Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Awarded

Now that it's three days later and you've probably forgotten all about the Oscars, here's my rundown. First, I'd like you to imagine me attempting to stay off the internet all day on Monday so that I didn't spoil myself for the rebroadcast. Then, think of my one-armed attempt at making popcorn in our handicapped microwave, handicapped because I broke the glass plate that goes round and round inside the microwave, and so the popcorn burned and somehow singed a hole in the door and sparks were a-popping everywhere and my snacks were ruined and I'm pretty sure we need a new microwave. So I drank my vanilla Coke with a handful of rice crackers. But still, it was my favorite TV day of the year.

-Ellen was a fine host, not a disaster, though I think the whole thing was a little too huge for her brand of humor. I enjoy her show a great deal, but she's at her best when interacting with Regular People and dancing in the aisles and it just doesn't work at a black tie event full of movie stars in that ginormous theatre. Also, bad white shoes. But I kind of liked the maroon velvet suit.

-The stars have apparently decided to impersonate each other on the red carpet. We had J.Lo as Liz Taylor, Reese Witherspoon as Gwyneth Paltrow, and Martin Scorsese as the garden gnome from Amelie.

-I am glad Helen Mirren, who looked spectacular as usual, won the Oscar, but Penelope Cruz should have received some kind of elegance award for the dress/hair/jewels/personality combo.

-Meryl Streep tends to show up looking absolutely gorgeous or else like the teacher of some hippie jewelry-making workshop. Guess what happened on Sunday? But, consummate actress that she is, she transformed into a high fashion diva with a single look during that bit with Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt (who I keep mistaking for Zooey Deschanel, where have I been?).

-In the everyone else seems to hate it but I love it category, I thought Gwyneth's dress was cool, what a great color. And despite my usual distaste for all things Kirsten Dunst, I thought her dress was dreamy. Loved the collar.

-Cameron Diaz seemed to have bleached a floral bridesmaid dress I wore in 1992 and added a train.

-I used to believe that Nicole Kidman could get away with anything, but that huge red bow gave me nightmares.

-Best Acceptance Speeches: Tie between Forest Whitaker, who proved that all Oscar winners should just calm down and take a deep breath before speaking, and the Italian composer (aack, I can't find his name anywhere, that's really irritating) who gave the best speech of the night even though I couldn't understand it. I was so mesmerized by his sincerity I didn't even listen to Clint Eastwood.

-The Dreamgirls almost provided us with two wardrobe malfunctions - first, Jennifer Hudson's enthusiasm during the original song performance (the whole Dreamgirls medley was one of the best O.S. presentations in years, I thought) almost burst right out of her dress. Second, did you notice that the slit in Beyonce's dress nearly caused the censors some problems every time the cameras showed a straight shot of the front row?

-What kind of animal has made its nest on Eva Green's head?

-It's confirmed - Jack Nicholson pays the person who does seating assignments to place him next to the most comely young woman in the room. Last year, Keira Knightley. This year, Penelope Cruz.

-Best Presenter Schtick: Robert Downey Jr.'s joke about his drug-addled past. I can only imagine that Carrie Fisher wrote it.

-I was pleased with all the winners, but I want to know when Kate Winselt is finally going to get hers.

-Best quote from our living room: "Hey, did that guy just kiss the Karate Kid's girlfriend?" (from Jeff, watching Davis Guggenheim, husband of Elisabeth Shue, celebrate after winning the Best Documentary Feature award)

Stay tuned for Oscar pool results, coming soon!

Monday, February 26, 2007

I'd like to thank the Academy

I just watched the (taped rebroadcast of) the Oscars. I'll post my rundown and the results of the Oscar pool later this week.

Theo enjoyed the show very much, especially Jennifer Hudson's dress during her musical number.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Two of us
Theo turned one month old over the weekend. He celebrated by taking a nice long nap and wearing his jammies all day. We should all be so lucky on our birthdays.

I've heard people say that after a baby is born, it's hard to remember what it was like in the house without him. I haven't found that to be true; I vividly remember sitting around with an aching back and hips, bored and impatient, wondering when he might arrive. I can even remember last year at this time, feeling aimless and wondering what to do with my days. I was primed for change.

And change arrived, beginning at 2am the morning after my due date. My water broke at home, I woke Jeff, and after showering and taking one last look around our apartment at life as we knew it, we drove through the deserted city to the hospital.* During the five days I spent there, the quiet of early morning was my favorite time. Hospitals are never completely dark or silent, but the nighttime hum of beds being wheeled through corridors and quiet conversations in the hallways soothed me.

The mild contractions I'd been experiencing for the past few weeks had not changed by the time the doctor admitted me that Tuesday morning, and she advised us to spend the next few hours walking around. My midwife had told me that time is elusive during labor; some hours seem endless and others pass in a moment. The next fifteen hours went by relatively quickly. We walked, we napped, we read books, we ate lunch and dinner. Midwives checked on me at the beginning of each changing shift. We made frequent trips to the nursery to stare at the new babies.

By Tuesday evening I had not progressed much at all, so I was advised to swallow a pill to get things moving. The medication succeeded in making my contractions more intense, but unfortunately failed to persuade my body to give up its precious cargo. We learned later that the meds I received are regularly administered repeatedly over several days in order to get things moving, but after some negotiation with several different midwives and several hours of painful contractions, at around 2a.m. Wednesday morning they agreed to give me an epidural and (the German equivalent to) Pitocin to induce labor instead. I moved to a delivery room and when the anesthesiologist left, I remember telling him he had saved my life. I was left to sleep for a few hours (heaven) and Jeff returned to my room to nap as well.

At around 7:30a.m. another shift of doctors and midwives arrived and the activity around me began to buzz. The Pitocin had done its job, and it was almost time for Theo to make his entrance. I asked the midwives (three times) to rouse Jeff, and he made it back to the delivery room with plenty of time to spare. My epidural dosage ran out and the midwives waited until it had worn off completely to call the doctor for delivery. At this point I had been in labor for over 30 hours. I was tired and, judging by Theo's heart rate, he was tired too. The two of us worked hard and made progress, but the doctor finally decided to help us along using a vacuum cup. Theo arrived at 10:20 a.m., pinker and cleaner that I expected. I squeezed his little foot to make sure he was real.

Though the three of us normally would have stayed in the delivery room together for a couple of hours, instead Theo was taken straight to the children's ward (KinderKlinik) to be checked out by the pediatricians due to his stressful delivery. He sported a big black bruise on his head from the vacuum, and the doctors wanted to make sure he began healing smoothly. Jeff went along with him and reported back to me that everything looked fine, but they wanted to keep him in the KinderKlinik overnight to make sure.

A couple of hours later, I boarded a wheelchair and Jeff took me to visit our Theo. He slept in an incubator, attached to heart monitors and an IV drip. When I look back at the photos from that day he seems tiny, but compared to the preemies in the room with him he looked like a giant. I imagine I should have been just a little scared for him, but it was so nice to finally hold him and see his swollen eyelids and tiny fingernails that I felt only happiness.

We spent the next several days waiting to hear that Theo could join me in the maternity ward, but the cautious doctors kept extending his stay in the KinderKlinik since the bruise and his blood type indicated increased risk for jaundice. He eventually moved to a room with healthier babies, but remained in his isolette, where we learned to diaper and dress him through plastic openings and around tubes and monitors. I visited him every few hours to feed and hold him, then returned to my room and the ever-present breast pump. I spent the rest of my time on the phone with friends and family, eating hospital food (not bad), and chatting with my roommate, a Scottish woman who had her second baby via Cesearean section a day or two before I arrived. Having a friendly, English-speaking roommate was a huge bonus.

I was set to be released on Saturday, but the doctors weren't sure if Theo would be ready to go by that time. I got permission to stay one additional night in the maternity ward if he had to stay, so Jeff and I lounged around eating junk food from the hospital gift shop, waiting to hear the doctor's decision, assuming that we would be there one more night. When the call came around 2pm that Theo was free to not only leave the KinderKlinik but to go home, we threw my belongings into a bag and Jeff ran to the car to get the carseat. The midwives gave us a few words of advice and several boxes full of free baby lotion samples and sent us on our way.

When we visited the hospital for our tour last fall, we passed a couple with a brand new baby in a carseat carrier exiting the front doors. They looked exhausted but smiley, their baby asleep and somewhat crumpled behind the wide nylon straps. Walking out the doors, knowing that we were introducing our child to his first breath of fresh air, watching his eyes scrunch up and his fingers wiggle around in the cool breeze, those parents were us.

*P.S. I'll post a nuts-and-bolts account of my labor, delivery, and hospital stay for the Having a Baby in Germany series later.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sunshine Day

We saw Little Miss Sunshine last night. Why is it so rare to find a film where the funny bits are set up far in advance, and yet they're unpredictable and make me laugh so hard I cry?

My favorite movies always win the screenplay awards. That's my only Oscar prediction this year.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Billiard Ball

I'm not even sure what to say about this.

She really should have taken my advice and moved back to Louisiana for a while. Really. Because whatever comes next, it can't be good.

I've never watched Craig Ferguson, but this monologue, about deciding to stop making fun of clearly troubled celebrities like Britney, shows him as a class act. Worth watching.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Railing against the pounding surf

While my life is all sunshine and roses these days (freaking adorable baby, sleepless nights, live-in babysitter while my mom is in town, trying not to think about my hips), I haven't got around to blogging lately. Sorry. I promise I'll be back one of these days.

So, instead of a real post, you get a link. And instead of a happy Valentine link, I'm sending you to Tony Bourdain's cranky but spot-on diatribe about FoodNetwork personalities. I love that guy.

Friday, February 09, 2007

International Man of Mystery

We've begun the process to report Theo's existence to the USA. Eventually we'll travel to the consulate in Munich to report his birth and apply for a passport. We had to submit a passport photo along with the paperwork we mailed yesterday. By the time our appointment arrives, he'll probably look only marginally like this picture. I can't wait to see if the immigration officials can keep a straight face when he actually uses it to travel.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Theo's House of Fun

We'll hit the three-week tomorrow and Theo has already proved himself a prodigy in the following areas:

-Sudden shrieking for no apparent reason
-Escaping the swaddle
-Brow wrinkling
-Enchanting Grandma

My mom arrived on Saturday and she has already outpaced me in the lullaby department. Where did she learn them all? I'm really not sure. It's wonderful to have another pair of arms around the house, especially when they're attached to someone who thinks our son is as marvelous as we do.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Oscar Pool: Part Zwei

I know you've been checking this site obsessively, anticipating its arrival. The wait is over; it's time for my second annual Oscar pool/poll!

Just fill out this form:
Blythe's Oscar Pool
and submit it by midnight wherever you are on Friday, February 23, 2007.

Yes, indeed, there will be prizes.

Last year's results
A great Oscar info site