Archive for July, 2010

baby boy walker
July 31, 2010

I hope I didn’t leave too many people hanging. No, I’m not STILL in labor. Hahhaha. Ha. Ha.

It has been a WHIRLWIND since I wrote my last post. I need a better word. But my brain is functioning on very little sleep… so ‘whirlwind’ will have to do.

Anyway, here’s what you really want to know…

AT 1:40 AM ON JULY 29, 2010

Malcolm James Walker

was born

8 lbs, 2 oz

After a very long and trying labor

He is perfect in every way

We’re home now and adjusting to a new life measured in two-hour intervals, number of feedings, left breast vs. right breast, color and quantity of poopy diapers…

We’re happier than we have ever been. Ever.

I can’t wait to share the whole birthing story. I hope to get that done today.

Malcolm is sleeping in his moses basket right now. Mom said, “You can write with him in the basket.” And I said, “Yes!” Then she added, “Just write fast.”

So perhaps that will be one of many changes in my life brought on by the arrival of our baby boy… I’ll go from a deliberate and “slow” writer to a fast one.

The biggest thing I’ve been trying to do while Malcolm sleeps is sleep. Yes… everyone says, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” And I have been trying. It’s truly impossible to count up the hours of sleep I have actually gotten in since his birth. But I’m definitely operating with a deficit. Another challenge.

Okay… so I’m going to eat the second half of my turkey sandwich and try to shower before Malcolm awakens and asks for yet another feeding (man, can this kid EAT!). Also need to ice “down there,” return a few phone calls and emails, stare at Malcolm while he sleeps, begin to write the birth story and maybe even catch a couple of z’s.

Ready, set, GO!

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pause for contraction/ my early labor post
July 27, 2010

The morning of the my 3rd day overdue I wake up with lower back pain and complain to Bob about it. He mercifully rubs my lower back. I don’t think that much of it. The weight of my belly is enough to induce that sort of pain, I think. And I was uncomfortable all night long. I finally get comfortable when it’s time to get up to catch the 8:30 ferry to Orcas for my 10:30 appointment with my midwife. It’s always like that, isn’t it?

Bob, Mom and I load up the car with the essentials… just in case. We have our hospital bags, the birth ball, plenty of water, snacks, books, music… I am three days overdue and if we need to catch the ferry then it would be best just to have everything with us. On the ferry I notice a general pain in my abdomen. Feels like menstrual cramping. Must be the start of something, I think.

At my appointment I’m disappointed to learn that I’ve only dilated an additional half centimeter since last week. I’m at one and a half centimeters and the baby is at -4. Meaning, he still has a ways to go. Melinda tells me I’m not too effaced, either.

I tell her about the period cramping and low back pain. She asks me if there is a pattern to it. Not that I’ve noticed. She tells me to touch my belly the next time I feel the pain and if it’s really hard, then I know it’s a contraction. It happens while I’m sitting there. Now I know. She tells me to start paying attention to the quantity per hour and if I have four in an hour to come back so she can check my cervix again before we catch the return ferry to Friday Harbor.

The next hour I have four.

We’re at my doula’s  (Laurie) house for a class on nursing when they really start to increase. Ten in the next hour. Ten the hour after that. Bob is keeping track. We’ve developed a system. I hit his leg every time one begins. Very advanced.

((Pause for contraction))

At the end of the class I call Melinda and tell her that they’ve started coming faster. We set an appointment for 3:30. I take a nap at Laurie’s while Bob and Mom tool around Eastsound. I’m out like a light. I wake up exhausted and in pain.

Back at Melinda’s she discovers that the baby has moved from -4 to -2. This, she assures us, is a lot of progress in just a few hours. I’m still at one and a half centimeters and not much more effaced. But with the contractions coming faster and stronger we discuss options.

“Let’s talk about what we’re going to do with you,” she says.

Option #1 Catch the next ferry from Orcas directly to the mainland.

Option #2 Go back to FH on the 4:35 ferry then catch a later ferry to the mainland.

Option #3 Go back to FH and wait it out. See if things progress and if they do we can always call for the charter flight to the mainland.

We opt for Option #2 for a couple of reasons.

1. Both Bob and I would feel much more comfortable being on the mainland tonight with the way things are going. We don’t want the stress of having to figure out when to call for a flight, etc.

2. We can’t go directly to the mainland from Orcas because we left the baby seat at home as well as our cell phone chargers. Also, we would just like to be able to go through the house and make sure we have everything we need. And bring Pablo to the dogsitter’s house (Juniper & Sean) as well as say goodbye.

So we leave Melinda’s and I immediately begin to cry. I’m overwhelmed. This is all getting real. This is about to happen for real. EVERYTHING is about to change. Our entire lives are about to change …. and my body is about to go through something that I can barely fathom.

It’s a strange feeling. I feel excitement as well as a strange sense of loss. This I didn’t expect. I feel fear. This I did expect. Terror.

I bury my face in Bob’s shoulder and then get back in the car and head to the Orcas ferry terminal.

6:50 PM
We are on our 3rd ferry of the day. I have my pillow and blanket and plan on resting. Mom insists first on a game of Bananagrams. I’ve mentioned Bananagrams before. Let me tell you, it’s addictive. I comply. Thinking it will help take my mind off of what is happening. Both Bob and Mom tell me that I can’t blame anything (such as losing) on the contractions. Turns out I don’t have to because I still win. Oh yeah!

((Pause for contraction))

One game is enough for me and I stretch out for the remainder of the ride. I pull my blanket over my head and listen to my music while I breathe through each contraction. They are beginning to feel more intense.

When it’s time to go back to our cars, I take a moment to look out over the water. The sun is shining beautifully on the water. Sparkling. Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” is playing in my ears. Bob comes up behind me and puts his arms around me. I’m crying again. But this time it’s a good cry. I’m present to the power of this moment and how beautiful it is. We are truly about to bring our baby into the world. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Once in Anacortes, we pick up some Japanese food and check into our hotel room where there are flowers waiting for us from Laurie. So sweet. She’s already here

((Pause for contraction……………Okay… that one was 43 seconds. Phew.))

What was I talking about? Oh- Laurie. She’s awesome. She gives me a foot massage while we talk. I tell her when my contractions start and she times them. She feels my belly and is very enthused. All good signs, she says. She shows us where the baby’s butt is. She says she’s happy with how well centered he is and tells him, “Good job, Malcolm.”

Laurie leaves to get her rest.

Mom recommends that I take a bath and then rest as I’m going to need it. Then she heads to her room for some much needed sleep.

I take a jacuzzi bath and it feels so good I think that I might not even be able to feel the contractions in the tub. Wrong. I feel them. But the tub is amazing. I’ve missed baths.

During one contraction I try breathing into the pain. I close my eyes and let the pain wash over me and a really cool thing happens. It spreads out. And by spreading it out, it’s less intense over all. It’s like I go into the pain and let it exist.

Spiritual Midwifery talks a lot about this. It’s a sort of riding the wave. They call contractions “rushes” because they are like rushes of energy.

((Pause for contraction….. that was 39 seconds long. 7 minutes since the last one.))

So anyway, I figured I would practice the surrender to the pain thing during these early contractions. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it as they get more and more intense… but at least this is a start.

Now it’s time to rest. I don’t know what will happen tonight. Though I want sleep, I also want things to progress so that we can meet our son. Bob and I are both present to the power of this moment. Something miraculous is about to occur. We are so connected and in sync.

It’s all good.

I don’t know if I’ll have a chance to write another blog post like this for a while. If you’re interested in updates, follow me on Twitter: @Littof
It will be easier to post updates there via my cell phone than here.

One more thing. I’m so aware of all the women in the world who are laboring right now. We make up this enormous worldwide sisterhood that’s pretty cool. This might sound strange… but I’m trying to tap into that collective energy.

Oh.. ((pause for contraction… that one was 48 seconds and 6 min. from my last one.))

What I was about to write is…. thank you to our family and friends and all of you readers out there who are thinking about us and sending positive energy our way. I feel it. I’m telling you! Thank you!

Here’s hoping tomorrow is the day!

Yep, still pregnant
July 26, 2010

my due date blog post/ 40 weeks pregnant
July 24, 2010

Today on my due date… I did not water ski like my mom did on her due date with me… but I did garage-sale. Mom and I hit five garage sales this morning. At each one someone asked, “When is your baby due?” And each time I enjoyed the reaction to my answer: “Today.”

At one of the sales (where we scored a baby swing for $15) the woman asked, “Are we going to have to fly you off the island?” That’s when I noticed that she was wearing an EMS t-shirt. “I’m an EMT,” she said and then told us about a woman who gave birth at the medical center on-island in the winter and another woman who made it over to Anacortes only to give birth in the ambulance on the way from the landing strip to the hospital.

Lots of people gave me looks as though I were crazy not to be off-island already. And I can get that. I thought that’s exactly what I would do. Go to the mainland early and wait. But the thought of that now is horrid. Waiting is not easy. Laurie (my doula) told me today that this is often the hardest part. The part where you’re ready to have the baby, but the baby is not yet ready to be born.

Talk about a serious lack of patience. It’s my due date and already I’m frustrated that he’s not here yet. But… I guess I have been waiting patiently for 40 weeks. He’ll come when he’s ready. Right? Right.

So back to the day. After the garage sales, we hit the farmer’s market for some grub. And then went to the Friday Harbor airport to look at the pretty planes. Today was the “Fly-In” and Open House. There were all sorts of pretty Cessnas and bi-planes. I considered taking a ride in a bi-plane until I saw the price ($65 per person.) It was a blast. Until my eyes suddenly rolled back into my head and I almost fainted. Bob saw me sway and caught me.

It came out of nowhere. Home it was. I put my feet up and proceeded to chug water. The combination of the heat, not enough water and my low blood pressure is what did it. I was done for the day. Mom and Bob took care of me. I drank lots of water and napped. That’s what was needed. Which meant we had to unfortunately miss the most exciting event of the day- the box car derby races. Yes. It was either that or the “Kiss the Pig/ Relay for Life” Fundraiser.

So to sum up… unfortunately there was no derby race watching, kissing of pigs or birthing of baby today.

Feels like it won’t happen for a few days.

Monday, by the way, is the full moon. I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened then. Any bets?

About the photo–

These are all of the baby/pregnancy books on my bedside table. My favorite book to read is Spiritual Midwifery. It’s amazing. So fascinating and inspiring. And the pictures from the 70s are awesome.

I often feel buried by this huge stack of books and all that I still have to read. Then I remember Laurie’s mantra: “Your baby will still come out.” As in, your baby will still come out even if you don’t read another book.

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granny panties & mesh underwear
July 22, 2010

I wrote about giant bras. Now it’s time the giant panties got a little ink (so to speak.)

I have an amazing husband.

How amazing?

Well…

Last week I sent him on an errand to buy… granny panties.

Yep.

See, since he works in civilization where one can buy things and stuff, and since I needed underwear to wear post-birth, I thought it would be simple for him to pick up a package of Hanes or Fruit of the Loom or whatever brand of big, ol’, ugly, hideous underwear he could find.

I was wrong.

Momderwear

Allow me to explain.

First…

Why granny panties?

Well, I had heard that I would appreciate the high-waisted support of said panties as well as the roomy nature following the birth and in light of all the craziness that happens “down there.” Makes sense.

By the way, this type of underwear is apparently known as “Momderwear.” This valuable information was imparted to me by fellow islander and Twitter friend Sara Jensen. When I tweeted about sending Bob to shop for granny panties for me, her tweet back read:

“Those are called momderwear. you have officially crossed over to the dark side of under garments”

So true.

Bob’s disturbing lunchtime adventure

Bob calls me on his lunch break.

“So what did you need? You need me to buy you some underwear?”

I hesitate. Should I really send him on this quest? Is this really a smart thing to do? I need them. And they don’t have them on the island. And the clock is ticking. So…

“If that’s okay with you,” I respond. “If you have time.” And then, “They’re the big and ugly kind.”

He’s game.

His client is in the financial district, so we’re limited to the stores that are in that area. Stores like Macy’s, Marshall’s, Ross and Walgreens. No Target. It’s my thought that a drugstore would be more likely to carry the hideous granny panties than Macy’s.

So Bob’s first stop is Walgreens and calls me from the store.

“They have some with something called ‘tummy control’.”

“No, no! Nothing with Lycra! Nothing with Lycra!”

“Okay.”

“They have to be 100% cotton. It’s all about comfort. 100% cotton!”

“Okaaaay…” he says with that tone that he’s afraid of further upsetting the crazy pregnant woman.

You’d think that Walgreens would be THE place to find momderwear, right? Wrong.

“There’s another Walgreens closer to my hotel that’s much bigger than this one. I’ll go there,” he calmly suggests.

“You don’t have to,” I say. Already feeling bad for this crazy mission I’ve sent him on in his already busy day.

But he’s determined to find these undies for me. So he goes to the bigger Walgreens closer to his hotel. Strike 2.

His third stop is Ross. I’m not holding my breath.

He calls me to tell me that not only can he not find the mythical granny panties, but he feels really creepy perusing the women’s lingerie section.

This makes me laugh. I can just see it. Poor Bob. What have I made him do? I’m awful. I sent my husband to buy me the ugliest underwear known to woman and now instead of feeling like my hero (for acquiring the object of my desire) he feels like a big ol’ perv.

I suggest he ask someone for help.

“Tell them you’re shopping for post-birth underwear for your wife,” I say. Hoping that they have to have something.

Strike 3.

“Never mind,” I say. “Let’s just forget it. Thank you for trying. I’m sorry. I’ll just order them or something.”

That’s true love, right? A man who is willing to shop for giant underwear for his pregnant wife? It is in my book.

See? He’s amazing.

Mesh underwear

So I still haven’t acquired any granny panties. I  just haven’t gotten around to ordering any. So if anyone has any suggestions for the most comfy brands, please comment below!

Now… I’ve been told that the hospital provides mesh underwear for new moms. Why mesh? I have no idea. Some friends have said they love them and others say they hated them. I’m not sure how I’ll feel. I can’t even picture them. Every time I try, quiver with fear. Perhaps because the word “mesh” makes me think of wire. And ouch.

But seriously, this is now the least of my worries. Why? Well… I’m 2 days away from my due date.

Two days.

Bob will be home tomorrow at 10 AM.

My hospital bag is packed.

And I’m just hoping I’ll know when to go to the mainland.

The  end.

(for now)

what the heck is a doula?
July 18, 2010

In my last post I mentioned that we have a doula. I got a couple of questions about that such as, “Who’s Doula?” and I thought I should explain.

Firstly, a doula is not a who but a what.

From the DONA International Website:

The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily.

A birth doula…

“…guides and supports women and their partners continuously through labor and birth. The doula is on call for you, arrives at your home or the hospital when you need her, and remains with you continuously, with few or no breaks, until after the baby is born.” – from The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

So how did we come to hire a doula? Well…

What if I go into labor when Bob is away?

The longer Bob’s San Francisco work gig went on, the more stressed I became about being alone on an island and going into labor. These questions haunted me:

What if Bob doesn’t make it on time?

How do I do this alone?

Who will drive me to the ferry?

What if Bob doesn’t make it on time?

What if my labor starts in the middle of the night? (There are no ferries in the middle of the night.)

How long will I be alone?

What if Bob doesn’t make it on time?

Will I be alone in the hospital waiting for my midwife to arrive from Orcas?

Who will help me through labor?

How will my midwife get from Orcas to the mainland in the middle of the night?

What do I do?!

A Solution

My friend Jenn – who has given me priceless advice, a treasure of hand-me-downs and emotional support – had mentioned that they worked with a doula and how amazing it was to have her. This doula happened to be the nurse that assisted my midwife on her Friday Harbor visits… also the same person that leads the birth classes here in the islands. Her name is Laurie Gallo.

I liked Laurie immediately. Every time I got on the scale she would say, “Perfect.” Every time she took my blood pressure she would say, “Perfect.” Again. And she just had this way about her that made me feel at ease. When Jenn mentioned that she was also an amazing doula I started thinking about the idea of hiring her.

When Melinda, my midwife, told me that I needed to find a way to put my anxieties about Bob missing the birth out of my mind… I thought about Laurie. Melinda said that I just needed to prepare as much as possible and then let it go. I thought that if I had someone I could call in the middle of the night to be with me in labor, then I wouldn’t be as worried about Bob not being there. Of course it would absolutely break my heart for Bob to miss the birth… but if anything would have me stop freaking out about every little pain or Braxton-Hicks contraction, this would be it.

So we decided to meet with Laurie to talk to her about being our doula and what that would entail.

Another Sign From the Universe

Laurie and I exchanged a couple of e-mails to set up our meeting. My e-mail signature has a link to my blogs… both Love in the Time of Foreclosure and Two Years on an Island. I get this e-mail back from Laurie that says,

“So – I had already fallen in love with this couple I’d heard on “The Story” and it turns out to be you both.”

This to me was a sign from the universe. How crazy is that? She heard our story on NPR. I couldn’t help but think this was meant to be. We’d found the perfect person to be our doula. She knows our whole story because she heard us on “The Story” and she ‘gets’ us.

When Laurie arrived for our meeting, she came prepared with quotes from our segment on “The Story.” She had noted things we said that pertained to child birth and/or parenting and demonstrated that we would make great parents. She correlated what we went through to childbirth and told us we were well-equipped. She recalled a story I told about the night before we had to be out of our house when our friend Brian took my tear-streaked glasses off my face and cleaned them for me. That, she said, is what a doula does. (So, Brian… if you ever get tired of Boston Court… you’d apparently make a great doula. Think about it.)

We couldn’t have asked for a better connection. She really did get us. And she created this really open space where we could share our hopes, fears and goals in a totally authentic manner. That meeting sealed it for us. We had found our doula. And my anxieties disappeared.

Of course every day we ask our little boy to please wait until the weekend to make his way into the world. Bob is even more specific. He is constantly telling my belly to wait until July 25th. We’ll see if our son complies. I hope he does. Bob’s leave from work begins this Friday. He’ll be home Friday morning for four weeks. The plan is for him to take two weeks of vacation and to work two weeks remotely. After that? Well… we’re just taking things day by day for now.

Oatmeal bread and fresh strawberries

I couldn’t be more happy to have hired Laurie to be my doula. Here are some things she does that make a difference for me:

-Makes me delicious gluten-free oatmeal bread with chocolate chips and raisins

-Provides me with large mason jars filled with homemade trail mix

-Gives me fresh strawberries from her garden (the best I’ve ever had!)

-Lends me books to help me prepare for the birth

-Lets me know I’m on her mind.

-Challenges me to call her in the middle of the night – for any question or concern.

-Tells me on a regular basis, “Your baby will come out anyway.” (can be applied successfully in response to a number of questions/concerns… such as, “I haven’t been doing yoga.”)

-Assures me that I am more than ready and am totally capable of delivering naturally (my goal.)

-Is knowledgeable, gentle, caring and non-judgmental.

And so much more. Between my midwife and doula, I feel so taken care of. I never thought I would be the “type” to have a midwife and a doula. This place is what opened me up to the possibility. And I’m so grateful. I love my team!

Only 6 more days

As of today, I am six days away from my due date. And (I almost don’t even want to type this) but it seems that nothing is imminent. It looks like he might actually comply with our request to wait until the 25th. But if he does decide to make an early appearance between my mom, Laurie our doula, Melinda our midwife and Virgin America Airlines to fly Bob from San Francisco to Seattle, we have quite the plan.

In the meantime, I’m drinking lots of water, spending quality time with my mom, sleeping as much as possible and getting things ready. Now to finish writing my birth plan…

DONA International – What is a doula?

baby by plane or by boat?
July 12, 2010

Mom and I at the Friday Harbor Farmer's Market

So you know how they say that it’s a good idea for expecting parents to do a practice run to the hospital? To at least know what route they will take? Well, that’s a little difficult when living on an island. Especially this island.

We are twelve days from our due date and getting everything in order.

Mom is here now and helping me prepare. As I write this, she is outside painting a two-drawer dresser for the baby’s room that I bought at a garage sale several weeks ago. It’s so wonderful having her here. Thanks, Mom!

Saturday we were at a garage sale when someone asked me when I was due. He then announced proudly, “My son was born on the Elwha.” (The Elwha is one of the Washington State Ferries that goes between Friday Harbor and the mainland.) “That,” I told him, “is exactly what we are trying to avoid.”

But how?

Well, several ways. First, I’m listening to my body. Paying attention. Hoping I’ll know when to get on the ferry.

Some people make arrangements to be on the mainland prior to the due date so as not to have to worry about the ferry schedule. We’re not doing that. Because this is my first. And the first is usually late. So what if I’m really late? Where would we stay? What would we do. I’m so uncomfortable sleeping in even my amazingly comfortable bed, I don’t want to be in a motel room bed for days or weeks. So we’re hoping I will just know.

But… what if I go into labor in the middle of the night when the ferry isn’t running?

Great question.

Answer? We fly.

Here is a break-down of three different scenarios…

SCENARIO #1 – Helicopter

Let’s say my water breaks in the middle of the night and everything seems to be moving really, really fast… in that case, I would most likely be airlifted off in a helicopter. Back in November when we found out I was pregnant, we purchased Life Flight Insurance. It costs something like $75 per year for the whole family. So if I have to get to the hospital ASAP, that’s the way to go. And I’m lucky that we’re not in high-wind season. The only draw-back to this scenario is that apparently they only take me. Everyone else- Bob, Mom, Midwife, Doula – all have to go separately. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

SCENARIO #2 – Charter Flight

My water breaks in the middle of the night… or some other sure sign of labor happens… but I’m clear that things are not imminent. But I want to get to the mainland now. To be safe. Rather than wait for the first ferry of the day.

What do I do? I call Westwind Aviation and let them know that it’s time. Today I spoke to them to arrange this potential charter flight. They are available 24 hours a day and can take me plus two more people. I’m thinking that if Bob is here, that would be Bob and my midwife on Orcas Island. They told me that the ball park cost to fly from Friday Harbor to Orcas to Anacortes would be $150. The knowledge that I would have both my husband and midwife with me would be priceless. I just wish Mom could come with us as well. Mom and my doula wouldn’t fit in this scenario. Definite drawback.

SCENARIO #3 – Ferry

The little guy waits until Bob is home on the weekend before deciding to kick this labor thing into gear. Not only that… he also waits until the ferries are running. In that case, we would call my midwife and doula right away to let them know the situation. My labor will be in such a state that it will be perfectly fine for us to catch the ferry and head over to the mainland to meet up with my midwife and doula. In this case, we drive to the ferry and tell them that I have JUST started my labor and have a LONG way to go. Apparently if they think you are too far along, they won’t let you on the ferry. But I have to tell them I’m in labor in order to be let up to the front of the line as a priority passenger. This is one ferry we cannot miss.

They let us on the ferry, the ride is nice and easy, we head to the hospital on the mainland, meet up with my midwife and doula, everything progresses as planned and hours later we have a healthy, happy baby boy.

For the record, I’m rooting for Scenario #3.

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barefoot and handcuffed in the Bahamas
July 12, 2010

IN CUSTODY: Colton Harris-Moore, 19, is shown after his arrest Sunday in the Bahamas. AP

He escaped from juvenile detention at 17

He stole some stuff, crashed a bunch of planes, flew into restricted air space, evaded arrest for a long time, made some fans, made some enemies

And then he was caught…

‘Barefoot Bandit’ video: Cult Hero Arrested in BahamasThe Washington Post

‘Barefoot Bandit’ Arrested in BahamasLos Angeles Times

I had so many people e-mail and text me yesterday when the news broke to make sure I had heard. Thanks for that, guys. You keep me in the loop.

I have to say that somehow this kid has grown on me. I know, I know. I still don’t condone his actions. But he’s just so young. Perhaps once he left the area and stopped taxing our county’s resources and stopped burglarizing the locals and small business owners, I was able to sympathize more with his plight. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the part in the LA Times article about how he briefly held a gun to his head right before his arrest and threatened to kill himself. He comes off as this ‘animal’ who just cannot be caged. And I can’t help but feel sorry for him.

Here are a few thoughts:

I won’t be getting any reward money for his capture

I’m glad he was caught before he ‘escalated’

When you’re on the run, stick with what you know. Obviously going to the Bahamas – a place so foreign to him – was his downfall.

The movie promises to be amazing. A high-octane version of “Catch Me If You Can,” perhaps?

What do you think?

a friday harbor 4th of July
July 5, 2010

Last year we were in Humbolt, Iowa celebrating the 4th with Bob’s family on our journey from L.A. to the Chicago suburbs. This year we were in Friday Harbor… which as you know is quite the opposite from Humbolt, Iowa. But neither disappoint in a plethora of Americana and John Deere tractors. (I guess that’s redundant.)

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the images from the parade. So away we go…

This was taken about an hour and a half before the start of the parade. During the parade, there wasn’t an empty seat to be found on Spring Street.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Jennifer told me that she had bought a little muscle t-shirt for Pablo. She was organizing a tie-dying party to dye clothes for the parade. She and her girls thought this little dog tee was a hoot. And so did I. I joined them for the party and as everyone dyed clothes for their children, I dyed a wife beater for my dog. Well, I also dyed a onesie for my baby. But it was the Pablo tank that had me there.

So you see the result. The poor little guy was not happy. Not at all. I left it on long enough to snap a few pictures for evidence. And that was all. It came right off. I promise.

This is Pablo’s friend Valentino (Tino for short.) He is a Smooth-Coated Brussels Griffon… also known as a Petit Brabancon. He belongs to our friends Juniper and Sean. Who are also Pablo’s friends and took care of Pablo for ten days when I was in Chicago this Spring. Don’t worry. He did not witness Pablo in the tie-dyed tank.

Oh, Lady Liberty… what have you done to your hair?!

Loved this.

The folks from the UW Marine Labs were playing Bull Kelp as instruments… adding a uniquely Friday Harbor element to the parade.

Why? No idea. But as a huge Back to the Future fan, who cares. It was awesome.

I love how easy it is to support local agriculture here on San Juan Island. One of the local farms was handing out sweet peas instead of candy. Delicious.

Check out our seats. I’m particularly in love with the foot rest. This is such the perfect pregnant lady position. July 4th marked 20 days until my due date. And I was feeling it.

the pig war picnic

After the parade we walked with the throngs of people up to the historical museum for the Pig War Picnic. It’s called the Pig War Picnic as an homage to the beginnings of the U.S. Occupation of the island. The Pig War was a confrontation in 1859 between the British and the Americans over the occupation of San Juan Island. A pig was the only casualty in the confrontation.

A pig was also a casualty of the Pig War Picnic. Not sure how many. But enough to feed the hungry residents and tourists on San Juan Island delicious pulled pork sandwiches.

The picnic was followed by a nap… then came the fireworks. We watched from a small park in town in our awesome reclining beach chairs, dressed in several layers and snuggled under a wool blanket. Yes, it was cold.

It was a wonderful weekend. I particularly enjoyed the fact that I got Bob for an extra day.

A note about the tourists.

The island was invaded by tourists this weekend. Which is good for business. Makes getting around a bit more challenging, but we planned accordingly. The ferries were on overload all day today… packed with tourists trying to return to the mainland. I overheard one tourist today in a deli asking about the best place to watch the fireworks.

“Not that we’ll ever be back here on the Fourth of July seeing as we’ve been stuck here all day,” she said.

Getting to Friday Harbor is not easy. And sometimes leaving can be even harder. It takes determination and a heck of a lot of patience. The best way to do it in the summer, it seems, is without a car. Walk-ons do not have to wait.

As for residents who need to get off island, say to have a baby? Well… I’ll save that for a post in the next day or two. The most important thing is HAVE A PLAN. AND A BACK-UP PLAN.

Have a great week, everyone.

P.S. Mom arrives on Wednesday on a one-way ticket! And this is my last week of work. It’s almost baby time!