul; I guess so, they're inbounding now, and there's a shot, and it looks like it's going to miss, so now the white team has it and they're going back down and the guy who looks like he's wearing Timberland's is going to take a shot, and the fans are on their feet, and the blue team sure looks like they have a lot of energy, and now they're passing it around the edge of the three point line looking for a shot, but there doesn't seem to be an easy shot, so now they're trying to drive it to the basket, and they get it, so now the blue guys are bringing it back..."

And it went on like this for a while until Jonathan finally said, "you're doing great, and you're really energetic, but the thing that's really important to me is what the score is, and how much time is left."  Duh.  I guess there goes my career as a basketball commentator.  

Oh, and on a completely different note, it was Weird People at the Lake Day today.  There was an old guy with a big belly and lots of gray hair on his chest (but none on his head)in the parking lot sitting next to his car in a folding canvas chair wearing, I kid you not, a green speedo, and that's it.  I don't know if he was sunbathing, or a wannabe nudist, or what, but I was not amused that I needed to look at that just to go for my walk.  People, if you feel the need to show off your beer belly in a speedo in a public parking lot, can you at least put up a warning sign or something so that those of us who don't want to see it can avert our eyes?  #NudistManners 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Old Music Wednesday, and feeling like Santa Claus when I walk

Apparently neither my dad or my stepmom could hack Dr Oz's juice cleanse.  I'm all curious about it now.  It wasn't that they were hungry - it was that the shakes were so vile.  I really want to do it now, just to see what all the gross fuss is about.  I might just have to make the lunch shake myself sometime, just to see how awful it is.

Anyway, hopefully tonight is the last night of calling the baby "it" because tomorrow it will be "he" or "she."  I was 18 weeks yesterday - I lost Baby T at 20.6, so as I get closer to that it's definitely weighing on me.  But thanks to the sales at Old Navy, I have a kickass maternity wardrobe now, complete with skirts, dresses, jeans, pretty shirts, and even a bathing suit.  The bathing suit is because I joined the YMCA at the bottom of our mountain to use their pool.  Now that my belly is getting bigger, I find walking around the lake gets more difficult.  My belly shakes (like a bowl full of jelly) whenever I walk down hill, which happens quite a lot when you're going on a mountain path around a lake.  Then it's always sore for hours afterwards.  So I'm going to convert to swimming almost exclusively here soon.  I miss the lake a lot - those walks really do miracles for my spirit, plus I listen to lots of audiobooks - but I reckon that come the end of August or September, I can be back out there walking the baby around.  And still, just because I'm not using it as my primary exercise anymore doesn't mean I can't still go and meditate on the shore.  So anyway, I've got a cute suit on the way from Old Navy, and am excited to get back to exercising regularly and having my belly not be painful afterwards.

I've gained 12 pounds so far, which is really bumming me out.  I wanted to try to not gain more than 20 during the whole pregnancy, which I can see now probably isn't going to won't happen.  Ah well, I should still be able to stick to less than 30 though, which will take me back to where I was when I started losing all that weight two years ago.  All that work, just to be back to where I started.  At least having lost it once I know I can do it again.  And it's not like I'm gaining 30 pounds on top of that, which would have been really bad.

So, separate subject: Music.

I have discovered a new favorite recorder artist.  Maurice Steger is a (very good looking) Swiss recorder player who does a lot of work with baroque and early music ensembles.  I first discovered him on an album of music from Naples called Una Follia di Napoli which is lovely, but not really as much my thing as his English Collection, which I find just so Springtimey.  He also has an album of Telemann, whom I have adored since I was 18 years old and bought my first Naxos CD, which was the Telemann Recorder Suite in A minor.  I bought Naxos CD's because they were cheap, and I could afford them on my broke-student budget.  I obviously had no idea at less than eight years later I'd be heading up their online music library sales, reporting directly to the President, and getting skype calls from Klaus Heymann, the founder.  And I'd have all the Naxos music I could ever want available to me all the time.  Life sure is trippy like that.

Anyway, back to Telemann.  I'm a huge fan.  I think he's overlooked and underrated.  I once heard someone call his music bubble-gum, like it was Britney Spears or something.  That makes me mad, because his stuff is quite ornamental, and I can see where you might think it's fluffy, but there's a lot going on.  He bridges different styles and periods, and so it's hard to categorize him.  But I find his music makes my heart happy.  And Maurice Steger playing the recorder makes me happy, too.

In other news, Charlotte Church has a new album out, her first in quite a while.  It took me a few listens, but I've come to like it.  It sort of reminds me of a female version of Josh Groban.  She's moved away from that awful period where she tried to be a pop star, and actually uses her voice now in big bombastic huge melodies.  It's a little bit much for regular rotation on my spotify playlist, but I can see myself digging it out from time to time.

And less than a week until Dido's new album comes out.  Sweet!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The week in Books and Juice Cleanses

My dad is doing the three day Dr Oz juice cleanse.  I never thought the day would come when I'd say the words "my dad" and "juice cleanse" in a sentence together.  This is the man who loved cheeseburgers so much that, when he married my stepmom, their wedding cake was in the shape of a cheeseburger.  He used to drink beer and smoke cigars every night when I was a kid.  Now that man is doing a juice cleanse, and tomorrow will be drinking kale smoothies.  Actually, if I wasn't pregnant, I'd probably do it too - if it's good enough for my dad to try, it'd be good enough for me, and it's only for three days.  You can do almost anything for three days.  Maybe after the baby comes we'll try it.

So we find out on Thursday if we're going to have a boy or girl (as long as the baby cooperates and strikes a pose conducive to being able to tell).  But in the meantime, I did the old wives tale pendulum predictor today.  I thought it would be fun to test it out before we find out for sure.  Both J and I did it, before checking what the results meant, so as not to influence them.  And when I did it he was outside, so he couldn't see what my results were.  Both of us got the same results: a boy.  I really don't care.  I just want a living baby.

The past two weeks I've only read two books, which is a bit slower of a rate than I would like.  Unfortunately, the books I'm reading right now also don't read really quickly, so I suspect I will stay at this rate for at least another week.  But it's ok because I'm getting a number of books crossed off my list that have been on for a while, and just because they take more time and effort to read than a Sophie Kinsella book, that doesn't mean they aren't worth the effort.

So the past two weeks I read:

The Last Letter from your Lover:
by JoJo Moyes

This would be a simple fluff novel if it wasn't so compelling, and didn't make you think so much.  The first novel of hers I read, "Me Before You" was about a girl who, when she loses her job at a coffee shop, becomes a caregiver for a man who had been a high-flying stockbroker who dated models, until his motorcycle accident left him paralyzed and back home living in a guest house attached to his parents' home.  They wind up falling in love, though he is still determined to end his life, because it's nothing like what it was before, and he can't go on living like that.  That book was incredibly emotional, and left me a bit numb for days afterwards.  This book was similar.  In 1960 a woman and man begin a whirlwind romance and fall deeply in love.  The problem: she's married.  He wants her to leave her unloving husband and come away with him.  It's a love story and a mystery that go unsolved for over 40 years until, in 2003, a reporter at a newspaper finds a love letter and starts some investigative work to find the lovers.  The back jacket had a review from the Independent that said it was "partner-ignoringly compulsive" reading, and J would agree with that, I'm sure.

Waiting For Sunrise:
By William Boyd

The novel starts in the year before WWI began, in Vienna, where a British actor is seeking therapy.  He gets caught up in the libertine atmosphere of the artists and writers there, and when it all goes wrong, he needs to be smuggled out of the country by diplomats.  But then, since he owes them, he gets wrapped up in the war, and in a mystery to find out who is putting Britain's secrets at risk.  This was a bit of a thriller, with amazing descriptions and writing that was like chocolate that I didn't want to rush through, but wanted to savor each word.  I had never read any William Boyd before, but I will be reading him again, I know.  He was delicious.

This week I'm reading two nonfiction works - one by Ian Mortimer (who wrote the Time Traveler's Guide to the Middle Ages) about medieval intrigue and mystery - I think it specifically revolves around the murder or Richard II, but I've just started it, so I'm not sure.  Second, is a book of essays about the growth of Los Angeles in the 1920's.  It's very academic, and taking me forever to get through, which is why I've interspersed some medieval history in there as well.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

On meditation

A little Fairy of Awesomeness came and sprinkled some Awesome Dust on me this week.  After being a little sick with a tummy bug two weeks ago (which, of course, freaked me out because my whole thing with Baby T started when I got sick), this past week I've been feeling really awesome.  I hit 17 weeks on Tuesday (so yes, today I'm 17.4), my tummy is sticking out quite proudly, I got some new springtime clothes from Old Navy (I was going to try to resist buying anything new until April, but the stuff I had from Baby T was all wintry since I was due in February, and we've had such gorgeous spring weather recently, I just couldn't handle all the blacks and browns.  

I also started meditating religiously, which is really helping me with my freakouts.  I used to think that meditation was about relaxation, and working through all the noise in your head.  I thought the Artists Way Morning Pages were a form of meditation, so by doing them, I was meditating.  And I suppose they might be, and I might have been, but another side of meditation is the ability to concentrate your mind, to ignore the chatter in your brain, turn it off, and just be mindful in the moment.  Last year my friend's mom taught us transcendental meditation, and shared how it rocked her world when she was depressed.  Basically, you sit for 20 minutes, and repeat a mantra (the one she taught me is Maranatha, which means Lord Come).  You might have other thoughts (in fact, you will have other thoughts), and you don't really pay much attention to them.  You just keep coming back to the mantra.

The analogy they made was a parable of a man leading an elephant through a village.  The first time he went through, the elephant destroyed the village with his trunk, just waving it everywhere and taking out huts and anything else in its path.  But the next day, the man gave the elephant a stick to hold in his trunk, and he walked peacefully through the village because he had something to do with his trunk.  The mantra is the stick for your brain.  

When we first started meditating, I didn't really see the point.  It seemed kind of like a waste of 20 minutes (and she actually recommended we do it for 20 minutes in the morning, and the evening).  There were so many other things I could be doing with that time.  Reading.  Watching the Bachelor.  Taking a bath.  What on earth did I think I was going to get out of sitting still with a mantra for 20 minutes.  It seemed boring, and pointless.

But now, seeing where my brain goes with this pregnancy (hey, there's a cramp.  I guess I'm losing it.  Let's go to the hospital.) I see the value of being able to still the commotion and silence all that shit.  A while back ago, at a conference, I picked up a galley copy of this book, The Meditative Path, and have started going through it, and, even more importantly, forcing myself to meditate daily.  I'm not up to 20 minutes yet - I started at 12 minutes, and I'm up to 18 now.  

And... It.  Is. Awesome.  The cats could get in a fight, or the house could fall in, and I wouldn't get up from my meditation.  I tune out everything from the outside world.  I listen to brainwave music (specifically this Deep Alpha meditation CD) and, while it's definitely a struggle to keep on the mantra, I notice it getting easier as I stick to my practice of doing it every day.  

In terms of real-life results, I haven't had a freakout in 10 days, which is a new record.  If you've never tried to meditate before (or even if you have, and you didn't stick with it) I urge you to read this How To from the World Community of Christian Meditation, and give it a shot.  Taking it back up again is the best thing I have done in ages.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hybrid Gas Mileage and the Ford CMax

In December we reached the point where my Aveo was becoming a serious money pit, and we knew we needed a new car.  I love my Aveo, and we actually kept it just as an extra little commuter car - it has over 207,000 miles on it, so we weren't going to get anything from trading it in, and it's worth it to have an extra car to run errands in so we aren't so dependent on matching up schedules.  If I'm out and J wants to run down the hill to get something, he can do so without it costing him $20 in gas, like it does in the Jeep.

Anyway, we picked the 2013 Ford Cmax Hybrid. Not just because of the gas mileage, though that was part of it.  Mostly because I really fell in love with it.  If a car designer was going to design the perfect car for Heather, he'd make this car.  I love how high you sit.  I love the intuitiveness of the commands.  I love where everything fits.  I love how spacious it is while still being a smaller car.  Basically, I just love this car.

But the gas mileage was definitely part of the decision.  We live on the top of a 5,000 foot mountain, and our nearest Target is a 25 mile drive, down the hill (and then back up).  My office is 54 miles (which is why I work from home most of the time).  Just going to the office once or twice a week, and one day spent running errands, we easily rack up 300-400 miles a week.  So I wasn't even going to consider anything that got less than 35mpg.  My Aveo got 34 regularly, and it was old.  I expected at least 35 or even 40.

The CMax advertises 47mpg.  We never expected to get that, because of the aforementioned 5,000 foot hill we drive up regularly.  Plus, even the local roads are hilly and twisty, with a lot of breaking and accelerating.   We get the car, I'm in car-love, life is good.

Then I start reading about lawsuits that Ford is receiving, saying that people are getting way lower than the 47mpg.  Then Consumer Reports releases a study saying that they got 10mpg lower than the advertised mpg, and Forbes reports that it's a great car that still got slammed anyway.

I start wondering whether maybe we did the wrong thing.  Don't get me wrong, I still love the car, and it was always about more than just the gas mileage, but I'm just hoping that we still get more than 35.  If these people who don't live on mountains are only getting 37, then what hope is there for us?

Ok, here's all I can say.  I don't know how they drive, or what their problems are, but our lifetime average over close to 6,000 miles so far is a respectable 40.2mpg.  

How are these people driving?  Are they slamming on the gas and the break and the gas and the break?  Do they go 0-60 in 4 seconds?  I drive up a freaking mountain every time I go anywhere, and I'm still beating them.  What the hell?

My commute consists mostly of the drive down the mountain (where I gain lots of mileage), then straight freeway driving.  The one thing I notice about all the reports is that they say they keep their cruise control on at 70mph - well, the battery stops working at 62mph, so at 70 you're on all gas, not battery.  So it's not surprising that they're not getting good gas mileage.  I keep my cruise control set at 60 (yeah, I drive in the slow lane, but I get through lots of audiobooks and I only cost myself like 10 minutes vs going 75 in my 54 mile commute).  When I drive to my office, my gas mileage regularly is 75mpg for that trip.  When I drive back, and make stops along the way (so not going back up the mountain, and just having gas mileage from the freeway, and surface streets to the places I'm stopping), I regularly average about 55mpg.  Last night I stopped at the grocery store almost at the bottom of the mountain.  I had about 15 miles of straight freeway/surface street driving before the 12 (20 minute) climb back up the hill, and during that trip, I still averaged 34.8mpg.

In short, I have no idea what those people's problems are.  I don't know how I manage to get better gas mileage while driving up a 5000 foot mountain, but I must be really gentle on the accelerator or something, or those people have lead feet.  Well, I do know what they're doing - they're driving too fast for the battery to kick in.

If you get a CMax and expect to drive fast and still get great gas mileage, I'm sorry, you won't.  But if you keep it below 62 or thereabouts, you will get absolutely fine gas mileage.  I'm not an expert on hybrids or cars or anything like that - I just had to write all this because I'm sick of seeing the CMax being ripped up by automotive blogs as being a rip-off.  I'm thrilled with ours.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

My TV Happy Place

About a year ago I discovered my favorite TV show of all time.  Great British Railway Journeys on BBC2.  Michael Portillo, who was a former Conservative MP and Cabinet Minister (and also on whom I have a teeny bit of a professorial crush) follows the guidebook that George Bradshaw put together in the 1860's to help Victorians navigate the new railway system.  Every season he travels several main lines, and in each show he'll visit two or three stops along the way, exploring how much of Bradshaw's England is still recognizable.

This is my favorite show because it combines so many of my Happy Places:
- England
- Trains
- Exploring
- Exploring England by Train

The first time I stumbled upon it on TV I almost lost it.  If only he made a little stop at the AMT Espresso Bar before hopping on each train; then it would be really complete.

If you're in the UK, by all means, watch this show when it's on.  If you're not @TelevisionBritish uploads most of them to YouTube.  Even if you're not into England or trains, the show would be worth watching if for no other reason than to see what pastel color combinations of shirt and jacket that Michael Portillo can carry off.  

Below is one where he goes to Scarborough.  But for nostalgia's sake, before that, here's a picture of me in Scaroborough in 2001.  I was very hung over as I'd been out drinking very late the night before with my friend Natasha.  I remember this very clearly because when I'm drunk I turn into an Angry Feminist. We were walking back to the station and stopped at a kebab shop for grease.  A guy was in the queue ahead of us, and his girlfriend/wife was holding flowers.  I went up to her, poked her shoulder, and promptly announced, "whatever he did to you, don't you let him buy you off with flowers.  You deserve more than that!"  The guy got really mad, and Tasha skedaddled me out of there.  While she was trying to hail me a cab, I decided to lay down on the ground by the station because it looked so appealing (I was very drunk).  I dozed off, and must have looked homeless because when I woke up, to the cab she had so helpfully called for me, there was about two pounds in change next to me.  I was so pleased with myself.  I held the change up, and said, "Look Tasha!  Two pounds!"  The cab driver almost didn't take me because he was afraid I was going to puke in his car.  The next day I woke up, had a Burger King breakfast at King's Cross, and went to Scarborough.

Good times.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Week in Books

I meant to do this post yesterday, but I was having a Hard Pregnancy Weekend.  A Hard Pregnancy Weekend is when you are gassy, your back hurts, you feel generally miserable, and everything seems hopeless.  That being said, Baby Jack (that's its in-utero name, whether it's a boy or girl - which, incidentally, we will find out on March 21 - but until s/he starts breathing our air, s/he will have an in-utero name) where was I...oh, Baby Jack got a nice official blessing at church yesterday.  Reverend Shelley put her hand on my belly, and did a lovely prayer for the new little life.  It made me cry.

Ok, so, books.  Last week I finished three books.  I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up this pace - a couple of the books in my queue are a bit more challenging and will take a while longer, I think.  But still, it's nice to be getting through my Amazon wishlist.  Every week I go through my wishlist, which has been going since around 2004, and put three or four titles on hold at my library.  Some of them are in straight away, others have a longer wait.  So each week I'm guaranteed at least two or three new books from my wishlist.  I don't feel guilty using Amazon this way, while not buying their books, but instead getting them from the library.  I hadn't bought them up until now, so it's not like they were already getting the money.  Some of those titles have been on there since 2004.  If I haven't bought them in nine years, I'm probably not going to buy them.  Also, there are plenty of titles my library doesn't have, so Amazon is still getting plenty from me, thanks very much.  So I'm feeling ok about it.

This week I finished:

Girl in Translation
By Jean Kwok

This came up as a recommendation because apparently the entire world was going mad for it.  I'll admit, on the surface, it's not the kind of book that would appeal to me, seeing as how it contains very little chick-lit or history, which are my two preferred genres.  It's about a Chinese family consisting of mother and daughter, who emigrate to Brooklyn from Hong Kong, wind up working in a sweatshop while the daughter decides to use her talents in school to try to get the family out of the condemned life they seem to be living.  It's largely based on the author's life, and it opened my eyes to a whole world I didn't know existed.  There were some incredibly moving parts.  Like when the mother, who was paid about $2/hour cutting strings on skirts, found a roll of material in the garbage that they would make stuffed animals out of - some kind of nasty polyester or something.  She was already late for her shift at the factory, and couldn't risk taking it home then, but went back to the dumpster after work, and was overjoyed that it was still there.  She took it home and made blankets, tablecloths, rugs, and sweaters for the two of them, since it was so cold and they couldn't afford to run the heat.  For years, they would bundle up in stuffed-animal polyester to keep warm at home.  Seriously, people live like this.  In our country.  Right now.  People who are here legally, and are working.  That is just not right.  I don't know what I can do about it other than commit to buying clothes that weren't made in sweatshops, either here or in China, but it doesn't seem like much.

Murder of the Century
The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars
By Paul Collins

Ok, this book really got me.  In an age before DNA testing, pieces of bodies start turning up around New York.  The first conclusion everyone comes to is that it's "Medical Students" having a laugh.  But then someone notices that the cuts aren't the kind that a doctor would make.  And then someone at the morgue notices that the pieces fit together.  They eventually find an entire body, sans the head.  So the first mystery is identifying the victim.  How do you identify a victim in a city of 2 million people like New York in 1897?  The second storyline revolves around the newspapers, who decide to step in for the inept police force several times, and actually break open clues.  William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer are at war with each other, and each paper is determined to solve the mystery before the other, and before the police.  You could not make up some of the stuff they did.  When they had a suspect, Hearst's paper rented out the entire building, only letting the police in, and keeping Pulitzer's reporters from coming anywhere near, and cutting the telephone wires at all the pay phones nearby.  Can you imagine a crime scene now where NBC news just takes over, buys the land and won't let any other news outlets anywhere near?  It's just mind-boggling, how the detectives were able to do any work in an environment like that.  Once they had a clue where the head might be, someone spread a rumor that there was a reward for finding it, and over July 4th weekend, practically all of New York was out at the crime scene digging around trying to find the head.  Seriously.  It was nuts.  It was also pretty gruesome.  If you're easily grossed out, this book isn't for you.

The Innocents
By Francesca Segal

Frothy modern-Edith-Wharton-you-can-read-it-in-a-day kind of book centered around a Jewish family in Northwest London.  I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the Hampstead Heath.  But I wasn't keen on the ending, though I'm not sure it could have had any other.  (spoiler alert) Let me just say that all three of the books I read this week have had some kind of unplanned pregnancy, a miscarriage, a considered abortion, or a midwife who specialized in abortions in them, and I don't like hearing about all that when I'm pregnant.  I'm too superstitious.  The book I'm reading right now just mentioned abortion, too, and I had to skip to the next paragraph.  I don't like reading about all that right now.  There should be a warning on books: "This book may contain talk of dead babies.  If you are pregnant, you should avoid it."  So yeah, it was a fun read, but definite dislike on the miscarriage in the ending.